This is it. I’m sitting down (and for once I’ve remembered to bring water with me and if you’ve been with me when I’ve pumped you’ll know how rarely that happens!!), and I’m pumping. For the absolute very last time.
I’m three weeks away from having expressed breast milk for an entire year. It seems silly to stop when you’re just three weeks away, but I’m determined to have a proper holiday. No pump, no watching the clock, no finding the time, no hoping he sleeps a little longer so I can finish. I’ve slowly weaned down over the last few weeks and we have been transitioning Oliver to formula over the last two months.
You start pumping because you tell yourself you want the milk to be there for when you start to breastfeed. And the hardest part about stopping is the realisation that there’s no breastfeeding. There won’t ever be. That ship has sailed. It’s been blown through a storm. And it’s been well and truly sunk.
I’m sad. Sad for the loss of it, and the knowledge that once it’s gone it can’t come back. But as I sit here and look at that machine I’m sad that I won’t use it again, that I’ll clean this equipment after this and that’ll be something ridiculous like the 2,065th time that I’ll have cleaned it (yup…I calculated) and I won’t clean it again.
I’m also sad that my breasts are going back to just being breasts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m also extremely bloody happy about this, and trying not to get too depressed about the fact that they are now, and will forevermore be saggy deflated balloons…but I’m sad that they won’t provide anymore. They are just regular old boobies, not life sustaining boobies. Poor boobies.
I’m also sad because I’m leaving a big part of the NICU behind me now. I spent hours in that pump room, I’ve talked to so many mum’s about pumping, and we have all drawn closer together because of it. And now I’m not in that group anymore.
Oh and obviously there’s the milk guilt of course. You know, because it’s important as a mother to punish yourself no matter how you do something, or which choice you make. So there’s that. Oliver will end up an axe murderer because I stopped pumping three weeks too early. Oliver will end up an axe murderer because we are giving him regular formula and not goats milk. Oliver will end up an axe murderer because I didn’t keep providing breast milk for him until he went to high school.
I’ve been practicing a daily mantra, and to every single mum out there who has struggled to pump, struggled to breastfeed, struggled to make milk, I’d recommend it. It’s simple and short, but it’s true.
“You did well, he had some of your milk, it’s okay to stop”.
Silly. But I’ve said it to myself every day, multiple times a day for the last two months because other people can yell that at you continuously and it means nothing until you believe it yourself.
You did well. He had some of your milk. It’s okay to stop.
So tomorrow I’ll twiddle my thumbs while Oliver sleeps (ha!), I’ll have a huge glass of wine and I’ll wear a normal SUPPORTIVE UNDERWIRE bra during the day and NO BRA at night and it will be sadness and relief and exhilaration all at the same time.
Mumma’s, you did well. He had some of your milk. It’s okay to stop.