I have been counting the months down until Cass would be one year old and I could retire my Medela pump-in-style (photo above). (At one year old she is old enough to have cow's milk.) Seriously. I remember starting to count down when she was about five months. I have used this pump for two children, ensuring that they both had breast milk through at least the first year of their lives. Brad's math estimates a total of 17 gallons for Cassandra alone. I am proud of this (which says a lot as I don't say that often when it comes to myself.) There is no judgement here if you chose to do something different or if you were not able to nurse and/or pump. I was lucky in that I have a private office where I could close the door, strap on my hands-free pumping band, and pump away.
When I stop pumping, I will find a whole lot of time. No more having to prep and wash flanges and bottles. No more scheduling meetings around pumping schedules or sneaking away to the bathroom at an off-site meeting to find a private place to pump.
But, now that the time is here to hang up the flanges, I have mixed feelings. Believe me, pumping is no fun. But, my ambivalence has something to do with my baby getting older and physically needing me less and less. About being done nursing forever. Granted, we're not done nursing yet and I hope to leave that totally up to Cass, but stopping pumping is a lot closer to stopping nursing than it is to having a newborn who needs you and only you for her physical nourishment.
I realize this is a 'family' blog of sorts and all this talk of breasts and nursing might make some of my five readers uncomfortable. (Hi Dad!) But, I've honestly become a bit of a zealot over the years about how nursing is one of the most natural (and best) things we can do for our children and it drives me nuts that just talking about it taboo.
And just for fun -- the photo below. It doesn't look a thing like me. I have eighteen different bags that I take to work, one of which is the pump. The others include my lunch, my briefcase, my purse, etc. etc. Also I'm not blond and usually not that happy-looking either....