While breastfeeding, when did your cycle return?

Did you milk it for all it was worth? (breastfed or pumped)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I've Gone to Pump

My son was born in November 2007 with CDH (Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia) and required a lengthy NICU stay and ended up going home on oxygen for a few more months. My first days of motherhood I felt so useless--I was recovering from a c-section, trying to visit my son in critical condition and pumping frequently with not much milk to show for the effort.
As soon as my milk came in--I felt like I was finally doing something. Although I was unable to hold my son for the first 28 days-- I was able to pump milk that I knew he would enjoy at some point. Breastfeeding was something that I had always looked forward to and it was difficult not to experience this gift right away-- but I knew pumping would allow me to feed him once he was healthy enough--and I knew the breastmilk that he would eventually receive through his NG tube was the best thing for him.
During my son's stay in the NICU I kept family & friends (and a following of prayer warriors I have never met) updated through a my son's blog. Each day I would give them the gist of the day--adding in some comic relief when possible--but the gist of the day always included the many times I would have to pump--I mentioned it often. One of my well-meaning blog readers mentioned that I seemed to talk about pumping too much--almost to imply I was mentioning how many times I used the restroom. At first I was embarrassed--and then it occurred to me--this is what it is to be a mother. I was pumping my milk--and if I had been saying "I went to feed my baby" it wouldn't have seemed as crass--but I couldn't say that--my baby was on a ventilator--and the next best thing I could do was to pump. I was a proud pumper. I pumped for just about 3 months until one day I looked at my son and said--we can do this. I have been exclusively breastfeeding him ever since--which is a miracle in itself--CDH babies tend to have major oral adversions on top of reflux issues--I thank God for this gift of motherhood.
So what's up with this blog?
In a word--support. A breastfeeding mother needs support--and a pumping mother needs LOTS of encouragement to persevere--because there is nothing endearing about a breastpump staring at you at 3am.
I am not an expert--I am not a nurse or lactation consultant and I don't claim to have any sort of expertise in lactation or breastfeeding. But I do have a unique experience of pumping exclusively for 2 months for a critically ill child, transitioning to breastfeeding a special needs infant in the NICU and now breastfeeding exclusively for a high needs baby. All this to say--I can relate to a lot of different situations. If you have a question--post it in the comments section below each blog entry--if I don't have an answer, hopefully another blog reader will!

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