|"I don't know anything about any 'dog hair.'"|
Yes, breastfeeding. Have we already discussed this once or a hundred times? So here we are again, but this time, it's different. This time, I fear that we have reached the end of the road, just six weeks shy of my goal of being able to pump enough for Em for a year. I haven't thrown in the towel yet, but I am running out of tips, tricks, supplements, options… I am not pumping enough to keep up with Em anymore.
Scratch that--it's actually worse than that--I am barely pumping anything anymore.
As I mentioned in my last post about this mess, it all started in May, when prior to a stressful family event, I had plugged ducts, but with a little acupuncture and a mild temper tantrum on my part (it was cathartic), things got back to normal pretty quickly, despite a small drop in my supply. I did the math--because I'm insane--and even accounting for what i thought was the "worst case scenario" (now known as the "best case scenario"), we would make it to a year without needing to supplement.
But then, after I thought our problems had been solved, there was more pain. I started needing to pump for upwards of 30 minutes. My ducts became plugged again. And then, for whatever reason, I just stopped being able to pump. The milk was there. It just won't come out. I've massaged; I've hot compressed; I've had my pump's motor checked; I've taken supplements; I've deep breathed; I've switched out my pump parts. I keep thinking that this is going to turn around, and yet, it's just not. With my freezer supply and what I'm pumping now (apprx. 4 oz a day), I'm two weeks from being completely out of business.
As much as I have bitched and moaned, feeding Em exclusively breastmilk for a year is something I was committed to doing. And when I failed all other tests of new mommy hood--I haven't lost the baby weight; I stopped making Em's baby food; I can't commit to an exercise routine; I struggle to get a healthy dinner on the table even a few times a week--I held on to this as the thing that I could do. I could do this for my baby. I could set this one goal and reach it. Around nine months, I started to get cocky, let my guard down, began to assume that we were out of the woods. The end was in sight, and with no major hurdles ahead, we would have no trouble making it to August 1.
I was wrong.
I struggle so much with this because I know in my head that this is no big deal, that I've done a great job for my baby, and it is time to move on with our lives. And yet, the whole thing kills me. I cry when I think about it. For the first time as a mom, I feel like a failure. I am comparing myself to other mothers who reached their breastfeeding goals despite the hurdles. I have questioned where I went wrong. Maybe if I had bitched less. Maybe if I hadn't followed the peditrician's advice and tried dropping from pumping three times a day to twice. If I was just home with her more this wouldn't even be an issue.
MAYBE MAYBE MAYBE IF IF IF...
And so on, like that, for at least a little while longer.