Monday, May 21, 2012

No more pumping!

I have been given the go ahead by our pediatrician to start giving whole milk in June, so I have two more weeks of pumping, then I am done for good! I'll keep breastfeeding for as long as she wants it or around 18 months, whichever comes first, so I won't be saying goodbye to that just yet. But I refuse to touch that pump ever again.

Things I'll miss about pumping:

1) Automatic excuse to disappear in the middle of the day at work

2) Get to eat whatever I want, yet still had calculated BMI of 18 at last doctor's appointment

Um, I think that's it.

Things I absolutely won't miss about pumping:

1) Always having to do it every day, no matter how crazy busy I am at work

2) Trying to figure out how to pump at conferences (especially fun when power goes out on entire block)

3) Having to carry the pump everywhere

4) Realizing I'm at work and forgot pump at home

5) Storing and transferring pumped milk to bottles

6) Drinking constantly yet still always being dehydrated

7) Waking up 30 minutes early every day to pump

I met my goal of pumping for a whole year. I didn't meet my goal of not supplementing with formula, thanks to unexpected mold growth on my breast pump tubing, but I'm not crying over it. I only used two cans total the whole year. And as I've said before, I don't think there's actually anything wrong with formula.

My older daughter self-weaned at one year, but I have a feeling it's going to be harder to do the final weaning this time. This one is mega clingy... her first word was "mama," and if I'm home, she refuses to be held by anyone else. But I'm not going to worry about that until the winter.


  1. First off, I have to say that I have enjoyed this blog being a medical professional considering starting a family. Fizzy, I have enjoyed your posts and have learned a lot and have been given a lot to think about on different topics.

    However, I do have a complaint not related directly to the theme of this post so I apologize. I am concerned about the presentation of low weight/BMI especially by a female physician.

    In several posts you have mentioned being small/having a low BMI and not gaining a lot of weight or showing a lot during pregnancy. While this may be normal or healthy for you personally, this does not follow the general guidelines recommended to the public. Having a BMI under 18.5 is considered underweight and not gaining enough weight during pregnancy can have serious repercussions. Obviously being a physician you know this but I feel that it is being presented as being something to be proud of or looked on as a positive.

    I am greatly in support of promoting healthy weights and healthy living habits. I do think women have enough stress dealing with pregnancy and new motherhood and working that we need to encourage a healthy body image. I feel that some of your references to weight/BMI could lean more towards a negative boday image--even if this isn't true for you personally.

    FYI- I am a normal/healthy BMI for my height and do not have an eating disorder but have close family that have struggled with this.

    1. You say you're concerned.... what are you concerned about? That I'm glorifying being skinny? I don't think I am. I mentioned my BMI in a post about McD's only as proof that I am not obese from fast food... I don't think I was glorifying it. And I mentioned it in this post just to show how crazy it is that I'm eating a lot yet still not gaining weight... I mean, it IS nice to be able to eat whatever you want and not worry about your weight. I don't think that's a point of contention. But I was being a little facetious... I don't want to be very underweight... I even went to my pcp for bloodwork (normal) b/c I was concerned about my weight dropping. That is way beyond the scope of this post though.

      I'm not anorexic, believe me. I'll tell you, not a week goes by that someone at work doesn't criticize me for eating too much. "I don't understand how you eat so much and still are so skinny. I hate you." I am constantly eating, trying to keep up with my body's needs, while trying to eat healthy at the same time. And all I get is criticized. If people think I'm not offended just because it's "good" to be skinny, they're wrong. Nobody wants to be criticized for their weight, high or low, or have people comment on how much/little they're eating. It's obnoxious.

      During my pregnancy, I gained very little weight because I was violently nauseous for half the pregnancy and mildly nauseous for the second half. I mentioned on this blog that I gained very little weight only to highlight the fact that I didn't think I had GD, not to glorify my small weight gain. And after GD testing was negative, I was still made to feel like I wasn't allowed to eat sweets, which was the only thing I was able to keep down. I did give birth to a 7 lb 5 ounce baby though (and my first was 8 pounds), so no harm done there. Certainly I didn't intend to imply that being too ill to eat much through all of your pregnancy is glorious and something to aspire to, if that's what you took away from it. I was pretty unhappy about it at the time. I certainly wasn't bragging about not being allowed to eat and my OB/GYN making me cry by threatening to restrict my diet. I remember sobbing to my husband that the doctor was going to force me to starve to death. I *wanted* to eat.

      I'm not sure why, as women, we need to be obsessed with other people's weights. I always thought it was because I was thin that people feel a license to comment, but women who are overweight say they also get comments on what they eat. It's honestly not clear to me why you felt that you had to make a comment on my weight. Every time I mentioned my weight, it was to illustrate a point and certainly not to "brag" or say that a BMI of 18 is something everyone should aspire to. I'm not sure where you got that from.

    2. Fizzy, I would agree with RHM that, regardless of your intent, your comment on your BMI didn't work very well. I also agree with RHM that this is a great site and you have a lot of wonderful insights. But, like RHM, I have noticed that you are pretty proud of being skinny, it comes up a lot, and you listed having a BMI of 18 as a benefit of pumping (which may or may not change when you stop). The post would have been better without it.

      You point out in your reply that being obsessed with other people's weight is a major issue. I would say your frequent mentioning of your own weight reflects an obsession with weight that doesn't add value to your otherwise valuable posts. I think if you read your own posts carefully you may see that you do indeed make being skinny a part of who you are, think about it a lot, and even possibly 'brag' about it a little. Maybe that isn't true-- but it is certainly what comes across, so alternatively, you might want to rethink how you talk about weight so it doesn't make your readers uncomfortable.

    3. HH: I'm just examining your claim about my "frequent mentioning of [my] weight". I'm looking at all the posts I've written on MiM in 2012:

      1) McDonald's is (un)healthy: Mentioned I had a BMI of 20 in that post, which is what I thought at the time. I actually don't *own* a scale and only found out the truth at a doctor's appointment. I was a little shocked, to be honest... I'd prefer to weigh about 10 pounds more.

      2) Asking for examples of being a bad mom -- no mention of weight

      3) Ann Rosen and her SAHM comments -- no mention of weight

      4) 3 months is not long enough for maternity leave -- no mention of weight

      5) When breastmilk isn't best -- no mention of weight, even though this would have been a perfect opportunity

      6) Reasons to have a baby in residency -- no mention of weight

      7) Conjunctivitis stinks -- no mention of weight

      8) Choosing baby names -- no mention of weight

      9) Deciding to have 3 kids or not -- no mention of weight

      10) A drawing my daughter made of a doctor -- no mention of weight

      11) Should you tell your kid you're a blogger -- no mention of weight

      12) Whether to embark on a research project -- no mention of weight

      13) Stress of having two small kids -- no mention of weight

      14) Ode to birth control -- no mention of weight

      Wow. That's 14 posts spanning 6 months, only one of which mentions weight. (I could go back further, but I'm pretty sure I haven't mentioned it any other time, aside from my GD in pregnancy posts.) So am I actually mentioning my weight all the time and obsessing over it? Or is that just a perception that overly sensitive people have?

      I did mention it in two consecutive recent posts, so maybe that's the issue. However, once it was to make a point that fast food isn't the end of the world, and once as an offhand "jokey" comment about how it's nice to be able to eat a lot while breastfeeding. The post was not in any way, shape, or form about my weight. Does that really count as an obsession?

    4. Btw, I just told this whole story to my husband (he won't actually read MiM) and this was his male wisdom:

      "You know women are all really sensitive about weight. Of course they're going to get upset if you say that you're eating whatever you want and not gaining weight, especially women who are breastfeeding and still gaining weight. So you just shouldn't say that again."

      Perhaps my issue is that I don't think much about weight at all. I don't own a scale b/c I don't think about what I weigh and only find out at doctor's appts. It sometimes doesn't occur to me that it *is* an issue for a lot of people, so an offhand comment I make may be taken the wrong way.

      To illustrate this point, at a PCP appt I had a few weeks ago, I told my doctor that I wished I'd stop losing weight, and she said, "Don't say that in my waiting room. The patients will murder you."

      (For the record, I still think my comment was very innocent and blown way out of proportion. Every time I write anything here, I'm told it was somehow insensitive and should be written some other way. Can't please everyone.)

    5. Fizzy -- If you don't want women to hate you, never ever say, "I can eat anything I want and I still only have a BMI of 18."

      That being said, I can totally relate to the sentiment that pumping to exclusively breastfeed means I can consume an extra 500 (at least) calories per day. It's basically the only reason I'm back at my pre-pregnancy weight, and the only reason I haven't had to buy a new wardrobe post-baby. In order to burn that much by exercising, I'd have to run 5 miles per day. Thank you Medela!

      And I realize this will probably make me unpopular, but I don't think there's anything wrong with feeling like your appearance is part of your identity. It's one of those things you're not supposed to say because it might make someone who is heavier or less pretty feel bad.... but then everywhere you look there will always be someone prettier or thinner or smarter or richer. Rather than pounce on someone for saying they're happy about being trim (and really, who WOULDN'T be happy about this), have a little self confidence and realize that just because another woman is pretty or thin or smart or whatever doesn't mean that you're not awesome also.

    6. OMDG: It's so true about BFing and weight loss. I just overheard a conversation at work expressing that sentiment. I didn't realize it was so controversial or made me obsessed with my weight ;) But seriously, I'd say most personal blogs by women mention their weight a LOT. So I guess it's something all women think about, to some extent.

      I suppose being thin is part of my identity as much as my eye color or being short. But all these superficial things are kind of background compared with my hair. I could literally keep a whole blog just about my hair. I won't, but I could!

  2. Congratulations! (Both on finishing pumping and achieving your goal of a year)

    I will be starting medical school in August and my daughter will be 3 months old. She (and I) didn't take to nursing so I've been exclusively pumping and then bottle-feeding her breastmilk (so far, no formula needed) Any ideas about how to continue successfully? My goal, ideally, is to postpone using formula until she is 6 months old.


    1. You're probably not going to love my answer: I think you shouldn't go crazy worrying about pumping and consider switching to formula. I know a few women who pumped without nursing and they also found it pretty miserable and quit early. Granted, there are health benefits, but if you're pumping, you miss out on the bonding... and you *lose* time with your baby due to pumping. Half the reason I was pumping was to maintain my supply for nursing.

      Don't hate me for saying this... it's up to you, of course. But considering it won't even be cold and flu season yet, you should analyze how much benefit your baby will get from breastmilk vs. how much stress it will cause you and how much it will detract from your time with the baby.

    2. Fizzy, your answer here is right on the money! Liz, your baby already has gotten most of the value of breast feeding. Remember that all the breast feeding studies are retrospective and don't control for all sorts of things, so the value of breast feeding is way over stated (even though it is a good thing for many reasons and should be encouraged). Do what works for making your life livable, and if it doesn't include pumping, having a lower stress life is way more important to your baby's health. And yours.

    3. Fizzy, and hh, THANK YOU!

      Every time I speak to someone ( a whole bunch of my friends are having babies this summer/ just had a baby this year) and I mention not nursing I get a "you are an awful mom/how can you do that to your child/i pity you" look....partnered with all the studies and benefits stressed by the lactation specialists at the hospital, I was pretty much convinced that pumping was the only way to go to have a healthy/smart/non-scarred forever child.

    4. I think one of the most important things you can learn to do as a mother is, when you get unsolicited advice / disapproval, say thank you sincerely and then just ignore whatever it is they say. Each baby is different and you need to figure out your own way. The thing I am most grateful for is that we found a pediatrician who was flexible and relaxed and encouraged us to follow what felt right to us (within some reason).

  3. You forgot - or perhaps were fortunate so as to never discover the pain of - clogged ducts.

    1. I didn't forget, but I suspect I'll get to continue enjoying clogged ducts until I wean completely.

  4. Congrats on 1 year of pumping! I did the same and I agree with your comments about things you will/will not miss about it. There actually was something zen about getting to sit in a quiet room and pump during my work day. It was an escape. It also used to give me protected time to call my husband and check in on the baby. I do not miss having to pump early in the morning, or when traveling, or when I came home late and the baby already had a bottle. At 4 months I thought there was no way I would make it to 6, but I'm proud that I ended up going the whole year.
    Read my post about it on my blog:

  5. "Hey, good job working hard to provide nutritious breastmilk for the sake of your baby's health for a whole year!" That says it all :-)

  6. I'm almost there! My son turns one in October and I'm looking forward to hanging up that pump. It's almost dead anyways, from the year of pumping with my first son two years ago. And about the weight thing, I'm so glad that I'm not the only one with the "underweight BMI" thing. When I was 20lbs heavier, I looked heavy, and I was at the appropriate weight for my height. What do I say to people who say "you're too skinny" or "how did you loose your baby weight so fast!?" etc. I usually just shrug and say I don't know. any ways. I'm almost done with the pump! :D


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