Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hanging Up the Horns

So anyway, let's talk about breastfeeding.  That's a good way to get everyone all riled up on a Tuesday morning, right?  I'm still nursing June, but only first thing when she gets up in the morning and last thing in the evening before she goes to bed.  Outside of that, she's on whole milk and working on her sippy cup skills.  The big news for me is that as of June's 1st birthday, I've given up pumping at work.  AHHHHHHHHHHHH!  So wonderful.  (No need to extrapolate my personal experience to all women here, but to summarize how things have gone for me, nursing=good, pumping=necessary evil.)

{My set up.  Wrapping paper covers the unfrosted lower half of my glass wall.  A chair blocks entry (there is no lock). The files are just a mess and have nothing to do with anything, but gee, don't they look fun?}
The weird thing is that I spent months looking forward to the day when pumping would end, and then when I ended it, I felt strangely...neglectful about it while at work.  (And I don't mean that in the "oh, I should give my baby more breastmilk" sense, but rather the "formed habit" sense.)  You know, lost in the way that a retired person might feel after taking the same train to work for years and then waking up with nowhere to go.
{Close up so you can see how scotch tape covers the unfrosted glass strips in the top portion of my wall.  Believe me, I have tested, and you really cannot see through the frosted parts (or the tape).}
{The warning sign placed on the outside of my door during each pumping session.}

{My next door neighbor's set up.  Yep, I guess we are pumper's row.  She went with temporary paper shades from Home Depot.  I should add that there is a "mother's room" (with a lock) available at our work place, but we prefer the efficiency of our own offices.}
I guess I always assumed I'd stop nursing June around the 13 month mark like I did with Georgia, because, well, duh, that's what I did with Georgia.  That makes perfect sense, right?  (I think that logic is featured on page 1 of the Second Time Parent's Handbook.)  But then it dawned on me that by ending everything now, I'd be stopping just when things were getting really good.  Or maybe by "good" I mean "easy"?  See, if you're like me, you've got your newborn stage, which is invariably going to involve at least a wee bit of pain that you've got to get through.  Then you've got your no-longer-a-newborn, but not yet eating solid foods stage, during which you're happy to be serving as your bambino's buffet, but ever so occasionally wishing you didn't feel tethered to your little one and her dining schedule.  Next comes the back to work stage, where you often loathe hooking up to the pump and try very hard not to stress about your supply or your freezer stash but don't always succeed.  (Yes, I know that's stupid, because, duh, there is this lovely stuff called formula, and it's quite good at feeding hungry babies, so why would anyone worry about such things when all that matters in the end is having a happy family?  But have I mentioned before that I have a thing for keeping up a streak?  Well, I do.)  Anyway, this brings us back to present day, where once I stopped pumping, I realized that I could get all of the upside of nursing a baby (convenience, cost-saving, bonding, plus whatever magical properties the milk supposedly has), with virtually none of the downside (pain, inconvenience, stress, pain-in-the-assness of pumping and incessantly washing all those parts).  It suddenly felt foolish to stop now. 

[For you sensitive types, please know that when I said "you" in the above paragraph, what I really meant was "I" or "me".  I realize that I've been one lucky dog to have two nursing experiences that worked out this way, and no two women or babies are alike.  For starters, I got a baby that could latch.  Next, I got a whopping 6 month maternity leave.  I then returned to a job where I do not have to punch in or out, and I have an office door that closes.  Last but not least, I have a husband who washed 10 million pump and bottle parts and supported me 100%.]

Can I tell you I loved nursing both my girls without sounding like an obnoxious phony?  Can I also tell you that I think breastfeeding is hard and does not come naturally without sounding like I'm minimizing the difficulty (or impossibililty) of your experience, given the relative ease of mine?  I hope so, because as inconsistent as those feelings may sound, I mean them all sincerely.

If you're waiting for a big conclusion here, I'm sorry.  There's really no point to this post other than recording some stuff that I (or the girls) may find interesting several decades from now.  Also, I have to say that I'm really not sure when to stop nursing June.  I still don't picture myself as an extended breastfeeder for some reason, but on the other hand, there's no compelling reason to stop I guess.  June has recently started signing "more, more" in the middle of nursing to signal that she wants to switch sides.  (If that is TMI, it's your own fault for having continued to read this far!)  Something about me has clearly changed, because there was a time when I would've found that disturbing, and now I just think it's adorable.  So I wonder, do I have to lug a pump to L.A. this weekend?  How can I stop when she's literally asking for more?  I'm just hoping that a natural conclusion presents itself eventually.  I'm sure it will.

ED:  My editor (Joe) just read this and asked if I'd be nursing June until she is 11.  Like those people in England on the ridiculous 20/20 episode about "Extreme Moms."  Me thinks Joe and I are using different definitions of "extended" here.  I'm talking about the possibility of a few more months.  I promise she won't be able to ride a bike before weaning.  Not that I'm judging if you're into that, of course. ; ) If you are, then you might enjoy this slightly gross, but also really funny video -- an oldie but goodie.

[Video: Human Cheese]

No comments: