Monday, December 23, 2013

To Pump or Not To Pump, That Is the Question

I am three weeks away from reaching my long-term pumping goal of six months.  I was able to offer exclusive breastmilk for the first 4.5 months.  Currently, the babies take four 5-oz bottles of breastmilk and two 5-oz bottles of breastmilk/formula.  Of the 30 oz each baby consumes per day, about 4-5 oz is formula, which means I'm able to provide roughly 85% of their food.  (We have not introduced any solids.)  I originally planned to stop pumping at 6 months, but I am considering extending it.  Here are my pros and cons:

Reasons Why I Want to Wean

1. I want my body back.  For nearly four years, I have either been trying to conceive, pregnant, breastfeeding, or pumping.  Since I anticipate the triplets being our last children, I look forward to regaining control of my body once and for all.  No more mastitis, clogged ducts, or engorgement. I want to be able to diet and exercise without it taking a toll on my milk supply.

2. I want to have more choice in how I spend my time.  I spend 3 hours per day hooked up to a pump (6 pumping sessions x 30 minutes).  That's three hours a day I could spend playing with Jackson, holding babies, cooking dinner, mopping, etc. 

3. I want a more flexible schedule.  My life is on repeat every 3-4 hours.  My schedule is dictated by the pump.  I take it in the car.  I've left parties early and excused myself from guests in my own home to go pump. 

4. I want to sleep through the night.  It's absurd waking up in the middle of the night to pump when my husband and children are sleeping peacefully.  I have to continue to pump because I get twice as much milk at 3 a.m. and my supply tanked when I skipped the middle of the night pump.

5. I consider six months to be a very respectable amount of time to provide breastmilk.  That's why I made that my long-term goal.  I devoted the same amount of time and provided the same amount of milk to Jackson.   

6. I want more choice in clothing.  Most dresses and shirts must be completely removed in order to pump.  I'm tired of wearing the same loose-fitting clothes every day.  I'm also eager to begin weight loss and get back into my wardrobe staples. 

Reasons Why I Want to Continue Pumping

1. It's FREE!  In over 5 months, we haven't spent a dime on feeding three babies.  We have used 2 cans of formula given to us by our pediatrician and 1 of 18 cans sent from Enfamil.  I use two Medela Pump in Style Advanced pumps that were given to me.  We use the same bottles we used with Jackson, which we received as baby shower gifts.  I asked dozens of other triplet moms how much formula they used and the average was one small can a day or a large can every other day.  Buying formula would be a $200+ monthly payment. 

2. It's the best nutrition available.  Even the formula companies print this on every can and pamphlet.  In the midst of flu/RSV season, it would be ideal to continue to offer the antibodies provided in breastmilk.  Of course I can't guarantee it's because my children were breastfed, but none of my four children have every had any ear infections or illnesses beyond a common cold.

3. It's selfish to stop pumping.  The only reason I quit breastfeeding Jackson by 6 months old was because I had completely dried up.  The demands and stress of going back to work caused my milk supply to diminish.  I have no excuse this time.  I stay home.  It is literally my "job" to take care of my children.  That includes feeding them.  If I'm able to make the milk, I should!  There are many moms (especially mothers of multiples) who have struggled far more than I have to provide breastmilk for their kid(s).  I would feel incredible guilt for quitting strictly because of convenience. 

Decisions, decisions...

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