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.