I shed a tear today for myself, my daughter, and my empty chest freezer. You see our chest freezer held one of the most important things…they call it liquid gold, or breast milk, or as my daughter calls it Mmmmm. (She also makes the baby sign language gesture for it.) I had a difficult time breastfeeding. My daughter didn’t have a tongue or lip tie, but something was keeping her from latching on and staying on. I saw lactation consultant’s and had experienced breastfeeding mom’s come to see if they could help. I wore a canteen contraption around my neck that had tubes that went from the canteen to my nipples that held breast milk so that she would associate my boobs as the place food came from. We did the canteen/tubes for almost 3 weeks before I got so tired from trying to breastfeed and pumping afterwards so she would have milk for the next feeding just in case she didn’t latch on again. We even took my daughter for cranial sacral therapy. She loved the therapy and after the third visit did latch on a couple of times, but she still wouldn’t stay latched on. I give my husband so much credit. He held me close whenever I would break down crying because she wasn’t latching on, and he told me it was ok and held me again when we decided that maybe it was time to try a bottle.
Our daughter had no problems using a bottle. She eventually found out it was easier and quicker to get milk from the bottle so she stopped even trying to latch on. I cried. I spent a while a little jealous of her bottles. So I pumped, and I pumped. Every 2 hours, then ever 2-3 hours, and as she got older ever 3 hours, 3-4 hours, etc. I double pumped. Since she would not latch on their was no way I was going to let her run out of milk. 1 year I said. That was my goal. 1 year of breast milk. So I pumped. First I filled up our upstairs freezer. Approx. 1,120 oz of milk. When there was no more room upstairs I had my husband go buy a chest freezer, and I kept pumping. I was going to make it to a year. Then I filled up the 5 cu ft chest freezer and my freezer upstairs. I approximated I had about 3,000 oz of milk in the deep chest freezer and the 1,120 oz in the upstairs freezer. I was getting tired of pumping. So I took 2 months, slowed down, and had to tell my self that I had done it. She had enough. So eventually I weaned myself off pumping when my daughter was 8 months.
Then there was no more fresh breast milk. Only frozen. My stash slowly started to dwindle. A couple of weeks and a grocery bag full of milk was gone. Then another. Slowly. Next thing I know my upstairs freezer was empty of breast milk. I then moved up some milk from the chest freezer. One bag at a time. Now I am staring at the last grocery bag of breast milk in the chest freezer that I am about to bring up to the upstairs freezer.
I don’t think we are going to make it to her 1st birthday a month away. So I shed a tear, but it’s ok. I tried. I worked hard and should not feel bad. For all of those mama’s out there who have had problems breastfeeding I feel you. It’s not easy, and it’s very emotional. One thing I learned though is that even if you are not breastfeeding your child at the breast, but are bottle feeding and even formula feeding you are still nursing your child. You are still holding them close and supplying them with sustenance and love. You are amazing, awesome, strong, and beautiful. Your child loves you and you are their world. So if any one asks you if you are nursing your child you can say yes.
Now I need to come up with ideas of what to put in the empty freezer. I am sure if I ask my husband he already has a couple of ideas. 🙂