Bye-bye Bottles! (and peace out pump)

As of a few weeks ago M&M is completely off bottles!

Bottles have been somewhat supplemental for the past four or so months (she eats three solid meals a day) and mostly acted as a sleep aid. A Mommy-isn’t-here sleep aid. A typical week included four bottles (Tuesday: naptime with Grandma, nighttime with Daddy; Wednesday: naptime with Becky, nighttime with Daddy) with a bonus Daddy-administered one thrown in on occasion.

Four bottles a week may not sound like much but that’s at least 20ish ounces of pumped milk when I easily maxed out at 3-5oz. a day. I kept up by drinking tea, taking supplements, squeezing pumping into the crazy-full mornings (basically the only time I got anything!), lugging my pump to my internship, occasionally pumping in the back seat of my car and arriving home at the end of my two 12ish hour days to twenty minutes of pumping. I honestly weighed obligation by bottles needed in my absence. As I type that I can see why my relief is so great.

I do not know how you working mamas do it and my hat is off to you (now and always).

I didn’t intend to stop pumping and if I’d stopped to make a decision I think I’d have continued on. But that’s not how things worked out and so far as parenthood goes that seems to be pretty par for the course.

Over Thanksgiving I had a break from my internship, had my mother-in-law staying with us, was with M most of the time, and got lackadaisical about pumping. M turned one and soon after that we used the last of our milk stash. I threw myself back into furious pumping, tea drinking, etc.

breastfeeding nursing pumping breastpupm medela cracked nipples bleeding one year old twelve monthsAnd then one night I looked down and the bottle was only collecting blood.

OH. MY. GOD.

I wasn’t sure where it was coming from or what it meant, but I was freaked out. After some examination I had cracks in both nipples and upon inspection of the half-bottle in the fridge there was a pink tinge at the bottom. Ew.

And also, what was I going to do?!?! Yup, like that. Freak out style. Not “oh well” or “thank goodness”. No acknowledgement that this entire procduction was optional and would eventually come to an end at some point.

Immediate panic.

Old-fashioned breast-to-mouth nursing was no problem but I was terrified of the pump. I took a break. And Tony (well, baby too) succeeded just fine without a bottle. Eventually our other caretakers followed suit. A couple weeks passed and I put the pump in the closet. Which is where it’s stayed.

I think maybe I shouldn’t be so happy, maybe it erodes some of my pro-breastfeeding position but I am so flippin’ happy to be starting this term without that hour or so a day obligation. I’m happy I don’t have to scramble to make sure I have bottle, lid, flange, burp cloth, batteries and/or AC adapter. I’m so glad I don’t have to pack bottles or defrost breastmilk. It’s really been a giant relief.

Which is not to say the extra effort wasn’t worth it. Or that I wouldn’t do it again in a heartbeat. It’s merely finding the joy in the end of a season, even as I hold the frustrations of the next one (cupboards emptied 20 gazillion times a day anyone?).

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