Yesterday I packed up my breastpump, all the assecories and Baby Susan's bottles, nipples, drop in's, drying rack, etc. I took it all downstairs and put it away in a safe place. My husband wondered if I wanted it put in a garbage bag or some other bag to protect it from dust etc.
He remembers how important that thing was to me.
This time around I was going to succeed with the whole breast feeding thing. I vowed to ask for help, purchase the appropriate supplies, and do what it took to nurse my third baby beyond that first two weeks.
And because God is good and I am the most stubborn woman on the planet, I did.
I took 12 weeks maternity leave. It was largely unpaid (I had a small insurance policy that covered my health insurance and taxes while I was gone) but worth every dollar we put on our credit card because of it. Baby was 4 weeks early, milk was slow to come in, I had a uterine infection and mastitis 4 times so I ended up needing that extra time.
When I returned to work, my discretely packaged pump went with me. Closing my door to pump every three hours in an office full of men was a challange. My boss actually used his key to gain entry on the second day (after I had just told him what I was going in there to do). I made a humerous clip art sign showing a crying baby riding a cow to put on my door from then on. I guess "Please do not disturb" wasn't clear enough.
For nine months, I hauled that thing back and forth to work. Three times a day faded to two, then finally just once. I looked at that black bag with contempt, disdain, fatigue and at times as sweet salvation.
And now, two weeks before her first birthday - Susan seems only marginally still interested in nursing just before bed. She has 4 pearly white teeth (two on the bottom and two on the top) and I am just fine with her preference for the sippy cup.
If I was a Mom that could be at home with my baby I would probably feel more apprehension to weaning. Nursing her (finally) became easy and quick and a great time to force myself to slow down. Not much multitasking can be done while feeding the baby.
For once in my life I am leaving this experience without a shred of guilt. There is no voice in my head saying "you could have done more". I feel genuinely good about the whole thing. For once I was not swayed by social pressures, well-meaning family members or socio-econimic limitations.
So, goodbye to my pump. May it rest in peace until the next time.