Thursday, November 14, 2013

//Adventures in Breastfeeding- Julie's Story//

Yes, another //adventures in breastfeeding story// !  And I am so thrilled about that.  How wonderful that all these Mamas want to share their story!  It is so incredibly helpful and I hope that it will help many Mamas, even after the series ends. <3  Thank you Julie for sharing! 

I went back and forth over which experience I would write about. All three were very different but they all had one underlining theme, my compulsion over how much I pumped. My first two were preemies so I pumped before I was able to nurse them. That’s really what started all of it. The first hospital pump was handed over the day my son was born and I was instructed to pump for 20 minutes every 2-3 hrs. Then when my milk came in, and it was pump until you are empty and then continue to pump for a little longer so you build your supply. I followed all of this like my life depended on it.
With my oldest I was pumping every 3-4 hrs. and constantly worried that it would eventually not be enough. I was trying to produce more in hopes that when he caught up I’d have what a big baby needed. I’m not sure I ever even took notice of when he reached average weight and just kept pumping and freezing, packing it all away like a squirrel preparing for the longest winter ever. Eventually my freezer filled and I started doing the unimaginable, I dumped it down the drain. The truth is he never took to a bottle. By the time I was back to work I was pumping 5 oz twice a day just to dump it and repeat again the next. He was 2 when I finally threw away the last bottle of expired milk. Because getting rid of the stash was like throwing away my security blanket.
I had my second preemie and went right back into excessive pumping mode. He had a shorter nicu stay, so really I could have pumped briefly and gone to just breastfeeding but my need to have a safety stash prevailed. He came home and I kept pumping. Nurse on one side, pump on the other. We moms can multitask doing anything, right? By 6 months it was apparent that my stash was growing out of control, I was using storage space in 2 freezers at home and 1 at work. Around that time I came across a local woman in need of dairy free donor milk and I knew I needed to give. It secretly terrified me to empty my stash but I forced myself to give her everything I had, keeping only 20oz behind. In total I passed on over 1000oz that day. I mentioned I was a little obsessive with the pumping, right?
My 3rd, and finally baby, was full term. It was my first time not pumping at the hospital and honestly it made me incredibly anxious. The day we got home I couldn’t wait I had to pull out that trusty pump and started building my stash! This time I was a little more controlled and set my number at 15oz/day to freeze. And I immediately started looking for a mom in need. I found a set of twins born on the same day as my baby, it was the perfect match. Over the next few months I passed on milk to her but this time minus the same anxiety I had in the past. I felt almost normal, almost!

 My experience in breastfeeding was definitely not the story I thought I would have prior to kids. But it’s been wonderful. My kids have nursed for a total of 5 yrs with no end in sight. I’ve spent 3 of those years pumping as well. And as much as I loathed pumping this last time it was still that comfortable old security blanket. Because for me, supplementing would have been a failure I just couldn’t handle. It was my way of trying to make up for what I couldn’t do in pregnancy for my older babies. 


  1. Such a good post! I really just love to read all of these different experiences. I have read nearly all of them and I know I might be late to the game but I was wondering if you have any spots left for this series? I have been dying to be a part of it but just have not had the courage to ask until now. Let me know :) and thank you again for taking over this inspriring series and keeping it going!

    1. yes! email me at <3



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