I wrote this post while we were in California. Funny, I’ve completely given up the pump and switched to hand expression. It’s more reliable and much, much less stress.
I’ve never been very good at pumping milk. Margo is an in-arms baby, so it’s hard to put her down & she also likes to eat pretty constantly so I can’t always wait long enough between feedings. And when I do grab a precious moment or two — her papa has her out for a stroll, or her one good, guaranteed hour plus nap (the morning one) — pumping seems low on my list of priorities. This alone time would be better spend reading! knitting! typing! bathing!
But I’m going back to work soon. This is a very part time, mostly for fun type of thing that will require her to have four bottles a week at most, but now that I’m pumping for a reason, the ounce to two ounces that I normally get suddenly became a PROBLEM. And I started stressing about it and then my supply seemed to dip even more and then during one pumping session in which I had skipped a feeding so Margo could spend some time with her Baba, I only got barely half an ounce.
HALF AN OUNCE. I started stressing big time. Why was I going back to work, what the hell was I going to feed the baby, would I have to supplement with formula, would she even drink soy formula, how do some people work full time? I had myself so upset I nearly quit before I even started.
But then I changed the membranes on my pump. And I sat down and said to myself, whatever I can get will be good for Margo, and that’s all that matters. And I got an ounce and a half. The next time, two ounces.
Maybe it’s because this part of Margo’s life is so fleeting, or maybe it’s because I’m new at this whole being a Mama thing, but I realized I keep forgetting that today is just one day. I do it with her sleep habits, too. If she struggles to get to sleep and I end up rocking her for awhile, I worry that I’m ruining her ability to sleep by herself. And if she nurses till drowsy, snuggles a bit, then falls falls asleep alone, I think all her sleep “problems” are solved and get frustrated next time she struggles.
Eventually, pumping will be a distant memory, but so will breastfeeding, which I love. And eventually, she’ll get to sleep on her own and wouldn’t dream of letting me rock her.
I’ll keep taking it one step at a time but try to remember that it’s this moment, yes, but also a collection of moments that make up my life with my daughter.
And that this moment, even when it’s hard, is really, really good.