*disclaimer :: this going to be very random, but i'm writing just so that i'll remember.
when i was preggo, i never would have thought that i would have gone the route of exclusively pumping. i didn't actually think that breastfeeding would be so difficult for micah and i. i was definitely naive when it came to the realities of trying to get a good latch. to be honest, i feel like all of the classes and books make it seem that it is easy. like all babies come out with a great latch if you just know how to position them and that if you have problems, you're doing something wrong. bull.
my journey wasn't the ideal. it wasn't what i expected. it wasn't what i wanted, but i love the road that i chose.
micah came out and actually did have a perfect latch. he nursed amazingly through the first night and it wasn't until the next day that he started refusing to latch. he would fight and scream and after one bad latch, it was just too painful to keep going. the LCs told me to take a break. to pump and feed him what i pump and then to supplement with formula. just for 24 hours. well, after that break, i was left with an infection and i wasn't able to get him back on and after tears from all of us and multiple visits to the lactation consultant, i decided to exclusively pump.
i knew it was possible because my sister did it. if she hadn't, i wouldn't have known that it was even possible because the entire medical profession (that might be a slight exaggeration) denies that it's possible. seriously. 10 months in i had doctors/nurses tell me that it's impossible....i wanted to say, "really?!? you mean the last 10 months of my son getting only breastmilk is impossible? oh and the 3 months worth of milk in my fridge isn't real??" but i didn't, because i'm just not that bold (or rude). instead, i politely said over and over again, that this is what i'm doing and it's working for us.
anyway, God is so good. i prayed that i would have enough milk, and i did. i prayed that He would make a way for me to provide micah with enough milk for an entire year, and He did. i prayed that my journey would be helpful to others, and it has. my God is good.
through this journey, i've been able to help other pumping moms. i helped a mom through the rough beginning stages when she was devastated that her son wouldn't nurse and she felt like no one understood. God has made a way for me to share what I've learned, and because of that, i would not have had it any other way.
as far as production goes, i had a massive oversupply when i was on maternity leave and a couple of months after, and then as work got busier, and micah got busier, i slowed down on pumping until i was matching what he was eating. we maintained that for a while (and i saw we, because Alex was a HUGE blessing and made it possible for me to pause to pump up to 8 times a day!), and then i started weaning. i was completely weaned off the pump by a couple of weeks before Micah's birthday and i had a freezer stash that has kept him drinking only breastmilk for a longer than a month! we'll use up the last few gallon bags of milk over the next couple of weeks. i just introduced whole milk yesterday and micah liked it just fine. he'll get that during the day, while he'll still have pumped milk for the mornings and evenings...just to make it go a little further :)
i felt like i wanted to write this down so that i won't forget. i don't want to forget how proud i am of myself, and i don't want to forget how thankful i am that God sent me on this path. the most common thing that people want to know is if i would do it again with our next baby. i can't say that i can answer that right now because i now have a son who would have to do a lot of waiting around while i pump (and wash bottles, and prepare bottles, and steralize parts...) and take care of another baby, and if i could avoid that, i would. pumping would never be my first choice as it's a ton of extra work, but i don't think i would adamantly say that i wouldn't do it if my baby won't nurse next time. we'll just have to wait and see :)