Before River was born, I purchased a night away for Mark and I in early March. I thought I’d start pumping early and that two months would be plenty of time to store up enough supply for a night away.
Two months after her birth and one week before our scheduled escape, I haven’t pumped once.
My excuse is that I’ve been waiting for the thrush to go away. I didn’t want to infect the equipment, nor did I want to add the time it takes to pump to my to-do list.
The signs of thrush are beginning to diminish and I’m hopeful we are getting better. Yet I still find myself reluctant to pump. Looking at the big blue box, which looks like it might contain a construction worker’s tools, I’m brought back to what inspired the purchase – nine days away from River with a defective pump, during which I lost a good deal of my milk supply.
Thinking I’d be on “vacation” away from him, instead I set my alarm for every two hours at night, pored over the internet looking for ideas on how to increase supply, and finally contacted a local hospital and rented a hospital-grade pump for a few days. I felt miserable, desperate, as though I was failing him, despite the fact that I rationally knew then, and still know now, that not breastfeeding him is not the end of the world. Though I managed to continue breastfeeding another 3-4 months, I felt I was just hobbling along for that period, getting him a bit each day, but not much more. I thought I’d screwed things up.
This time I find myself frightened to do anything that will mess with my supply. As long as she gets all of her milk from breastfeeding, I’ll make enough and she’ll get enough. Once I start pumping and there is milk in the freezer, whoever is caring for her may turn quickly to a frozen pack, whereas now, there is no choice but wait until I return. I’m scared to mess with the cycle, for fear that I’ll goof things up again.
I have no choice but to pump, eventually. I’ll have to start a supply that can be used when I return to work. Since it looks like we may be traveling for about a month shortly before I go, it’s probably a good idea to start building that supply soon.
Nevertheless, I’m hesitant. I don’t want to do it. As much as I’d like to get away and have a bit of a life, for now, I’m OK with carting her along with me and being available to her. Just as we are maybe, hopefully, coming towards the end of a long battle to get breastfeeding on track, I’m scared to do anything that will throw it off again.
Which may mean that Willow will accompany us on our anniversary night away.