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A Year of Exclusively Pumping Comes to a Close

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My goal when I first started pumping was to make it to six months. Once I discovered the Mother's Milk Bank and realized that I could donate milk for a full year, I expanded that goal to pumping for a year so that I could donate all of my extra milk instead of freezing it. Why?

Because I wake up every morning to the sounds of one of the best gifts ever given to me by God. That's her over there on the right. My little girl came home from the hospital with me happy and healthy. If I can help just one mother do that with her own child, then all that extra time at the pump is worth it. (See, this is the beauty of having a blog, you can do things like post pictures of your adorable kid on it...)

Elnora turned a year old on November 11th, which meant that I'd made it to my goal.

Regular readers of The Lactivist blog know that this site was started as part of a 30 day business project at Search Engine Guide. (check out the entire article series)

In that same vein, I thought I'd make today's blog post a bit more personal and share the one week challenge that I'm going through right now. Weaning. Ugh.

Any mom that has done it knows exactly what I mean. Engorgement is not fun. At all. Once your body gets used to creating a certain amount of milk each day, it wants to continue doing that. When a child weans naturally, it tends to go a little easier on the mother. The child will nurse less and less over time until they stop all together, allowing a mother's body to slowly ratchet down production.

But when you are pumping, the only way to wean is to start cutting out pumping sessions. I'd managed to get down to just two sessions a day just after Nora turned one, and last week I decided that I'd try and cut it to once a day. That seemed to go ok, so I decided to try and skip a day.

Bad move.

Let's just say that when my husband asked "so where does all that milk go if you don't pump it?" and I didn't have an answer for him....I should have thought things through a bit more.

After about 36 hours, I realized that I had to pump again or I was at risk of letting loose like a fire hydrant. Apparently this was a good idea as I got about 12 ounces in less than 10 minutes. That made me realize that the better plan was to simply pump for a few minutes whenever I got to the point that I *had* to and to hope that my body would shut down milk production accordingly.

So why the timeline?

Because next Monday, I'm flying to Chicago for the Search Engine Strategies conference and I'd really rather not lug my pump with me on the plane. I was still pumping four times a day during the last SES conference in San Jose and it was a total pain in the neck. Not only did I have to make sure I could find pumping time four times a day, I also had to stay on east coast time which meant getting up at 4am every morning to pump. (sometimes that just meant staying up a tiny bit longer before going to bed at all though....)

On the other hand, I can't risk getting there and needing to pump and not having one. I'm up to 48 hours between sessions though, so I can hope.

Incidentally, for those headed to SES, keep an eye out for me. I'll be sporting a milk jugs shirt for the Pimp My Site session.

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  1. Anonymous Anonymous | 9:44 AM |  

    TELL ME ABOUT IT!! I'm also weaning by making it longer and longer between pumps... and now i'm at about 7 hours, and it's taken me a week of slight engorgement to get this far! Similar to you, I have a work commitment next week where I would rather not bring the pump!! :-)

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