This post is part of the breastfeeding blog hop over at Life With Levi. Check it out!

I thought I’d seen the last of my trusty ol’ pump back in September 2010. But then my company sent me to New Orleans for a conference, and I was gone for 3 nights/4 days, requiring me to reunite with my pump.

It didn’t go well.

Fortunately, I wasn’t pumping to save the milk for Jax, as he’d given up drinking expressed milk ages ago (I have no idea why). I was merely pumping to maintain my supply while we were apart for so long for the first time ever, in case Jax wanted to pick up where we left off upon my return (I wasn’t sure if he’d wean while I was away).

But no matter when I pumped in New Orleans or for how long, I could barely get more than 2 ounces at a time, from both breasts combined. Ouch. I had even relied on playing a slide show of photos of Jax while I pumped, which was my trick back when I pumped daily at work. I couldn’t understand it–my supply was excellent, so why was I going up to 10 hours at a time and then getting only 1-2 ounces?! Mind-boggling, right?

I started to worry that maybe my supply wasn’t what I thought it’d been for all this time. Maybe Jax is barely getting anything. How would I even know if this were the case? His speech isn’t exactly eloquent enough at 22 months to say, “Yo mom! Where’s all the milk?” My mommy guilt reared its ugly head–is this why he’s so skinny? He nurses all the time, but is he just not getting enough? Oh, the questions!

Then it dawned on me that my body shouldn’t be expected to respond to the pump, having not pumped in 9 months. Surely that’s the reason, right? And not that my supply is practically gone?

Jax shows no indication of wanting to wean. He is still obsessed with “nummies.” So I guess my supply is fine or he’s using nursing as comfort, rather than as nourishment.

Oh, breastfeeding. Even when it’s easy, there are always challenges and questions. But I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

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11 Comments

  1. So WOW – kudos for you for even trying to pump. I was so not a big fan and I just assumed that we’d wean when I went away to DC for 3 days in June. Em was a huge fan of Milkies until she was 27 months and I really never thought she would wean. Just a little encouragement and being kind to myself for wanting to stop helped a lot. I’m so proud of you for being a working mom and nursing this long. Its tough, I know.

  2. I had a similar thing happen. I stopped pumping during the day but kept breastfeeding at home and a few months later needed to pump for some reason. I got maybe, a quarter of an ounce? MAYBE? When I was pumping daily I would get 6 or more on the best days. I knew my supply was still fine and I could even hand-express plenty out but when hooked up to the pump… nothin.

    Just goes to show we really have to train our bodies to respond to the pump, you can’t just plop it on there once and expect it to do magic. Crazy!

  3. love this and the blog hop! will be reading more tonight!

    i pump at work and rarely get any! 3oz combined… :( never have gotten much more than that!

  4. It is definitely a pump issue, and your body not being used to pumping. I could barely pump an ounce last time I tried but when Sebastian nurses on one side the other one floods. If I nurse without a pad in place on the opposite breast, I have to change shirts.

    I am so glad that I don’t have to pump regularly. Moms who do it are rockstars.

  5. So I take it that you and Jax were able to pick up where you left off? I have two overnight trips this fall and am so worried about leaving my nursling.

    • Yup, we definitely picked up where we left off, plus some. He nursed a bit more frequently those first few days. I bet you will experience the same thing too!

    • Yup, Jax and I are still nursing. I’m starting to refuse him a little in the middle of the night. I feel like I need to cut back a little bit. He’s in this phase of nursing like a newborn–ever since I got home from my New Orleans trip.

  6. Even if you’re output is down, he is still getting what he needs from you, mama. You are an inspiration.

  7. It’s true that your body doesn’t respond the same way to the pump as it does to your baby. I think it’s awesome that you tried to maintain your supply while you were away so you could keep on nursing when you got back.

    Darn business trips getting in the way, right? lol.

    Thanks for linking up to this week’s hop. I hope you’ll join in this upcoming Thursday when we talk about Breastfeeding and Body Changes.

    • Hi Jen! Thanks for hosting the blog hop! It’s great, and I’m sure I’ll be back again & again.

      I spoke to a LLL leader who told me that the meager amounts I pumped while away were actually pretty decent for someone nursing a toddler & who hasn’t pumped in so long. Interesting…

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