Little V was blessed with extreme colic and acid reflux which lasted us well beyond the length of the “average” infant. During this time, we learned A LOT about treating both. By the age of 8 weeks, V was eating twice the amount she actually need and was still asking for more to soothe her terrible heartburn. This, combined with my bodies ridiculous speed of expelling breast milk, lead me to become an “exclusive pumper.”
But where did this leave me? There’s the constant question of pediatricians everywhere, “Breast or bottle-fed?” Ummm…. Both?
Until my body quit producing milk (at an unfortunately early month), I pumped and bottle-fed V. I was able to pump three times a day and produce enough milk for all of her feedings. At that time, we used Playtex Drop-ins and I used an electric Medela double-pump with a hands-free bra so I could do other things while sitting in my uncomfortable dairy-farm like state.
I was never ashamed that V required pumped milk; I was very proud to do whatever it took to give her the best of the best. I even ate an incredibly bland diet free of coffee, tea, chocolate, citris, tomatoes, and nuts simply so she could still have breast milk.
Which brings me to today. D is now seven weeks old and was a fabulous nurser from day one. He has gained a ridiculous amount of weight and is now taller and heavier than the average three-month-old. He has always been a very gassy baby, but it has gotten so bad that I’ve decided something must be done. Enter breast pump.
That’s right, I’ve spent yesterday and today bottle-feeding and pumping once again to aid this child’s aching tummy. As I sit here pumping for the third time today, I can’t help feeling defeated. I feel frustrated, angry at myself, and tired just thinking about the sink-fulls of breast shields, collection bottles, and nipples, the freezer bags and the constant shuffle from pump, to freezer, to fridge, to bottle, to sink.
I know there is nothing I can do to slow the speed of my milk or to create less in a way that will still keep up with my growing child. I know I should feel blessed to even have such a problem. But I’m down and out on the fact that my body doesn’t work like it’s intended to so it can feed my baby. I’m guilty over letting his belly hurt for so long. I want to cry over the days spent trying to quiet his. And while I know that some day in the coming weeks I will be ready to admit pride over “doing whatever it takes to give my baby the best,” I’m just not there yet. I need my time to grieve and to feel sorry for myself.
Slowly, I’ll get there. I’ll get used to the luggage it takes to be a pumping mom again. In the mean time, I’ll just laugh through my teary eyes as V lifts her shirt, pushes two tiny cups against her belly and says, “My turn pump a-milk!”