Today I wiped down my pump, threw out the tubing, and washed the last few pieces to put away for storage. I began pumping on November 1 and this past Friday was my last pump. Almost a full year of pumping for my son. It seemed like a good time to stop, my supply was dipping each week and this weekend was busy, which means I was in need of the extra 45 minutes that would normally be taken up by pumping. With how low my supply was, I am surprised at how uncomfortable I feel, but that should go away in the next few days.
I feel proud. I did a good job. It wasn't the feeding plan I had, but it worked, some days better than others. I was able to completely cover my son's milk needs for 9 months. I was able to donate several feedings to a sick baby in the NICU. I was able to donate an ice chest full of milk to a mommy who couldn't nurse her baby until some medical problems were resolved. And, with the help of friends, I will be able to give Johnny at least 12 ounces of breast milk until tomorrow and he will get 6 ounces of breast milk until he turns 1. None of this was ideal. But it worked out well and I am so grateful for what he has gotten.
I will still go to the mat and argue that exclusive pumping is the hardest feeding choice a Mommy can make for their child. If you know someone who exclusively pumps, give them a high five, a hug, or buy them a treat, they deserve it. It has been so important to me to power through as long as possible for Johnny. I wanted to prove to myself that I would try hard every day to give him what I felt was best. I wanted to set a precedent that, no matter how inconvenient, would show that his needs come first. It took support from my husband, patience from my girls, love and prayers from family and friends, and many, many tired hours. Do I wish I could have done things differently, both in nursing him or in providing more milk for him? Sure I do. But I'm not mad or frustrated, just happy for the healthy little man he is! Yay us!