Sunday, February 12, 2012

I Quit

...well, not quite yet, but I am quitting. Breastpumping, that is. I have been pumping for 261 days. I am taking meds to keep my supply where it is, and that's not enough to feed Leaf every day. I'm running out of meds, and it's taking progressively more to maintain that level of production. In that time, Leaf has breastfed maybe two dozen times. Most of them not terribly successfully. That's what happens with respiratory kids. I'm exhausted. I'm down to pumping 3-4 times a day, because there's just too much to be done. As it is, 2 of those sessions are when I get up and when I go to bed, and that's a whole extra hour of sleep I could get. I have exactly 6 1/2 ounces of my own milk in the freezer, and about 100 ounces of donated milk; My guess is that will last me less than two weeks at my current rate of pumping. While there's some hope of finding more donor milk, I have not yet found a reliable long-term donor, or even more than the one lump-sum donor. (This, by the way, is why I dislike most lactivists. I'd love to keep giving Leaf breastmilk, but I can't get enough. We couldn't get *any* for Acorn. But "get donor milk" which is the first suggestion after "pump and take meds" is just not that simple. It's only a viable solution if there's breastmilk to be had, and I see a lot of lactivists who are pretty adamant that anyone can get donor milk if they really try.) I'd rather save breastmilk for oral feedings and for resuming her g-tube feedings, and put formula in the continuous feed she's getting into her intestines right now. The formula will work better for a continuous drip, and the breastmilk will be better for her tummy as a starting point when we're working on feedings into her stomach. It's bittersweet, but I know I have done every possible thing in my power to provide milk for Leaf. I felt horrible when when I stopped pumping for Acorn, but I was pumping all day for a total of 2-3 ounces; we'd never really had a chance. It's a little different knowing that I'm providing half of her daily nutrition right now and I'm stopping anyway, but this has been so amazingly good for her - she's grown right up the curve and into the normal range for adjusted age, based on my milk alone, and that's an amazingly good feeling. Like the t-shirt says, I grow people. What's your super power? We're at 6 months adjusted age in just a couple of weeks. I won't feel bad at all about starting to work towards a blenderized diet for her g-tube at this point, and really, I think that would work better for the digestive issues we've seen anyway. I can blend up foods like spinach to try to get us out of supplementing her iron, for example, and bananas to make it so we don't have to give potassium. On the plus side, my old bras ought to fit again in a few weeks (I hope - I went from a 40D to 38I). And I can sell my hospital grade pump for about what I paid for it....which might pay for my blenderized diet grade blender...


  1. That's a tough call, but I'm proud of you for making it. Mama knows best, even if best is something some folks maybe don't want to hear. *hugs*

    It's frustrating that the emphasis these days is put on one woman's milk for her baby alone. The world has never really worked that way (hello, wet nurse!). Lactivism isn't very woman-supportive if it only supports women who have no trouble and not all women. I know people tout public health issues, but I don't see a lot of drinking, smoking, drug-abusing, disease-addled BFers.

  2. YEAH, right on for you. Just one caution, though: spinach has no more iron than any other green leaf. That was a bogus result from decades ago that keeps being repeated.