The Final Countdown (to Being Done Pumping Breast Milk)

I've started my own final countdown: to the day when I can finally be done pumping breast milk at work. I can finally pack away my dreaded pump--guilt free.

O will be a year soon, and that means I’ve started my own final countdown–to the day when I can finally be done pumping breast milk at work. (Can’t imagine Europe ever thought their song would be used to illustrate something like this.) When O turns one, I can finally pack away my dreaded pump–guilt free. I will have done my duty as a nursing mommy and nursed him for a full year.

I’m can’t wait to be done. Done with interrupting my work day twice a day every day to go sit in a depressing room for 15 minutes. Done with trying to shuffle formal meetings so I don’t miss a pumping session. Done with making up excuses to slip out of informal meetings. (I never wanted to announce that I’m going to pump–for some reason I’m slightly embarassed. Is that weird? I don’t know.) Done with cleaning all my pumping accessories every night. Done with lugging my pump to and from work.

Can you tell I’m ready to be “done”?

I am. But part of me wonders if I might have some regret or remorse about stopping pumping. Most women I know stopped because their supply was drying up or because their children were no longer interested in nursing. Not the case with me–I can still get lots of milk when I pump and O still loves to nurse.

I know I don’t have to completely stop nursing when I stop pumping. And I don’t think I will stop nursing. Not just yet. Maybe I’ll just nurse in the mornings, maybe just the evenings–maybe morning and evening. Who knows? I’m not exactly sure what will happen–with my nursing sessions, milk supply, or my feelings. Will I be unable to nurse at all when I stop pumping? Will I be sad on the weekends when I can’t nurse during the day? And forget about me. How will O take it all?

Guess I’ll find out soon enough… Maybe I won’t pack away that pump completely guilt-free after all.

11 thoughts on “The Final Countdown (to Being Done Pumping Breast Milk)

  1. I totally understand. I was soooo happy to stop pumping after a year and quite proud of myself for making it that long as well.

    I felt a little bummed for a couple weeks and I weaned very gradually over about six weeks. It actually was easier than I thought. I felt like I was reaching the end of his babyhood and that saddened me. It’s only been a couple months now, but I can actually hardly imagine doing it now. It is nice not to have to think about it and to have a little extra time at work.

    Good luck and keep us updated!

    –MM

  2. congratulations! You rock! I only lasted about 6 weeks of pumping. And then I nursed 2x/day, in the AM and PM, until about 9 months. And then, da nada.

  3. I stopped nursing at 11 months and transitioned my daughter directly to whole milk. It was awesome. My daughter is now a little over 13 months old and I have my boobs back. In fact, I think they are smaller than ever (they aren’t but compared to the nursing period…)

    First, I reduced pumping from three times a day to twice a day. When I saw how much I enjoyed that, I removed another pumping session (replacing breast milk bottle with whole milk bottle) by the end of two weeks I was only pumping once and nursing before bedtime.

    At the end of three weeks I packed up the pump. After four weeks it was a bottle before bed time.

  4. I forgot to mention that it is also really freeing to be able to go out on the weekend and not worrying “do I have enough milk stored in the freezer”, “will i have to pump?”. You can just go out, leave your kid with your mom and be carefree. Spend the extra time for a spa pedicure instead of a regular pedicure, get dessert, see a movie.

    I will definitely nurse again, and hopefully for the same amount of time, but it really is like a new lease on life when you stop nursing.

  5. I think it’s amazing you were able to pump this long, and a real gift to your child! I only lasted a couple of months. You totally rock!!

  6. OMG, you have nothing to feel bad about! You should be so proud you breastfead your boy for a whole year. Anyway, people act like one year is a magic number, it’s not, it’s obviously arbitrary. Why not two years, or five years like they do in some countries? Arbitrary.

    I only nursed my baby for the first two weeks. I had hurt my back so bad when I was pregnant with her (she weighed 10.5 lbs at birth). After two weeks of nursing my husband needed to go back to work, and I needed to get mobile, because I couldn’t even bend over to pick her up out of her bassinet. So I had to go on a muscle relaxer. I didn’t have the luxury of feeling guilty. Anyway, at 10 months she’s happy and definitely healthy. People make such a big deal out of nursing like we live in a natural world, but we don’t anymore, which is why so many babies need formula supplements. My baby got bad jaundice, the doctor said it was because she wasn’t getting enough fluids (I got some bad advice from a lactation consultant on length of time she needed to be nursing. Maybe because she was so big). I can’t believe I risked her liver for two weeks of breastfeeding, just because I felt so pressured to do it. Anyway, I’ll stop now, I’m sure I sound like a raving lunatic. Bottom line is feel good about how long you nursed!!!

  7. Congrats on one year! It is a wonderful achievement! I know that I counted the days until one year for the same reason, twice!!

    But, for me, when I tried to wean (at 14 months), he had a fit, and I realized just how important it was to him. So, I didn’t pump, but I nursed several times a day, until he was 19 months and we mutually agreed (he stopped asking, I stopped giving).

    However, the second time, I nursed until he was 30 months. It was different for me the second time, I knew it would be my last, and it gave me wonderful one-on-one time with him, hard to always find for a second child.

    Both times I pumped until they were exactly 1 year old (pumping in my classroom, on my prep hour, I had to put a sign on my door, tell administration, the custodians!). The horror stories we could all tell!!

  8. Thank you all for sharing your comments/experiences!

    MM–I know what you feel about the end of babyhood. This might be my only child, so it saddens me even more.

    Amybow, I have no clue how I’m going to do this whole transition, so thanks for sharing your story.

    Anonymous–I feel you on the pressure to nurse. Even though I wasn’t sure I wanted to breastfed in the beginning, once I did, I felt pressure to keep him on BM and BM only (to the point where I was pumping in the middle of the night!). That all changed once I got super sick/dehydrated and couldn’t pump enough, no matter how hard I tried. I had to send bottles of formula to daycare so he had enough to eat, and that was that!

    Aandosmom–you were still able to nurse your sons, even after you stopped pumping? More than just morning and evening?

  9. I can soooo relate! Good for you for pumping for so long. I just recently had to increase to 4 times a day (plus I go feed at lunch) because my little one wouldn’t take formula. It’s amazing I get anything done during the day. Congrats to you for your time and sacrifice!

  10. Yes, I was able to nurse LONG after I stopped pumping, for 7 months one time, and 18 months the next. My body adjusted without any problems, and obviously they were eating “normal” food, as well as (cow’s) milk from a sippy cup. What was great was that the trauma was gone for me – no pumping, no bottles, no guilt. We could together just enjoy it. And, when I weaned, it did not hurt a bit, either time.

    I let my children guide me, and my body followed. Ironically, I had NO idea that I would nurse so long. I went in with the first one thinking, ok, let’s try 3 months, and then when that worked, 3 more, etc. Bottom line for me, I learned that it was important to my kids, so that made it even more important to me.

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