I like nursing. For a mother who does not enjoy food preparation it really is ideal. Hungry infant? Pop the babe on a nipple and your problem is solved. It also provides instant comfort for a frightened, hurt, or just plain cranky little one.
What I do not like is pumping. Pumping is both less efficient and more painful than nursing, not to mention the need to lug my pump to work. When I nurse I get to snuggle by baby. When I pump these days I overhear depressing conversations of people whom I have repeatedly told that I can hear them over the sound of pump. Conversations that I should not be overhearing given what is going on at work, and ones that lead me to draw certain unfavorable conclusions, but given that I have informed the people having the conversations and three levels of my management there is clearly no more I can reasonably do about that. When I stop I will not miss pumping.
Duncan will be turning 2 in less than two weeks. I don’t know of any other mother who works outside the home who has nursed (and pumped for) a child as long as I have. I don’t think I’m the only one, and while I have a few friends who have nursed kids past the age of two, those moms all stay home with their kids. As far as I know all my working mom friends stopped nursing by the time their baby turned 1. I’m really glad to have made it this far, and Duncan certainly loves his “nursies”.
The problem with the nursies is that my body does not seem to want to multi-task so well. When I was pregnant last summer my supply dropped, but it rebounded a fair bit once I had the D&E. Now my supply has dropped dramatically, and with the embryo still in there it doesn’t look like it’s going to recover. Pumping is demoralizing. I got one ounce for the whole day on Friday. The nursies are clearly unsatisfying to Duncan. He’ll climb onto my lap, pat my chest and demand “Nursies,” but after a few minutes of sucking he’ll lose interest, but woe betide me if I try to put the boob away. It’s frustrating to me and I’m sure it’s even more frustrating to him. Luckily his intake of solid food has picked up dramatically, though as ever we are concerned as to whether or not he’s getting enough calories each day. I’ve taken to offering solid foods when he asks for nursies, and sometimes he takes me up on that. Of course sometimes he demands things we don’t have. I’d love to feed him BBQ ribs every morning for breakfast, but that’s really not in the food budget. I don’t have any plans to wean him, but it may just be in the process of happening anyway. At least he doesn’t have to go cold turkey the way Margaret did when I started the IVF cycle that resulted in Duncan.