The following is a guest post written by Nicole Dorion. She exclusively pumped for 8 months and wrote about her experience, feeling exhausted from exclusive pumping, and the emotions she was feeling as she finished one of the hardest things she had ever done.
2 ounces. That’s all I get now from my morning pumping session. My best of the day.
It’s not enough.
After months of exclusively pumping, I’m down to my final days. And I can’t believe how hard it is to let go.
I knew this time would come. I wished for it to come.
I loathed the pump from day one. Maybe because pumping didn’t feel like my choice.
My baby was born premature. Too small and undeveloped to breast feed, he used a feeding tube instead. My job was to pump enough milk for him.
So I tried.
I pumped before I ever got to hold my baby.
I pumped every 2 hours, day and night.
I pumped even when nothing came out.
I cried wondering why my body kept failing me.
Preterm labor. A low milk supply. I resented so much, but refused to give up.
I power pumped for an hour every day.
I pumped in the car. I pumped at work. I pumped when I was sick. I pumped myself raw.
I pumped when my baby slept through the night, cradling that black box in my arms because those painfully-exhausting midnight sessions were my biggest producers.
Tirelessly, I pumped to build and maintain a supply that was never quite enough.
I hated pumping. The lost time. The isolation. The endless wheezing and whining of that machine attached to me.
I would think “enough is enough.” Yet I was compulsively committed to it.
My baby needed that liquid gold. And longed for my body to do something right.
As broken as I felt, I became stronger than I ever imagined.
I pumped to provide for my baby.
I pumped to connect with him.
I pumped to give him the best start to life.
I pumped not because it was my first choice, but because I chose to do what I could.
Now I pump enough for just one bottle a day. His last meal before bed. The one I always get to feed him.
My heart grows a little heavier as I watch the ounces disappear. But I breathe a little easier too.
I remind myself our connection is deeper than the liquid in a bottle. That whether it comes from my body or the store, he is loved and he is nourished.
And that is enough.
Are you feel exhausted from exclusive pumping? Share your story in the comments!