So my pumping journey started almost immediately after my twins were born! Since one was in the NICU, and the other had to have formula to raise his blood sugar, it was pretty much insisted upon that I start pumping every couple of hours for at least 15 minutes. Even though nothing was coming out at first, the doctors and nurses assured me that it was triggering my body to start making, and start making a lot, since there was double the mouths to feed!
It was such a weird thing for me at first! It felt weird, sounded weird (I felt like a cow!) and it seemed like there was so much to do for nothing to be happening. I never seemed to get the hang of the hospital pump either- no matter how many times my awesome lactation consultant coached me through it! CJ was the only one to ever wash the parts and put them together while we were in the hospital, so that was just another thing I had to learn how to do once we were home! (although he did keep doing it a lot while I was recovering).
Without getting too much off topic, I’ll just say that the breastfeeding journey was not easy one at first either, but was actually way more frustrating than pumping for me and I felt like also for them, as they just couldn’t get the hang of it and they were so teenie that the special fat that they have in their cheeks that helps them to latch and stay latched wasn’t even developed yet. I had wonderful support so never gave up but did turn to pumping since we were so adamant about getting my supply established for them! That meant pumping every 3 hours, even if they nursed, I still had to pump after. It was so much work!! I remember CJ and I getting up to do those dreaded middle of the night feedings (which we would bottle feed until we all got the hang of nursing) and we would be done and the 3 of them would be back to sleep in almost minutes, and I’d be sitting there, pumping for their next feeding, in the dark, giving CJ a death stare (even though he was asleep!) thinking that this stage would never end. I felt like all I was good for was making milk, even though I knew that wasn’t true! It’s just what it felt like in the moment 🙂
Many times, I thought about going to exclusively pumping and just bottle feeding them with what I pumped but I every time I got close to making the permanent switch, something told me not to, and we just kept trying with nursing. Eventually, they got the hang of it, we all did actually, and I was able to feed them at the same time, every time and it was so much easier and less time consuming than pumping!! No bottles to wash every time, no pump parts to clean multiple times a day, it was great!
So once they were nursing regularly, and started sleeping though the night without feedings, I went down to only pumping once a day, right before bed, in order to not be engorged overnight and to keep building my freezer stash (I had quite a good freezer stash from storing what I pumped and didn’t use during their first couple months of life!) so I liked the idea of having a bunch frozen for when I would eventually wean and wanted them to keep having the good stuff!
We made it to just about 5 months with exclusively nursing and then came the teeth! Long story short- I began the weaning process in January, right after they turned 5 months. Really since the start of 2017, we have had a big milestone every month. January we started weaning and started introducing solids. By the end of the month, they were on 3 bottles a day (of defrosted frozen milk) and one nursing session. I would pump two times a day to keep up my supply and to store. Then in February, I dropped my middle of the day pump as I wasn’t getting much from it anymore and was finding it too difficult to find the time to actually do it with being home alone with the twins. Now, yesterday, March 31st was my final night pump. I packed that sucker away and as bittersweet as it felt, felt more like i wouldn’t miss it than would!
Even though it was just short of 8 months, it felt like years that I was pumping and I feel good with my decision. I still nurse them once a day, for their first meal of the day, and I’m sure that will be a totally different feeling when I finally stop that! But until then, I look forward to the freedom from the pump and one less thing to have to think about (not to mention wash!) and look back at my journey as something I came so far with, and overcame so many hurdles and really just appreciate all the support I had otherwise I may not have stuck with it for so long!
What can I say, I’m a lucky girl! 🙂