I feel surprisingly emotional about it; I'm much more emotional than I thought I would be. In the beginning, I hated it. But now that I'm able to step back from my experience with a little perspective, step back from pumping every three hours while they were in the NICU, and from pumping for the first three months that they were home, and from the frustration I felt from having to use the nipple shields, I realize that my experience was not exactly typical. I'll bet most people don't hate it as much as I did at first. Once the babies grew (and more importantly, their little mouths grew) everything just sort of fell into place. At first, I was all, "You have got to be some kind of masochist to enjoy this. Who are these women? It's the worst kind of torture I can imagine!" And then I was more, "Hey! I can do this! This is easy! This is nice. I get it!" I've learned some things from this experience; to give myself a little credit when I deserve it, and also to be kind to myself. I allowed myself to hate it in the beginning, and I allowed myself to supplement with formula, too, without feeling guilty about any of it (on most days). I muddled through the postpartum and managed to nurse premature twins for 8 1/2 months. That's something!
Which is why I'm so sad that I had to stop. Those first few months of pumping really gave the babies a *taste* of how easy it is to drink from a bottle. Charlotte never really loved nursing. From the start, she would only want to nurse on occasion, when she was in the mood and when I really had a good supply to offer. (This has given me a little insight as to what she's going to be like as a teenager). Gavin was a little more willing, but now that he has four teeth, he thinks it's really a lot of fun to bite. I've tried all the tricks: pulling him off, sternly saying "NO!", not allowing him to nurse for a few minutes. He thinks it's all funny. Like: "Look at Mommy! She's trying Tough Love! Isn't she hysterical? I'm going to bite her again to see what she'll do next!"
So, between Charlotte arching her back and screaming almost every time I try to nurse (which does nothing for my milk supply, causing her to want to nurse even less) and Gavin using me as a teething ring (ditto on the milk supply) I realized that I would either have to quit or pump every few hours to rebuild my supply. And quite honestly, the thought of pumping again after doing it for four months solid was, well, less than appealing.
So I stopped.
But I really wasn't ready. I wanted to continue at least through the winter, and I honestly thought I'd nurse them for even longer. It just wasn't in the cards.
Times they are a-changin'.