pumping 2.0

alex laughing at the insane amount of extra milk i made each day with micah.
this was when micah was 2 months old. 

I didn't think I would be exclusively pumping this time around. i thought I would get the hang of nursing this time and only pump for work. I was wrong.

Seth did great at nursing the first evening and the entire next day, and I thought it was going to be smooth sailing. Then, they took him for his circ when he was supposed to eat. Then they brought him back and told me not to expect him to nurse for 6 hours. After 10 hours (yes TEN hours) of not eating, he had forgotten how. His great latch was gone and we had trouble the rest of the time we were in the hospital. Then, as if we weren't struggling enough in the nursing department, he got jaundice which makes babies super sleepy. Great.

The jaundice was actually the deciding factor for me. He wasn't transferring much milk. He was losing weight and the levels were getting worse. Know what gets the bilirubin out? Lots of eating. So, as his bilirubin numbers were climbing, the doctors (yes, multiple because all of this was happening on a weekend so he was given sick visits with the on call doctors to test his blood) advised us to supplement with formula to help move the bilirubin out. At this point, they were thinking he was going to have to be admitted to the hospital to be under the lights. I was willing to do anything to keep my boy at home with us so we not only supplemented with formula but moved to all formula, and I started pumping. Again.

During the two weeks he was on formula, I froze a LOT of milk. hundreds of ounces. My body is really good at making the milk ;) Once Seth's bilirubin level was low enough to stop the blood tests, we put him back on breastmilk and I decided not to keep trying to nurse. It probably seems weird to people, but it's my normal. It's the way I know how to do this whole feeding an infant thing. I'm used to it and honestly, it's a little freeing. Alex and I can trade off feeding whenever I need a break and I don't have to worry if I have frozen milk. When he needs to eat every hour because he's having a growth spurt, I can sleep and let Alex take some of the feedings. On weekends, I sleep straight through the night. It's glorious!

I learned a lot by EPing last time. I learned a lot about my body and also a lot of tricks to make things easier on me and our family. I know from last time that I tend to be an overproducer, so this time, I'm purposefully trying to only make what he drinks and instead of freezing an insane amount of milk every day, we only freeze one bag of milk every few days. It was great to be able to give away milk last time, but there's a cost to that...mainly, time. I pump for less time because there's not as much milk to get out. I pump less times a day because I don't need the milk of 8 pumps, right now I only need the milk from 6 pumps. When I go back to work, Seth will work on the freezer stash I already have, and we will replace it with the milk I pump at work.

One thing that is different this time is that I am not at all stressing about how much milk I'm making. If my shortcuts end up costing my supply in the long run and we supplement with formula, I'm totally okay with that. I'm not going to make myself a basket case just to make sure that Seth has 100% breastmilk. I have nothing to prove to anyone and I know that I got caught up in trying to prove people wrong last time. People will think what they want, but Alex and I know we're doing what's best for our family. I will also say that I have the most supportive hubby who never complains about washing bottles or pump parts because he's just as invested in the pumping as I am. He wants me to keep going and let's me know he appreciates it...what a winner!

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