To wean from the pump, or not to wean?

*That* is the question. Well, at least for me it is.

I have been breastfeeding C since the day he way born. At first, it was awful. I think I may have complained about it at the time, but whoa, nothing can prepare you for the pain associated with learning to nurse.

Once you get past the first six weeks, though, it’s amazing. I love love love nursing C. It’s quite literally the best part of my day. I actually look forward to his 5 am wake up call (I know, I’m a freak) because it’s just such a special time when he’s all sleepy and warm and has sheet marks on his face, and he reaches his little arms out after a diaper change for his mama. Nursing is such a special thing, and I now see why some women continue to do it long after their baby’s first birthday.

Pumping, on the other hand, is a giant pain in my ass. I’ve mentioned before how I’m no good at it. My milk just will. not. let. down. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, basically, it’s a reflex that baby’s sucking (or the pump) engages to make your milk flow. I have no trouble nursing, and I can hear little C swallowing loads of milk while he nurses. But with the pump? It barely trickles out. I mean, this is what I got this morning after a twenty-minute pumping session:

really?

I’ve tried loads of tricks–thinking about my baby, bringing a blanket/pjs that smell like him, looking at pictures of him, watching videos of him, watching videos of me nursing him, reading a book, working, blogging, surfing the internet, talking to a lactation consultant, and calling Medela about my pump. I’ve even purchased a hand pump because I’d heard some people have better results with it. No such luck for me. I’ve even tried fenugreek, blessed thistle, mother’s milk tea, and red raspberry leaf tea. The only things the herbs did was make C and me smell like maple syrup. (In fact, the lactation consultant I talked to said she didn’t think it was a supply issue, but rather, a mental block causing me to not let down). But I like the tea, and I’ll continue to drink it. I also drink more water than anyone I’ve ever met. At least 120 ounces per day. The only thing I haven’t tried, which I’m seriously considering, is renting a hospital-grade pump for a month to see if that does a better job. Although, I’m not holding my breath on that one as Medela swears its Pump in Style Advanced (which came with a three hundred dollar price tag) is almost as good as the hospital grade pump.

Anyway, nothing’s really seeming to work, and at this point, I’m only getting enough milk during the day to give C one bottle of breastmilk while he’s at day care. So, I’m really considering weaning my body off the pump and only nursing when I’m with C. Has anyone ever done this successfully? Am I totally going to eff up my supply?

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One thought on “To wean from the pump, or not to wean?

  1. Only you can decide this, Liz. But, my opinion- wean yourself from the pump and just nurse C in the morning and after work. That is absolute torture to spend the amount of time you do pumping. I admire you for doing it for so long. I am only 2 months into the pumping deal, and I am already thinking I am just going to pump until E is 6 months, then give her formula during the day and continue to nurse when I am with her. I never had to do that with Katie, because I was a SAHM until she was one. I did, however, drop feedings along the way as she got older and was eating more solid food. By the end, I was down to one nursing in the morning and one before bed. I had no supply issues when I did this. The morning feeding was the last one we dropped, because, like you, I LOVE that first morning sleepy feeding. Good luck with whatever you decide.

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