UPDATED 5/14/12 (see end)

Conceiving Clara was a struggle. She was so wanted, and I enjoyed carrying her immensely. My plans for her infancy included organic food, BPA-free bottles and pacis, minimal chemicals in the house, etc.  But perhaps because it's somewhat taboo in the deep south, I wasn't that excited about breastfeeding her. I planned to "give it a try" because I had no legitimate reason not to, and knew it was best if you could make it work... Almost nine months later, she hasn't had a drop of formula, and I've shocked myself by becoming a real proponent for nursing.

We had it easy from the start, and maybe I wouldn't have lasted this long if we hadn't. She never had latch problems and I never had infections or pain beyond the first few days (lansinoh lanolin got me through that thankfully short time).  She was born at a pro-breastfeeding hospital where we had lots of support from immediately after birth through the check-up two days after we checked out.

She was born on a Thursday and my milk came in the following Monday. The only struggle we've ever had was then, because I was too engorged for her to get any milk out. I didn't have a pump yet, and had to hand-express to loosen things up for her to latch on.  That situation resolved quickly, and by 2 weeks of age, when breastfed babies were expected to have returned to their birth weight, Clara had gained 1 pound and 5 ounces over her birth weight of 6 pounds. All on mommy's milk.

We first gave her a bottle (Born Free - only kind we've ever tried) around 7 weeks. She took to it like there was nothing strange about it, and switched back and forth from breast to bottle with no hesitation.

By 9 weeks old, she had doubled her birth weight. Most babies triple their weight the first year.

I returned to work when she was almost 3 months old, and have had the same pumping schedule since that time: 6:30 am - pump one side after she nurses from the other; 10:30 and 2:30 - pump both sides at work; 11:30 pm - pump both sides.  (She sleeps from about 6:15 pm to 6:00 am. On weekdays, I feed her one side when she wakes up in the mornings, and both sides before she goes to bed at nights.)  I have a Medela PISA and a locking, private office. Pumping at work has not been a big deal at all.  The only people who seem mildly embarrassed by it are non-nursing mothers who buzz me when I get a phone call while pumping.

I use Lansinoh storage bags (best price: Amazon subscribe & save) and figured out how to rig them to be hands-free with a paperclip. We bought a deep freezer on sale from Best Buy for the excess. Scott defrosts milk for her daily and I put the new pumped milk in the freezer.  The milk will stay good for 6 months in the deep freezer. 

My original nursing goal was a half-hearted 6 months, really expecting to quit before I returned to work at 3 months. Once I started enjoying it so much and seeing Clara thrive like she has, the goal became for her to have breastmilk for a year (= no formula; straight to cow's milk) and quitting nursing as soon as we had enough frozen milk to get us that far. We now have a stockpile of 2 months worth of milk at the rate she's drinking now (which should decrease soon). I just dropped one pumping session at work and will drop the other work session and the nighttime session over the coming month.  I will just be nursing Clara twice a day (first thing in the morning and before bed) for the last couple of months of her first year.

ever wonder what 2000 ounces of frozen milk looks like?

I'm definitely getting as much out of nursing as Clara is, thanks especially to the at-work pumping sessions that keep me feeling connected to her during the (boring, dreadful work-) day.  She's ridiculously healthy and thriving - not even catching our colds.  Scott has been so supportive with cleaning pump parts and such, though he was creeped out the first time he touched a warm bag of fresh milk. HA!

Anyway, if you're on the fence, you should definitely give it a try. And if I can help you in any way or answer any questions, please feel free to ask :)


I dropped my two remaining pumping sessions recently, and am now just nursing Clara twice a day (first thing in the morning and before bed). My supply has been fine*. I have noticed my appetite decrease and maybe a little delayed post-partum hair loss. No period yet, but I'm not surprised by that considering my history of ovulatory problems.

(* I am still pumping at each session if she doesn't drain both sides)

It's strange not pumping at work. I miss that connection to Clara during the day. It's going to be hard to quit altogether in the next month or so.

my co-workers gave me these new "hooters"
when I quit pumping at work

At 10.5 months, Clara's down to milk four times a day. She has solids 2-3 times a day. We have enough frozen milk to last for maybe 3-4 months at this rate, even if I totally weaned right now.  Good thing you can keep it in a deep freeze for up to 12 months (the quality declines a bit after 6 months, but it's still the next best thing to fresher breastmilk).


I completely quit nursing and pumping a month ago, when Clara was 12.5 months old and my supply had dropped after nursing only once a day for awhile. Weaning was so very gradual that it wasn't traumatic for either of us. She now takes all of her milk from a straw cup (3-4 times a day).  I donated 300 ounces to the Austin Milk Bank (more on that here), and she still has about two months' worth in our deep freezer. We'll start mixing in organic cow's milk when the supply is a couple of weeks or so from running out.

It's funny -- friends with newborns now call me for advice like I am some sort of lactation expert because I breastfed Clara for "so long."  The experience was one of the great joys of my life and something I am so proud of.


Clara had her last breastmilk today. We'd been mixing organic whole cow's milk with DHA with her breastmilk for awhile, sometimes giving her an entire cup of one or the other. She switched back and forth fine. I was sad when I quit pumping, sad when I quit nursing, and am now sad her supply is gone. I'm half expecting her to suddenly come down with a cold (would be her first), though I know 12.5 months of all breastmilk and 3 more months of some breastmilk gave her a healthy foundation that will last.

Thankfully she still lets me hold her while she drinks her first morning milk, so she's not totally grown yet. Quiet and sleepy (both of us), it's my favorite time of day.