I haven’t really touched on the subject of pumping except for a few months ago when I mentioned that I wasn’t breastfeeding anymore, just pumping. Well the long story was that P, around 4 weeks old, was refusing the boob. She would start nursing and then after the initial letdown, she would pull off and scream and cry. Our “magical moments” of nursing turned into a nightmare that lasted over an hour long and ended with both of us crying. I called every lactation consultant I knew. I went and nursed in front of one and the conclusion we all came to was that I had a strong letdown and then P was getting pissed that she had to actually do a little work to get the rest of it out. I had a few LC tell me that I needed to stop pumping, stop giving a random bottle and go back to a strict boob to mouth relationship – even if it took “3 – 5 weeks” … um, when this was going down, I had about 8 more weeks of maternity leave and then I would be giving bottles all the time anyhow. I couldn’t imagine going through another feeding of the screaming, let alone 5 WEEKS of it!
So I decided to pump and supplement with formula if I had to. What I didn’t realize was that P would have a milk protein allergy. So after giving her 3 oz of formula over three days (if what I pumped was low, I’d put in 1 oz of form) she started to have blood in her stool. Great! So long story short, I couldn’t bare to give her the hypo allergic stuff that smelt like Cheez-Its, so I hunkered in and started a pumping routine. Not how I envisioned giving her breast milk, but it would have to do. And if I say so myself, I did pretty well.
I started out pumping every 2-3 hours to get my supply up, then every 3 hours, then every 4. In the beginning, until mid September (after I returned to work) I would nurse her in the middle of the night. She was sleepy so she didn’t care about how fast or slow it was coming out. But eventually when the supply wasn’t working for her, she started to wake up every hour or so looking for food and being back at work, this didn’t fly with me. So I then started to pump in the middle of the night. It was tiring. It was stupid (I would pump, put it in a bottle and C would feed her) Eventually I got on a schedule – Woke up at 7, pumped; Went to work; pump at 11, pump at 3; pick up P; pump at 7; Stay up to 11; pump – leave pumped milk out in case P woke up before I did in the middle of the night; pump at 3AM; put 11PM milk in fridge, now have 3AM milk to feed when she woke at 4AM to eat. (my supply was pretty good – I was getting a solid 28-30oz a day, so I had enough to feed her and I could add to my freezer stash) I was getting in, at best, 3.5 hours blocks of sleep. This did not make for a productive lady during the day. I did this – EVEN after P left our room in November and started sleeping through the night (I still left out a bottle in case she woke up hungry.) I vowed to stick to this until she turned 6 months old. I would have LOVED to nurse her until a year old, but I couldn’t do another 6 months of this. So I started around mid November to alter my pumping schedule. I started to increase the time between until I eventually stopped pumping on December 7th. I was sad. I couldn’t believe it was over. I no longer possessed the ability to feed my child. Def sadder than I thought I’d be. But nonetheless, I did 6 months and felt pretty good about it. I started mixing in the hypo allergic formula – which to my surprise she took to seamlessly. I went through my stash and completely switched her over two days before Xmas.
NOW to the point of my post. I gained a total of 23 lbs during my pregnancy. I was expecting to lose a good portion after delivering her, but to my surprise when I jumped on the scale the day I got home from the hospital and I had only lost about 7-8 lbs. However the following weeks I saw the scale number drop, drop and drop. Man this pumping thing rocked! When I surpassed my pre-pregnancy weight I was thrilled. When I saw I was 10 lbs lighter than when I started the IVF process, I was over the moon! I didn’t exercise – I mean who has the time. I wanted to sleep when the time arose! I was fitting into clothes I couldn’t wear the summer before. This was amazing! I was eating like shit – however I had cut out all dairy b/c P had the milk protein allergy – but I was living off potato chips and candy! Seriously!! But the pounds just stayed off.
And then I stopped pumping.
1. My boobs were no longer milk-fabulous and perky. They were worn out and sloppy. The amount of abuse I put them through with pumping started to show. They are straight up African tribe looking. I wonder if National Geographic will come knocking soon!
2. I got my period. I SERIOUSLY forgot all about it. I hadn’t had it in over 14 months and it was wonderful! In fact when I got it, it was like I was 13 again and didn’t know how to handle it. I was running to the bathroom all the time, swearing that I was leaking. Fun stuff.
3. Hmmmm. My pants were starting to get tighter. That’s weird. I pondered that until I got on the scale and saw that I was 6 lbs heavier than I was just a mere 3 weeks earlier! Holy Shit. My stomach was falling over the top of my jeans. My bra straps were showing the ever growing back fat that came home from a long vacation. This was terrible. Even though I was/am still lower than my pre-pregnancy weight, I look so much worse! I’m soft … ALL over! I can’t get throughout the day without pulling up pants, pulling down a shirt, shifting a bra, etc.
I really took for granted the power of the pump! I have a ton of shouldas-wouldas (should have worked out while pumping; would have been able to lose more weight, etc.) but I just didn’t realize how quickly the weight would come back on. So I’m in the mist of getting back on the cardio train. I’m having trouble finding the time between working, wanting to spend quality time with P and C and of course, sleeping to work out. I know moms do it. And I know it’s just rearranging the schedule a bit … and as I start to sweat the pounds away, all I think about it is DAMN I wish I were still pumping!