Just as soon as I typed the last word in the last sentence of last week’s post, about my 1200ml supply, I felt my supply start to dip. Is it a coincidence? Overconfidence? Did I jinx it? The next pump was just not the same, and then the next and the next. Each time I was getting less than I was used to. Not tremendously less, I still get enough for a whole bottle, but there wasn’t that little bit extra. Regardless, I’m still in a good place. As I remove from my freezer stash I’m still adding in every other night. Is this the beginning of the end? I can’t help but feel a little bit of relief… and guilt. But most importantly, relief.
Don’t get me wrong. I love feeding my baby with my body and I have prioritized that over every single other thing for the last six months, but I’m tired and I don’t like my body anymore. I know many mothers go through this feeling, of looking at themselves in wonder at how they let “this”happen to themselves.. the flabby skin, the saggy boobs, the dry hair and the large dark circles around their eyes. I haven’t lost any weight since bebe T was born and I’m actually starting to put some more on. “Your body is a powerhouse”; “you’ve just made a human, a miracle”; “you’re beautiful, Mama”; “love the skin you’re in.” I get it, I got it. I love that there are women out there who are truly happy with themselves and confident with their post-partum bodies. I think it’s beautiful and I wish I felt this way. But I don’t. I’ve tried really hard and did a good job of it for the last six months to live by those words, to think that my body can wait. But I’m also human. I’m also a twenty-first-century woman. I’m also surrounded by the fit and beautiful, I used to count myself among them. I just want to feel a little bit like that again and I’ve felt like I couldn’t get to that while I was pumping. I couldn’t jeopardize my supply by prioritizing my “self”.So is my body telling me its time? Is it naturally trying to wean itself? I don’t know, but it’s brought me that sense of relief, that maybe I’m not choosing my body, but my body is choosing me instead. We shall see.
I’m not stopping, but I will start the long process of weaning myself off pumping. I expect this to take a few months still as I’m not a tremendous rush to end my supply. My first priority is reducing my nighttime pumps down to one instead of two so that I can get in more sleep and longer stretches of it. My pumping routine is now, 8AM, 12PM, 3PM, 6PM, 10PM, 3AM. In a few weeks, I’ll try to move it to 3AM pump to 4AM and continue until my body can handle no overnight pumping. Hopefully that will work, although I’m nervous because thatMOTN pump was always my largest. I will also start to take a closer look at what I’m eating. I haven’t thought twice about what I have been eating, or how much. I haven’t been eating take-out every night or munching on pizza pops or anything. It’s been healthy, but I can probably scale it back a bit, cut some of the less healthy things out and start to see some results. I’m also really looking forward to going back to the gym. I thought that I would be able to do some things at home, but I just find other things to do that are taking priority and my leaky boob is my worst nightmare.
For now, and in consultation with my pediatrician, I’m going to start slowly adding formula to bebe T’s daily nutrient intake. He is still always asking for food every two hours and often asks for more, so hopefully with this addition, plus the solid foods we have been adding, he will be satiated little more and I will have the comfort of knowing that he is getting all the nutrients and bulk that he needs, while still getting my breastmilk. I have a few bottles of ready-made Enfamil, which we purchased in the summer for our travels that I will use up first and start utilizing at night so he’s not waiting too long on a warming bottle. After that, I brought back some formula from our trip to Portugal that I will use andI’ve ordered one of the best formulas on the international market – Holle Cow’s Milk OrganicFormula.
If you haven’t looked into it, European formula is quickly growing to be a preferred substitute for north American formula because of the stricter regulations around infant formula ingredients within the EU. The brand I chose, specifically, is Demeter Certified, which means that the benefits of the formula production go beyond the ingredient list. Not only is the formula adherent to EU guidelines, but it’s organic, GMO-free and the milk ingredients are taken from cows that have been raised on a sustainable, organic, pesticide-free farm and in humane conditions. These are all things that I have been passionate about for a long time and, honestly, was a huge part of my anxiety to add a formula in the first place. It is more expensive to do it this way, but with a little extra penny-pinching in other places on my end, I am doing what I feel to be the best option within my means for my child and for myself.