Friday, July 31, 2009

Alas! poor Pump. I knew you well.

**This is a post I never got around to posting. It's dated 4/31/2009.

Oh yes. The days of pumping for the girls are over. It has been an entire 2 weeks since I retired my pump. I feel blessed and fortunate that I was able to provide breast milk for the girls.

When pregnant with them I thought of grandiose ideas of nursing them all to about 13 or 14 months. I nursed Jared until about 13 months and enjoyed it so I wanted to do the same for the girlies. As it turns out, I did nurse the girls for the first four months but then came down with mastitis. Blech! :P I had it with Jared when he was about 5 or 6 weeks old. It's no fun! With mastitis I didn't feel up to nursing the girls so I just pumped. Wow, what a difference exclusively pumping made! I did enjoy nursing the girls BUT it was very time consuming. They were still little preemies and not as efficient of nursers as a full term baby. So I remember the times I'd nurse for 30 minutes, then have to top them off with expressed milk or formula (another 30 minutes) via bottle and then go off to pump (again for another 30 minutes). So it would take 1.5hrs! to nurse, feed and pump. Uff! Then only 1.5hrs left until the next feeding. So pumping freed up so much time for me/us. Was it difficult, emotionally, giving up the nursing? Yes. Did I/do I miss it? Yes, especially this being my last pregnancy/baby(ies) to nurse. But was I more at peace and less frazzled by exclusively pumping? Yes. Hey, you've got to do what you've got to do, I guess.

I started out pumping right away, when the girls were born. 8x day, even through the night. Oh man, does that bring back memories! I lived by my cell phone alarm. It would wake me up, dead asleep, to say "hey you! it's time to get up and get pumping!" I'm sure I must have slept through some of those middle-of-the-night pumpings :) By the time the girls were 7 months old I was pumping 5x/day, with one middle-of-the-night pumping. By about 8 months old, I dropped that 2:00AM pump and was just pumping in the daytime, 4x/day. Slowly, when the girls turned a year old, I "weaned" myself from pumping. I will tell you, weaning from a baby and weaning from a pump are very different. I think weaning from the pump is much more difficult, as it's not a natural weaning where the baby dictates how much milk is needed. Man was that difficult with the pump!

Now, I am happy to say that the girls got all that I could provide for them in regards to milk. Yay! Here are some calculations (which I always find fun to look and reflect back at :) ) over the last 13 months of pumping/nursing for the girlies...
  • I've pumped 26,506 ounces of breast milk! That's 207 gallons! WOW! And this doesn't take into consideration the ounces that the girls ate when nursing. WOW again! Just to put this in perspective, from WikiAnswers, "on average the commerical cow will give about 5 gallons per day." For me, during my "peak months," the most I got was a little over 1/2 gallon a day. I fall WAY short from Mrs. Guernsey, Mrs. Holstein or Mrs. Jersey ;) Although, I did still feel akin to them :D
  • I've spent 73, 500 minutes in pumping alone. That's 1225 hours! Or 51 days of my life spent in pumping! Over a month, almost 2, just in pumping alone! No wonder I felt so sleep deprived and tired, especially in those early months pumping through the night! ;)
  • I've nursed 25,200minutes! That's 420 hours, or 17.5 days of my life spent in nursing. I feel fortunate that I was able to even nurse quadruplets!
Wow, those calculations put a lot of this into perspective! I didn't realize how much milk I provided for the girls. Was it a lot to pump for them? Yes. Did I have times where I felt like "man, I want to give this up!"? Yes. But, would I do it all over again for them? Yes. And, I have to say, I couldn't have done it without the support of my husband, as pumping and nursing took much time and energy from me that could have been given to other areas of my life/family. Thank you Paul!!!!

I bid you adéu, dear pump. We had a good thing going. Thanks for your time and efforts and thanks for the memories ;)
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Marilee said...

This is simply amazing. YOU are amazing! Thank you for sharing your story!

Elizabeth said...

I have never commented but this post brought me out to comment! Friends with Suz and have read your blog for a while.

WAY TO GO MAMA!!!!!! I had preemie twins that never really caught on to nursing. I also got Mastitis, it was HORRIBLE!!!!! I wanted to say first of all you did it longer than me but once I added all my time that I spent pumping I had to stop.(I finally was not making enough either) It is crazy!! Second I wanted to say thank you I thought I was crazy thinking it was harder to wean off the pump but it was SOOO hard. Anyways wanted to say congrats and job well done. Sometimes I think I can still my medela pumping.

Amber said...

I love my Medela pump! I am a few weeks behind you and not looking forward to the weaning either. I do have one that nurses still. Yikes! I may have to chat with you on weaning tips.

Erin said...

I am not sure how I stumbled upon your blog, but I had to post a comment to say "way to go!!!!" Nursing/pumping quads is very impressive and you should be pretty darn proud of yourself! I am proud of you and don't even know you :) I have two kids and nursed them. I work outside the home and had to pump for nearly a year with each so I know how hard it is!

Prather Family said...

I just ran across you blog through a pumping message board I frequent. I have twin girls that are 10 months old and I mostly EP for them. They were not that efficienet at the breast either so pumping full time became my way of life. I am looking forward to the day I can write a post just like this saying so long to my pump. Congrats on a job well done!

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