Like many things in life, my relationship with my breast pump has been love/hate. I love that it brought my milk in when my little preemies were too small to even consider nursing. I love that it gave me colostrum, then milk, to feed to my angels via tube in the NICU. I love that, when the babies refused to learn to nurse, it allowed me to continue giving them my milk for many months. But I hated pumping.
I cannot say I enjoyed anything about the actual act of pumping. Being tied to a machine multiple times a day was difficult. I so wanted to use the little down-time I had to nap, shower, or just be selfish. And it never felt natural. While I can see how nursing a baby would be a beautiful bonding experience, I never saw that beauty as I stared down at this strange looking machine.
After 9.5 months, I am packing the pump away. Although I feel a little guilty that I didn't go longer, I'm also incredibly proud of myself. In the early days, I would set a goal and write it on the whiteboard on our refrigerator. Many times these goals were only 10 or so days out...I didn't want to set myself up to fail, and I was unsure that I could make it even another week. I wanted to quit so badly at 2 months, and almost gave in at 4, but I held my secret ultimate goal of 6 months in my heart. With my husband's support, I made it to that 6 month mark, and then 3 plus more months.
Now, I can say with a bit of confidence that it's the right time to put the pump away. We have lots of frozen milk, so we're weaning the twins to an all formula diet slowly, and I am sure they will continue to thrive. So I will return my rented pump tomorrow, with both celebration and hesitation, thankful for the gift it gave my twins.