Monday, February 9, 2009

Farewell Faithful Friend

If breastfeeding posts make you squeamish, skip this post. This is an ode to my speedy companion, the breastpump. Today marks my final day of washing parts, bottles, and various other things that accompany this pump. Yes, I am filled with a huge sense of relief after pumping full-time for over 13 months, but I am also a little sad.

Prior to getting pregnant, I was always one of those people that could never imagine myself breastfeeding. Everything seemed so foreign to me. It wasn't until I discovered that I would be having a premature baby that the need for breastmilk became a reality to me. The doctors told me the day that I was admitted to Sacred Heart the importance of Bronson never having formula and I took this is as doctor's order and never let an once of formula cross his lips. I am also sad to say that except for twice in his life, my son had no desire to breastfeed, so hence the need for full-time pumping.

Until Bronson was 10 months old I pumped every three hours of every day (8 times a day). I was able to slow down a bit after that, but still pumped at least 6 times a day. Yes, this is kind of a brag. I am proud to say that I stayed with the program and allowed Bronson this precious gift. I also share this as encouragement to those that have had difficulty with nursing or pumping. I was so lucky to have 24 hour help with a lactation nurse for the first 2 months of Bronson's life. It also helps that one of our favorite NICU nurse's became one of our bestfriends and has helped me during those extremely difficult times.

I was also blessed with an extreme abundance of milk for the first six months of Bronson's life. My body still felt the need to produce for multiples. It wasn't able to adapt, because of the lack of nursing and the full-time pumping. I feel that this was God's way of allowing Jackson's legacy to carry out. I was able to donate several coolers of milk to our dear friend, a mother of triplets. I never thought in a million years that I would do something like this, however when asked I didn't hesitate. My thought was if someone else's preemie needs milk, why let it go to waste. This was such an amazing experience for me.

As I write this blog that was originally supposed to be short, I am reminded of several situations that this has put me in. I will never forget having to pump in the backseat of the Starker's car during Civil War half-time while Jim kept guard of the car for me so no one would see. I also recall having to pump in route to Sunriver because Bronson ran out of milk. I became less and less worried about what others thought and more focused on providing nutrition to my son. Thanks to those of you that have provided a "private" room for me in the past year so that I can pump. I am so thankful for such a supportive and loving group of family and friends. My goal to pump for Bronson's 1st year would not have been reached without the loving support of people willing to step in and hold Bronson once in a while so that I could pump. I think that it will be a life long joke around the Deets when someone says, I have to go pump. These five words have became a very often heard word around here.

As I end this post I want to say, this isn't for everyone. It requires a great deal of patience, time, and support, but it was way worth it. I only hope someday that if we have more children they choose to take the more natural way of nursing. The following is a list of benefits of pumping that were true for me:
  1. I lost tons of weight. I am about 7 pounds from weighing what I did when I got married.
  2. My son did stay healthier while his diet consisted of only breastmilk.
  3. I stayed healthier.
  4. It was tons cheaper. Our grocery budget has became so much more since he started eating whole foods.
  5. I felt a strong attachment and validation of being Bronson's mommy knowing that I was able to provide all of his nutrition for his first 9 months completely and then after he started on solids, all of his milk until 12 months.
  6. He has never had any food allergies, a strong bonus of breast fed babies.