From one cow's milk to another.
We made it! One year of exclusively nursing one baby. One year of exclusively pumping for the other babe. Two weeks of sister donor milk until my supply could catch up. Only two bottles of formula because we didn't bring enough frozen milk to Texas and the grandparents love giving free refills on bottles. At first, this goal felt so heavy. The one year mark felt impossible. But we did it, only by the grace of God. I did the math because I needed Blake to recognize and value all of the sacrifices it has taken to make this happen. We saved well over $12,000 this year by not using formula. Holy smokes. WORTH IT.
Now begins my journey to wean. It has definitely taken longer than expected because I was producing about 70 ounces of milk a day. Yes, a straight up milk cow. I am super thankful that I was able to train my body to produce enough, but weaning has been more challenging because of it. Because you know... I'd rather not have my chest literally explode.
I started the weaning process in June, dropping one pump session at a time. It takes my body a few (pretty painful) days to adjust after I drop a pump sesh. Currently, I am only pumping first thing in the morning and right before bed and also slowly trying to transition the boys to whole milk.
I still nurse Eli in the mornings, so Stisher gets a bottle of only breast milk. Then, I started mixing their other two bottles with half breast milk and half whole milk. Next week, I will transition to 3/4 whole milk and 1/4 breast milk. And then (hopefully) the next week, they will be adjusted to a straight whole milk bottle. We tried giving them straight whole milk at first and they literally spit it out and gagged. LOL, spoiled rotten things.
I plan to keep nursing and doing straight breast milk in the mornings until I feel ready to fully give it up. As much as I thought I would be ready to be totally done, I'm not. I also thought it would be weird to nurse a baby past a year, but it's not. The mornings are just so sweet. I have no idea when or if I will get to do this again so I am not rushing it. I will know when we are both ready to be done. It feels so freeing already to only be pumping morning and night. I know to most of you that seems like a lot but it's a drop in the bucket to what I was doing. To be honest, I really don't hate pumping. But I will be ready to be done with that soon.
I couldn't have survived this journey without my Medela Symphony hospital grade pump (my insurance has paid for me to rent it from a local pharmacy) and this hands free pumping bra. For anyone that pumps more than once a day, these are a must. If you are local to Auburn or Opelika, all you need is a prescription from your doctor & you can rent one from Bubba's Medicine shop. I will hopefully be turning mine in soon.
Last but not least.... shout out to you milk cow that gets your nips pumped constantly. I now value the work you do so much more than I ever did. You are the true champion, making weaning possible for all of us mamas.
Lots of love,
All photography by Hannah Miller.