If you want to read more about the early part of my journey and what helped me, check out this post.
This time around I weaned off the pump a little shy of six months. I had a lot of different reasons for doing so, including the fact that I was pumping 3 times a day for 30-60 minutes a piece. The time commitment while juggling an infant, a 4 year old, and a husband with a demanding job was starting to be a lot. Couple that with the fact that my supply started to dip (I’m talking 2 ounces for 45 minutes of pumping towards the end), I just started to question how much longer I could/wanted to go on.
Because I was experienced with pumping and its effect on my mental health, I knew that it wasn’t worth compromising myself. I believe happy mama = happy family, and that meant taking my state of being into consideration.
I was asked on IG to talk about weaning off the pump while pushing away guilt, and I will say it’s hard. To this day I question my decision (even though I know it was the right one for me). The best piece of advice I have is to focus on what you need versus what everyone else did/is doing. If you go down the path of ‘XYZ pumped/breastfed for X long,’ guilt will forever be your sidekick. FED IS BEST and formula is NOT the devil. Your baby needs you to be ok. Period.
With that being said, I was able to fully wean off the pump in 10 or so days. I basically counted back from when I expected my last day to be, and started decreasing the time of my middle session by a few minutes. And then three days later, I started decreasing the time of my 1st and 3rd session by a few minutes. Then I decreased the time of my middle session for a few days, and so forth and so on until I felt like I could go all day without pumping without feeling uncomfortable.
I will say, it was a little surprising and sad to see some milk still leaking through a week after weaning. It made me feel guilty and like a bad mom for stopping. But then I’d actively change the narrative to ‘I’m a great mom for my baby. I love her and am doing what’s best for her by doing what’s best for me.’
I will also say that now that EPing is forever behind me, I feel a sense of freedom. I feel like I can use my time more strategically. I’m not as stressed and reactive and demanding and pushy. I feel like I’m sleeping better, making more time for exercise consistently, etc.
Do I sometimes wish I had continued EPing for a little longer? Sure. But then I take one good look at Mila and see a growing, thriving, beautiful baby who is so excited to see me all day everyday, and all those doubts go away.
Bottom line – listen to your gut and know that any decision you make on behalf of your mental, emotional, and physical health will only serve your baby too.