Big pats on the back for myself right now, as I’ve successful breastfed Baby2 for twice as long as I was able to last with Kiddo1. This time I was more prepared, I was better motivated, and I have been using a better pump. I’m happy with myself, but that doesn’t mean I’m done yet.
I promised myself I’d evaluate my breastfeeding goals at 6, 9, and 12 months, and since Baby2 turns 11 months next week, I’m way behind for check-in number 2. Oops!
But, first, a sad story. Over the last few months, I suppose I have been “winding down” with breastfeeding: I pump a whole lot less, usually just while I’m at work. I don’t even bring my pump home from work anymore. I stopped donating (because I’m just not taking out as much milk anymore) and my freezer stash was down to about 10 6-ounce jars. That isn’t the sad part – that part is actually kind of happy (bittersweet, I suppose) because I’m getting toward the end of being chained to a pump, having to think about getting enough to eat, staying hydrated, etc (things I should probably focus on regardless of breastfeeding, but whatever).
Okay NOW for the sad part. At the end of the week, I take the fresh leftover milk down to the freezer. On Mondays I grab a couple jars from it so Baby2 can have milk while I’m at work. Only this Monday, there was water in the freezer. No. Noooooooo. See, when I made a freezer deposit, I knocked over a fan which was plugged in to the same surge protector as the freezer. Well the fan cord must have pulled the serge protector out of the wall socket, because the whole surge protector came unplugged. Everything in the freezer had thawed over the weekend. All the breastmilk was ruined and we had NO milk in the house for Baby2 that day.
Luckily my job is great so I worked from home on Monday and pumped a bit. But, the story gets more sad! I’ve been pumping just about my usual amount (as far as number of pumping sessions), maybe a little more often, but I’m not getting as much as I usually do. Normally I take home 9-12 ounces each day. Tuesday, when I went back to the office, I brought home less than 6 ounces. Same volume on Wednesday. Now it’s Thursday and I’m working at home again, but I barely pumped half an ounce this morning which is SUPER unusual – first pump of the morning will typically yield 3 ounces at least.
So now I’m sad - even though I know I planned to wean (or at least stop pumping completely) at a year, I suddenly feel unprepared and totally NOT ready to wean. Certainly not ready to see such a drastic drop in supply.
Today I’m drinking a ton of Mother’s Milk Tea, which has all kinds of herbs to stimulate production. I drank TWO beers last night because of the Old Wives’ Tale that beer supposedly stimulates production. We’ll see how that works. Perhaps it is a wasted effort? Maybe this is the universe’s way of saying it is time to stop. I don’t know yet.
Before this week, though, things were still going really well. I had cut back on pumping so pump maintenance wasn’t super annoying any more. Breastfeeding itself is still awesome and super convinient. I went on a trip with friends last month and I could travel so light – just a bag of cloth diapers and my boobies! That and an Ergo and we were set. Traveling with Baby2 has been so easy. We are super lucky with her.
In other news… is it still considered the “post partum” time when it has been almost a year since the delivery? I’m sure it is in some way. I still have a shade of linea negra, which is weird. Maybe it is the breastfeeding hormones that keep it around. What’s more awesome is that I STILL haven’t gotten a “monthly gift” and I thank breastfeeding for that. Shoot, just that one benefit makes part of me want to never stop breastfeeding!
Otherwise in our lives, Kiddo1 is about done with fourth grade and has had an amazing year. He was voted to student council and at least one special committee; he was the first in his class to log 10,000 pages of independent reading, scoring a pizza party for the whole class; he volunteered a ton of days as Safety Patrol (helping kids cross the street) and Junior Coach (recess help and conflict resolution); he’s been a reading buddy to some kindergarteners; earned a few awards and there’s probably countless other accomplishments. We could NOT be more proud.
Mr. Handsome and I are finally house hunting for a bigger place, and even though we’ve only officially been looking for a month it feels like an ETERNITY. Our market does not havea lot of inventory right now so when something is listed (and it is a decent place) it is gone before you can even get an appointment to see it. We are trying to be patient, but interest rates are slowing rising, our special first-time buyer loan program is quickly running out of funds and our stress levels are not improving.
BUT, we are working to keep things in perspective, on all fronts. There are plenty of people in the world who have things worse than we do, who have to struggle more than we do. No matter how frustrating or unfortunate things get, it isn’t the end of the world, by far.