That's boob-code for "hanging up the horns." Or in my case "hands."
Yup. This week will be the first week I don't pump. I still have some frozen milk that Felix drinks every day, but I'm retiring my hands and Medela Freestyle. (And the manual pump I borrowed from my bestie CD is going into storage--when you need it again, I am buying you a new one!) In fact, the Freestyle is now a part of my children's toy bin. Don't judge...it's like a glorified pager and they love turning it on and pressing the buttons. If we ever have more children, I will buy a new pump as this one has been through the ringer and is in no condition to donate or sell, so my options were throw it out, or let my children explore with a lactation device. Miles used to have a ball playing drums with rogue tampons he found in our bathroom--a breast pump is the logical next step, no? (I call it husband grooming.)
I reduced my yahoo groups PumpMoms membership to only urgent e-mails from the moderator yesterday, instead of getting every new post from moms in pump crisis. (God, I love that group...it is one of the best online communities if you are a pumping mother!). I never thought I would be the one having a hard time weaning, but it's me who needed a graduated removal from nursing and pumping. Felix? "Nursing was SO 2 weeks ago. I mean, puh-leaze Mommy! I am already walking without holding my hands in perma-touchdown pose. How dare you insult me with such baby games!"
I've pumped e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e...for years...and I'm getting a little weepy as this journey ceases. I think it's because it marks the end of breastfeeding as a whole for me at the present time. (See? I cannot even put my mind in a place that could accept that I will never nurse again.)
I'll admit it, I'm being the baby here, not Felix. But this is more emotionally charged than I anticipated.
It doesn't help that Felix's birthday shout-out on one of my favorite websites was posted today:
Yup. I wrote it when he was just a year, and I was still nursing--I still had that one session each night that I both dreaded when between 2-4am Felix would first stir, but also loved when we both collapsed on the guest bed to "connect."
It was my own version of 10 minutes in heaven.
I had no idea when writing that within a few short weeks, that time would be gone. (To be replaced with sleeping longer stretches, though!)
And here is where I go all psycho-analyst on myself. I think the ending of my pumping signifies both a wonderful, but also poignant transition. I don't really have "babies" anymore...and holding on to pumping was a way I was holding on to my babies. AND, I truly think there is this little pocket of my soul that was convinced that one day, Felix would ask to nurse again. Part of me feels guilty that I was the one to end the relationship. With healed nipples, it's easier to say, "it wasn't THAT bad!" (I should have taken pictures and a Flip video so I could remind myself that oh yes, it WAS that bad!). There is part of me that wishes at least with one of my children I was able to nurse until 2 years. I guess cumulatively, I got quite a few years under my belt--er, rather, in my bra!
Blah, blah, boo hoo. But--what I find comfort in is that the way life works is that when one special period of life ends, it is replaced with new and equally wonderful experiences! And I am so thankful that I was able to nurse and pump as long as I did for both my boys, and now am so thankful that they are both growing up into fun, loveable additions to our home. Last night I sat at the dinner table as Miles tore around the table saying "HI MOMMY! HI DADDY!" over and over with Felix screeching behind, and just, well, loved life.
And then loved that instead of pumping, I could use my hands for other things. Like knitting. And using the remote to turn on trash like The Bachelor. (I'm hooked.)
But I'll never think of the word "ounce" the same way.
So the focus now is on the joy and luck I had with what was, instead of being hard on myself about what is not.
Calvin and Hobbs (my milk station--TMI?) are retired, and in the span of 2 days, I'm back to being a heartbeat away from being cast as a pre-pubescent boy's stunt double.
But you know what? It's not so bad.