Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Sense of Accomplishment

During my pregnancy while planning for the arrival of Allie, I often wondered if I was going to be able to breastfeed. I really, really wanted to, however in my mind I simply told myself I would give it a try and see what happens. I didn't want to be too disappointed if it didn't work out. There was a chance that Allie wouldn't latch properly or the excruciating pain that everyone talked about would prevent me from continuing. All I remember hearing from fellow nursing moms were the words "cracked," "bleeding" and "sore." I wasn't very optimistic to say the least. I honestly thought I would give it a try and soon my Allie girl would be downing a formula bottle every 3 hours.

I wanted to nurse for many reasons. Of course it is what's best for babies nutritionally. It was convenient and easy. There were no bottles. When I went out for the day, I didn't have to prep anything...Allie and I just went. I didn't mind the fact that I burned an extra 500 or something crazy extra calories while sitting and watching episodes of Ellen or The Real Housewives either. Saving money was a big incentive for me also...breastfeeding is not free (pump + freezer bags + bottles = NOT FREE), but it's definitely a whole lot cheaper than formula. The best reason I'm now just starting to adore is the bonding aspect. I cherish the snuggle and cuddle time Allie and I have had from her birth.

Right off the bat, I pumped...and pumped...and pumped. After every feeding (except those middle of the night ones) I pumped. I remember Allie lying so contently in the Boppy with a full belly while I pumped...AFTER EVERY FEEDING! My body probably thought I had twins and was feeding two. I was like the dairy factory...no joke! I froze so much milk. Our freezer in Boston was so packed with frozen milk, Todd couldn't buy any frozen meals because they wouldn't fit.

A freezer FULL of milk (those boxes have milk in them too!)
Each bag has 12 oz of milk...I packed in as much as I could.

After Allie and I made it through the first three months, my goal was to make it to summer...through the remaining 3 months of the school year. It was not easy. Pumping at work was no fun! First off, there was no comfy, quiet room with an electrical outlet, a sink and a nice cozy chair like most cooperate offices have. I had to pump in public school bathroom...Ewww! Gross! So, I opted to pump in my classroom. I locked my door, turned out the lights and prayed the custodian wouldn't unlock my door for a student that needed something from the classroom. I did get walked in on once by one of my students and his mother. Luckily I had my handy nursing cover on to cover up.

After summer came I cut out nursing sessions and gave Allie the frozen milk in the freezer. All the milk in Boston had to be transported back to MI. That was mess trying to figure out. We had to buy a rolling cooler and dry ice. Imagine dry ice vapors seeping out through the zippers of the cooler. I'm surprised no one yelled "BOMB!" on the plane. We did this for 3 flights in order to get it all back here. There was no way I was going to risk checking my entire stash of frozen milk to Delta airlines. Could you image the feeling of a lost bag...makes my stomach hurt to think about it.

As summer came to an end, I really didn't want to go back to work and pump anymore. In fact...I didn't need to. I had enough milk to make it to Allie's first birthday with her drinking breast milk. I packed up my pump and haven't seen it since. When school started I continued to nurse Allie morning and night, but the rest of the day she drank thawed milk from our freezer. She was 9 months when I went back to work. It's amazing how much more I liked nursing when the pump was not in the picture anymore.

When Allie turned a year old, we started giving her whole milk. At first it was a ratio of 75% - 25%...then it was 50% - 50%. As the weeks went by we would increase the amount of whole milk and decrease the amount of breast milk.

When I gave birth, I NEVER, EVER, EVER would have thought I would nurse Allie for this long. Yes...Allie received breast milk for 15 MONTHS!!! I'm so very proud of myself! I can't believe I stuck it out this long. I know I am lucky in the sense that we did not have any issues. No pain, no latching problems, and no low milk supply. Today, Allie finished off the last bag of frozen milk. Our freezer is now quite bare and has plenty of room for Todd's frozen meals.

The very last frozen bag

I know nursing Allie was the best choice for us. I'm very please with how it all played out. I am also very pleased that I could supply her with enough breast milk to last her to her first birthday, while working...and not pumping the whole time. Go ME!!! I feel like SUPERMOM!

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