Weaning from the Pump
Posted By: Abigail Walston
I'm returning to work as a teacher in September. I'm not a big fan of pumping and my son has rarely used bottles so I know that going back to work is going to be a big adjustment for both of us.
At the same time that I was transitioning Joshua from my expressed milk to cow's milk while we are separated, I was also weaning myself from the pump. I was a little concerned that quitting the pump cold turkey would result in clogged ducts or mastitis, so I slowly decreased pumping over the course of three weeks.
Here's how I did it.
Week 1: I continued to pump twice each day, once during my preparation period and once during lunch. I slowly decreased the time that I spent expressing milk. On a typical day, I had pumped for 30 minutes during my prep and 20 minutes during my lunch so I slowly decreased over the course of five days until I was only pumping 15 minutes at each session.
Week 2: I dropped one pumping session, which meant I only pumped once each day for about 15 minutes. Sometimes it was during lunch and sometimes it was during my preparation, depending on what was going on that day and how busy I was.
Week 3: I stopped pumping at work on Monday and Tuesday, but since Joshua stays with my mother-in-law on those days and Ed brings him home at around 5:00pm, I had some time by myself at home and pumped then. I was feeling pretty full by the end of the day, so pumping for about 10 to 15 minutes eased my discomfort. On Wednesday and Thursday, I pumped for about 10 minutes at lunch time and then immediately picked up Joshua and nursed him after work. On Friday, I didn't pump at all and simply nursed Joshua as soon as I picked him up.
Week 4: By this point, I didn't need to pump at all. I'm sure to nurse Joshua right before we leave in the morning and as soon as I see him at the end of the day. He also nurses frequently in the afternoons, at night, and on weekends, so I'm not worried about losing my milk supply and I also know that he's still getting plenty of the beneficial components of my milk.
It is so liberating to be done with the pump! There are no bottles to wash (we've switched to sippy cups), there are no pump parts to clean, no cooler to pack, and no heavy pump to carry. Even better, I get to relax during lunch and chat with my friends instead of being locked in a closet by myself. I've gained so much more time during the day and have been able to do things that had fallen through the cracks like organize files and arrange my desk drawer.
I don't regret pumping for one minute, but I'm so happy it's over!9:00am on Friday April 29