Why is it that breastfeeding sucks so much, but you are so incredibly sad when you’re done? Having to feed your baby every few hours is so time consuming. With both my boys, I decided to pump exclusively and for a number of reasons. Pumping allowed Thomas to feed them; we both shared in the experience of feeding our perfect little boys. I also pumped exclusively in order to know exactly how much milk my boys were getting throughout the day. It was incredible that with every ounce of milk I pumped, I experienced a sense of achievement.
I stopped pumping weeks ago and I discovered a lot about myself in the process. Here are the four things that I learned.
1. I have more time.
I have so much more of it, time that is. I have extra hours that I can spend playing with the boys, cleaning the house, watching Netflix, working out, painting my nails, eating ice cream, taking a family walk, playing with our dogs, chatting with Thomas. The list obviously goes on and on. I calculated that I was spending anywhere from 4-6 hours a day pumping. Having 4-6 hours back made such a difference in how I spend my day. It was nice to be able to do more of the things I wanted to do, e.g. re-read the list from above.
2. I have more energy.
My body is no longer producing milk, naturally I would have more energy. I did not realize how much energy was being sucked from me every time I pumped. One evening after we got the boys down, I was cleaning up and Thomas looked at me and said,
“You are kicking ass lately. You’ve done so much today. What have you been doing different?”
“It’s because I’m not spending energy producing milk for Jax. I have energy to do things now.”
When laughed about it, but it got me thinking about how good I felt and how my body didn’t feel so run down.
3. I felt purposeful.
Every time I fed both of my boys I felt like I was doing something so meaningful. It was unlike anything I had ever felt before. Each boy relied on me for his nutrition. Not only did I produce life, but I was producing the nourishment needed to keep those tiny humans alive. Much like the high I felt after giving birth, I felt like a super woman thinking about the two years of my life I spent breastfeeding.
4. I was emotional when I stopped.
I did not expect this one at all, but I got sad at the thought that of no longer solely nourishing my child. My eyed teared up the first day I walked passed the pumping room at work. I had spent hours and hours there pumping and I would no longer be doing that. also, I had to emotionally jazz myself up the day I boxed up my pump. I am sad that my boys will never rely on me in such a vital way.
I am sad about not pumping anymore and my boys not “vitally” needing me anymore, but I look forward to being able to spend more time playing with them. I get excited thinking about how I will provide for them in the future. I understand that this phase of my life has come to an end; and instead of being sad that it’s over, I am choosing to be satisfied with the job I was able to do and will feel proud that I was able to provide for my boys in such a way.