When six pumps a day becomes five

Today is my fourth day doing five pumps a day, and I really wasn’t expecting to be reducing it down to five pumps a day this soon. My original goal was to get down to five pumps a day before I went back to work, with my sixth pump dropped from the middle of the night, ultimately allowing me to sleep at least 6 to 7 hours straight at night. I know there would have been no way for me to survive working full-time while also caring for my baby without a full night’s sleep, and so this was what I decided to do for myself.  Given that my supply actually went up when I went down to six pumps per day from seven, I decided to start weaning myself sooner rather than later off of my sixth pump. And after about a week and a half, I cut that sixth pump out. I was scared initially, particularly about getting yet another milk clog, but I made sure to take extra sunflower lecithin pills as well as massage my breasts thoroughly as soon as I woke up, as per the recommendation from my Cleo lactation consultant. And so far, so good. My supply has remained a similar, and if anything, it has actually increased slightly.

I feel really good at five pumps per day now. I hope to be doing this now until at least 7 to 8 months postpartum. My original goal was six months, but given how balanced I feel right now and how less overwhelmed I feel with pumping at five pumps per day, I think I can keep this up for longer. I hope I can be giving my baby breastmilk until she is one year old. I am anticipating my supply dropping once my period comes back as it does with most breastfeeding moms, but that’s okay. I have made peace with all of that.

I actually felt a little bit sad as I dropped my sixth pump, as strange as that sounds. You would think that given I had such a love-hate relationship with pumping that I would be really excited every single time I dropped another pump. But instead, it actually made me feel a little bit empty and emotional. Because as I continue to drop pumps, I will get closer and closer to the stage when my baby no longer needs breastmilk and will be eating solids 100 percent. And what this actually means is that she will be less reliant on me. There is an inner joy and comfort that I feel knowing that my body is producing food for my baby to eat. I am providing her with essential nutrients and more. And to know that eventually, this journey will come to an end makes me a little bit sad; her reliance on my body for food will eventually come to an end. One day, she is not going to need me to comfort her by having her suckle on my boob. One day, she is not going to need me to carry her around anymore. One day, she is not really going to want to bury her face in my chest or be soothed simply from the sound of my voice speaking or singing. All of these moments are going to come to an end at some point. It’s a little sad to think about it that way. All of these little moments that I love and cherish are eventually going to end.

Every day, as she gets older, she will be a little bit less reliant on me. Now, she has very good neck strength and needs just a little bit of neck support. Next, she will no longer need us to carry her around because she will be able to walk. Then, she will be able to talk. And eventually, she will be going around the city on her own and doing her own thing. She will gradually become more and more independent and less dependent on us as her parents. And this is all a journey. This is all part of raising a child and giving life. There is a time for everything, and each of those times eventually ends. I just want to sit in each of these moments a little bit longer and cherish it because it really does all go way too fast. I still can’t even believe this is her sixteenth week of life. It all just passes us by too quickly.

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