This morning I woke up when Harlow started crying at around 6:30am. I picked her up out of her crib and changed her diaper in the hallway, because I didn't want to wake Mazzy by changing her in their room. Harlow was fussing and I knew the one thing I could do to calm her down. After her diaper was secured, I scooped her up and breastfed right there in the hallway on the floor.
I'm not producing nearly as much milk these days. I've got one boob that's doing the majority of the work and the other one is cheering from the sidelines. "You can do it, left boob! It's up to you to keep the baby alive! I'm rooting for you!"
We started supplementing with formula at about six months. Harlow doesn't seem to notice a difference. She drinks from a bottle all day while I'm at work anyway. Sometimes pumped milk, sometimes formula, sometimes a combination of both.
When I get home, Harlow often refuses my breast. Even the left one. I think the flow of milk isn't as fast as she would like. She's refused it so often, I've stopped trying. It used to upset me but I'm over it. Mazzy did the same thing at around her age. I think it's just one of the hazards of being a working mom.
So, in the evenings, even though my boobs are right there for the taking, I just feed her a bottle. Usually, Harlow is tired and doesn't drink the whole thing, so I always use formula for that feed. I don't want the good stuff to go to waste.
I used to pump four times a day. Once right before I left for work. Twice at work. And then once at night after Harlow went to bed. I'm not sure if I stopped pumping as often because I'm making less milk or I stopped making as much milk because I stopped pumping as often.
I do know that the whole pumping thing is getting pretty exhausting. As much as I kinda like taking a ten minue break from my work day to check facebook and scroll through instagram, if I have to clean that pump one more time I am going to scream.
Ironically, I think it was our vacation that slowed my milk production. I breastfed a lot more when I was around Harlow for the entire day. But that meant I pumped less which ultimately lessened my supply.
In any case, I'm down to one feed in the morning and two pumps per day. The bottles are laughably small. So small, I'm not even sure my milk is adding enough health benefits to continue.
But I breastfed Mazzy for a year and I am determined to do the same for Harlow.
Well, it's not all for Harlow. Part of me knows that the reason I've been able to go this long without exercising is because producing milk burns calories. Part of me also knows that the reason my boobs don't look like deflated pancakes waving at me from the floor, is because they've still got a bit of milk in them.
So, I keep up with my routine. But there is definitely a part of me wondering who I am doing this for.
That is, until those moments, when I'm feeding on the floor at 6am in the hallway with Harlow cradled in my arms. She doesn't lie like that for me in any other situation. And since sleep training, I no longer fall asleep with her in bed.
It's like breastfeeding helps me feel like a still have my little baby.
Last night I went out to dinner with a friend of mine who brought along her six week-old, held against her body in a sling. She seemed so tiny. So much smaller than the little girl I tote casually on one hip. The one who rides front facing in the stroller and can stand on her own two feet without holding on to anything.
This is my last baby.
Although, this past weekend, I went through my closet to get rid of clothes and free up some space. Without thinking, I separated the clothes into two piles. One for the clothes I no longer wear and one for my maternity clothes.
For some reason, I'm not ready to get rid of them. I put the maternity clothes in a bag back in my closet.
Just like I'm not ready to give away the clothes Harlow is quickly outgrowing. With Mazzy, I saved everything for our next kid. Giving away Harlow's clothes, never to be seen again, seems like a momumental decision.
I'm not ready to stop breastfeeding either. Even if I make only a few ounces of milk a day.
That moment in the morning, when Mike and Mazzy are both still sleeping and Harlow and I are tethered together in a way that only a mother and child can be…
That moment is mine. Ours.