Breastfeeding By the Numbers

Two hundred twenty-five.

That’s approximately the amount of days I pulled the ice pack out of the freezer, cleaned tiny plastic bottles, scrubbed plastic horns and lugged my breast pump to work.

Four hundred fifty.

That is the number  of times I slipped quietly to the windowless supply closet, a room within a bigger room that was not a bathroom (so thank my lucky stars for that) so I could pump breakfast and lunch for my baby.

Five thousand four hundred.

Ounces, that is, pumped to fill the tummy of a quickly growing little boy. And when you’re counting one ounce at a time, you can see how annoyed a person can get when some of it was wasted. Anyone who has said “Don’t cry over spilled milk” has never pumped for a breastfeeding baby.

Twenty one.

Days I pumped and fed him the first month of his life because he was too good to take it from the source. Little did he know — neither did either of us know — nursing would become our favorite time of day.

Three hundred sixty one.

Although a guesstimate, this is the amount of times from birth to about five months that I checked The Leaky Boob and Kelly Mom, calculating how much milk he needed for daycare, determining what kind of medicine I could take for my stuffy nose, begging for advice and support from other breastfeeding Moms.

Twenty.


Bags of milk, two ounces per bag. It’s all we had left in the freezer from over 100 ounces. It’s a miracle that there’s any.
Fifty two weeks. Three hundred sixty five days.
The number of days I exclusively breastfed my son.

(And counting.)

Last Tuesday, I wrote about my baby’s first birthday. We’ve made it to a year. I always had enough, just barely sometimes. He had nothing but mama milk and juice and water for the first year of his life. That was my goal, and there were times in the dark of night the first few lonely weeks of motherhood when I didn’t think we’d make it one month.

Although I still plan to nurse him in the mornings and evenings for awhile, not only because it’s the only time he snuggles, but also because I’ll still be burning calories (breastfeeding is the best diet every), I’m happy to get rid of my pump.

I’m happy to toss my nursing bras because they are in a state. A year of wear and tear will do that to undergarments. No more days of pushing a wire back into the lining or praying that the girls stay put.

I’m happy that I don’t have to count each ounce and pray that I have enough.

I’m happy I won’t need to pump in the morning, holding the horn in one hand while I put my makeup on with the other.

I’m happy that we can send a quart of whole milk to daycare and let our sitter fix the sippy cup.

I’m happy that I won’t have to worry what I’ll do if I’m out of the office all day.

I’m happy that freezer stash wasn’t depleted in the past year.

Breastfeeding a baby for a full year isn’t easy, and especially so when you work. Despite all the challenges, I kept going. There was a time I was waking up at 2 am to pump just so he’d have enough for the next day. It was crazy, I know that. I’d probably do it again for a second baby someday. Sometimes crazy feels really good.

This post isn’t intended to make anyone feel guilty for not nursing or for nursing for less than a year. I’m a big proponent of doing what’s best for your family. But it is meant to brag a little — because I feel like I deserve to brag a little — and to show new Moms who desperately want to breastfeeding and have set a goal for a year that you can do it. The key for me was getting the right kind of support — gentle, knowledgeable, encouraging and ultimately supportive of any choice you make.

And if you do make it? You get the Golden Boob Award.

*thanks Andrea for awarding it to me ;)

iPhone Photo Phun

 

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66 comments to Breastfeeding By the Numbers

  • Yay you, you made it. Breastfeeding is a tough job and you totally deserve a pat on the back and a margarita.
    Jessica recently posted..Creating Christmas Memories

  • Go you! I can’t imagine having to pump FOR A YEAR. I breastfed for 18 months, and only pumped once or twice a day for a good part of a year, when he went to his grandparents place a few hours at a time, and in the early days, so his father could take care of the night feeds. I was lucky in that I could easily pump 4 oz per side, per session, and that I could do it in the comfort of my own home. And even then, I was whining and bitching. So kudos to you Amanda!!
    Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..A Baking Disaster

  • I wish you were around when I was making babies. One of my biggest mommy regrets is not trying to nurse longer. I gave up at he first sign of a struggle.

    I think it’s amazing you made it as long as you did.
    Natalie recently posted..It’s not who wins or loses

  • Celebrating one year of exclusive breastfeeding | It's Blogworthy | Diaper Earth

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  • OH I wish I could have breastfed.. congrats to you for doing it mama.
    Angel recently posted..Yeah Yeah I am a 2 timer , TTUT and Happiness Project, I need you to go vote again.

  • Congratulations!!! I say “Amen” to every single sentence. I too have pumped at 2AM and hidden away in storage closets and searched the web for advice and worried and cried over a leaky freezer bag. I tell everyone, Pumping SUCKS but nursing is awesome!

    Good for you Amanda!
    Jaime recently posted..Fall Fun

  • Thank you, darling, for reminding us that even though it can be insanely difficult, it can still be done…as long as your body is producing enough. That’s quite the inspirational story there. Now, enjoy applying makeup with two hands…it’s so much easier. I don’t know how you did that.
    Allyson recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: You Can Bring Your Bike, But Not Your Children

  • I breastfed both my kids for a year. It was difficult, but I am so beyond glad I did it and made it through. Congrats to you!! Stopping by from PYHO.
    Lisa recently posted..PYHO: All I Want for Christmas

  • You do deserve to brag about that! I am so impressed, especially as another working mom. This is an area where I’ve always felt like a bit of a failure because the longest I nursed any of mine exclusively was 4 months. My work environment has been a tough one for pumping. So anyway, I’m always impressed by moms who manage it, especially because I know it can’t have been easy for you, but you did it anyway. Yay for you (and your baby)!
    Katie E recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Big Boy

    • Amanda

      Four months is NOT a failure!!! Any milk you give your baby is a bonus. It is VERY hard to pump at work and especially if your workplace isn’t supportive or it’s hard to pump there. I was so lucky that I had a place I could go.

      • Thanks for saying that :) Fortunately I believe my kids are okay with what they got, and I definitely think it’s a personal decision to determine what works for each mom and her family, but I’m always so impressed when I hear of someone who made it work like you did. And I feel a little guilty I didn’t, but I get over it quickly.
        Katie E recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Big Boy

  • Wow, girl.

    You did AMAZING!

    I hated pumping. Hated it. Am pretty sure I never would have made it to a year with my boys if I’d had to pump that much.

    Bravo!
    Shell recently posted..Pour Your Heart Out: When Doing All I Can Doesn’t Help

  • I never thought about the numbers. You’ve done a great job!

    I’m lucky, so far I’ve made it to 14.5 mos. and JUST THIS MORNING Thumper refused me :( I’m a little distraught. I hope she comes back.
    I gave up pumping at 9 mos. – it felt so liberating.
    Carolyn recently posted..The Other Half of Parenting

    • Amanda

      I know they go through that sometimes!! I can’t imagine the sadness I’ll feel when it’s over. I feel like it’s my secret weapon right now when he’s really inconsolable. When I added up the # of oz I was shocked..and that’s just an estimate! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Big smiles here.

    I breastfed both my babies for a year and had to do the pump-at-work (and in the morning, after school, at night to get enough ounces)routine, too.

    I endured having that two-sided Medela contraption strapped to my boobs multiple times a day (I even got walked in on by the assistant principal at my school in full nipple-stretch!) but I wouldn’t change a thing. (Well, maybe I’d save poor Mr. Rosentsweig that view…)

    But almost a dozen years later, breastfeeding my babies remains one of the things I miss most. Especially because I always had an excuse in the middle of a chaotic party or visiting relatives or anytime I needed a private snuggle to indulge in that quiet, sweet, peaceful connection that was all ours.

    Good job, mama.
    And good job, little pump.

    Until the next baby…

    XO
    julie gardner recently posted..Today call me rhymey

  • Wow! It’s pretty cool when you figure out all the numbers. You are an amazing mom!
    liz recently posted..Madagascar ICE! in Nashville

  • KLZ
    Twitter:

    I’m so happy to see you meet a goal that means so much to you. Right on, mama.
    KLZ recently posted..The Life of a Cheapskate

  • I am so proud of you! I wanted to breastfeed so bad by couldn’t due to Paige’s health issues when she was little. You are a great mom!!
    jayme recently posted..Intergalactic

  • What an accomplishment! Way to go Amanda!
    Roxanne recently posted..When Agnes Left

  • Wow…I feel our experiences were so similar! Like…crazy similar. I had so much milk saved up. I would throw a fit any time that milk went wasted. But around the 8 month mark my supply just didn’t match the demand. (You can never pump as much as a baby can eat). I was so scared I didn’t have enough in the freezer. At 11 months my doc gave me the okay to give him whole milk while at daycare. So I made it…barely. After that we just did mornings and at night to go to sleep. It was awesome to get rid of that pump! And those nursing bras and camisoles? ACK! Mine were disgusting. I kept going until almost 14 months. Hope you can keep it up as long as you want!
    Congrats Golden Boob!
    Best,
    Tina
    Tina recently posted..Don’t call it a gift guide

  • You totally get bragging rights. I never realized how time consuming and difficult breastfeeding could be. If I worked full time, I don’t know that I would have made it as long as I did. Sometimes I feel sad that we didn’t get to make it for a year, but I’m happy that we’re doing the right thing for Donut. And oh yes, it felt so good to put that pump and those nursing bras away!
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently posted..Listen Up! {Plus a Giveaway}

    • Amanda

      They make it out to be SO easy..like it’s just boom, milk, baby, what is there to think about? But it’s so much more than that and taxing too emotionally. You did AWESOME doing what you did for her and she’s going to grow up just as healthy…it was what was best for YOU guys and that’s the most important thing.

  • COngrats, you! That is a big accomplishment!

    {I love the way you started with the numbers- wowsa that’s a lot of ounces!}

    And that kiss picture? Hee! So much love!

    xo
    Galit Breen recently posted..Christmas Trees in Our Jewish Home

  • WTG! you deserve to toot your own horn that is a huge accomplishment! great job mamma! I nursed for 3 years each child. currently on child number 5 who is 8 months
    annemarie (@YLMBreadless) recently posted..HEY YOU!

    • Amanda

      That’s SO wonderful!! I love hearing of other mamas having success nursing their babies, especially multiple ones. It’s such a special bonding experience. I’ve loved every second of it. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • That’s awesome!! It’s my goal to hit 6 months and then a year.
    Shelley recently posted..First Came Love…

    • Amanda

      You can definitely do it. After 6 months it seems like the next 6 is a piece of cake! Glad you’re setting goals and if you ever need a little encouragement, you know where to find me :)

  • Congrats lady! Pumping is hard work. I tried supplementing with Jack and pumped for a few weeks- sometimes with a handheld pump! unfortunately I wasn’t producing enough so I stopped so i really admire your determination. I can’t imagine doing it for a whole year!

    • Amanda

      Thank you dear! And you know in that case, pumping around the clock just to make enough wouldn’t have been worth the time you weren’t spending with him because you were on your pump, ya know? If I would have had to pump exclusively, I’m not sure I would have done it.

  • Amazing work, mama! I love seeing it in numbers…so CRAZY! I’m amazed at your BF’ing abilities! I made it 9 months – and only pumped for 5 weeks of that…it’s hell pumping at work. Working mothers do not get enough credit!

  • Congratulations. What a milestone! This post really touched home with me today. Just this morning, our daycare provider (our second one since October) for our 3-month old suggested that I stop breastfeeding and put my girl on bottles because it would be “easier”. Easier? Easier for who? Yes, pumping at work sucks and trying to pump enough during my hectic schedules isn’t easy (I’m an elementary art teacher), but those tender moments spent with my babe at the breast are the greatest moments of my day. How could I give that up? How could I expect her to give that up? I went back and read about your daycare issues, and I’m dealing with similar issues right now. We are on our second daycare provider, and I’m considering searching for someone else for many (little?) reasons. Every day I go to work I wonder if it’s worth it and beat myself up for leaving my girl in the care of someone else who couldn’t possible provide the love and attention I could. And when I pick her up at night and I find her crying, alone, in her car seat while other babies and toddlers are also sitting alone, my heart hurts and I wonder how I could possibly bring her back again in the morning. But I do, because what other option do I have? Finding quality, affordable daycare is hard. And being far from family, daycare is the only option. *Sigh* Sorry for the long comment. You should really feel proud of this accomplishment and brag about it all you want (my sister only made it 6 months with her boys). I’m hoping to make it at least a year with my girl as well.
    April recently posted..Bloglovin’

    • Amanda

      April, sometimes bloggers come into each others lives for a reason. Your comment made me cry because I remember so clearly how that felt. Not only does it get better, there are wonderful people out there who want to care for your baby AND you know what else? are supportive of breastfeeding. Our babysitter now is so fantastic. She considers breastfeeding not only normal, but she preferred it for her little ones when she had them. I hope you’ll find that person. If you ever need someone to listen, please email me….itsblogworthy@gmail.com and we can talk more!

    • Amanda

      Also, if you feel bad about your daycare, listen to your gut. When you find the right one you will know. People told me that and I didn’t believe them but it’s so true.

  • Those are impressive numbers! Good for you!
    Kimberly recently posted..Don’t Ever Forget

  • Working full time while still nursing is a huge accomplishment. I did it with my first child. Those pumps are brutal. Good for you for sticking with it!
    Jessica recently posted..How To Make Your Writing Area Bigger In WordPress

  • I have no first hand breast feeding experience but I think you did an amazing job at staying dedicating to feeing your son. I recently purused the breast feeding aisle of Babies R US for a friend’s baby shower. That stuff looks complex.
    JMJE recently posted..Christmas Present Internet Window Shopping-Etsy Edition

  • You totally deserve to brag!! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I am totally envious of you and your ability to keep going. Obviously our situations are different, but I am so PROUD of you! Way to go, Amanda!
    Kallay recently posted..BIRTHDAY Week! {Happy First Birthday, Babies!}

  • The thing about breatfeeding is that it’s all about what YOU feel comfortable with, which makes it hard when you don’t really know what you should do. But you nailed it when you said that you pumped like crazy in the middle of the night just so he would have enough milk for the next day. That’s what you felt you needed to do, and that’s okay! Just like it’s okay for the next mom to supplement with formula if she doesn’t want to pump in the night. Congrats on making it to a year — it’s a huge accomplishment.
    Leigh Ann recently posted..Easy Christmas yarn trees with button ornaments

    • Amanda

      I 100% agree. That’s what makes me so angry about so called “breastfeeding advocates” who will give advice but at the risk of making someone feel bad when they decide it’s not for them. It’s such a personal thing!

  • What a creative post. I loved the counting. That’s awesome! I bet it’s bittersweet tp say good bye to nursing.
    Adrienne recently posted..5 gifts I won’t be buying my teen son!

    • Amanda

      Luckily I get to still BF for a while longer but only in the morning and night….it seems so strange to not be doing it every few hours! Thanks for stopping by :)

  • I totally don’t blame you for bragging. I have too. And my bloggy friends have bestowed the Golden Boob Award upon me as well. Go girl for pumping your heart out (and for keeping record of all of those ounces!)
    Mama recently posted..How My Boob Made the Internet

  • The day I hung up the pump was the best day of my life. Maybe because it was also the day I became a stay at home mom- but still, not to be tied to the pump was amazing. Especially as someone with low supply. There was never enough and I figured if I was going to have to supplement anyways, I’d rather have him get everything he could straight from the tap. Thankfully we were able to limp along until just after a year when he weaned all on his own.

    Thanks for joining the hop this week!
    Erin/The Slacker Mom recently posted..You are Wonderful.

  • Mommy2¢

    Wow! Good for you, girl! Now go have a glass of wine to celebrate… you deserve it!! :)
    Mommy2¢ recently posted..Memories Captured

  • Awesome! Go you! Next week will mark 1 year for DD2. I nursed DD1 until 11.5 months. I didn’t want to wean her, but I had to go out in the field for 5 days for my school geology program so that kinda ended our nursing relationship. I’m going to keep going until DD2 self weans.
    Katy recently posted..Wordless Wednesday-Holiday Edition

    • Amanda

      That’s so great!! Don’t you love that special time with your DD? I honestly look forward to it every morning and evening. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • Congratulations on making it a year! I just celebrated my first nursiversary with DS this past Saturday. I’m a working mom too, so I imagine my numbers are somewhat similar to yours. It’s kind of staggering when you do the math!
    Naya recently posted..Happy Nursiversary to Us!

  • You should be proud, and you DEFINITELY deserve that award. My baby is almost nine months now, and I made it just over eight months before I went down to nightly feedings. That was quite a bit longer than any of the others, so I’m proud of that. It was definitely a little heart-wrenching, though.
    Greta @gfunkified recently posted..Year In Review (Part 1)

    • Amanda

      Eight months is SO GOOD. You know at that point they really don’t nurse as much anyway. It was at 8 months that I only had to pump once at work and then at home a couple times.

  • What an amazing accomplishment!
    I, too, nursed each of my 3 for the first year but was blessed to be home. I commend you for working and pumping (that sounded awkward) – couldn’t have been easy.
    Susan recently posted..And so The King was born

    • Amanda

      Thank you!! It was really hard but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I loved that time together and if it took pumping at work to keep it up, I would have pumped all day long, ya know? Thanks for stopping by!

  • Good for you!!!!!!! What a GREAT accomplishment. It wasn’t until my 3rd that I got to my goal, unfortunately for me I had to stop with all 3 due to some kind of medical reason. It is pretty crazy to think how “natural” it’s supposed to be cause it is a lot of work!
    Danielle recently posted..The Hardest Thing I Have Yet To Blog About

  • You should be proud. My son (because of a birth defect) couldn’t breast feed, so I pumped. I gave up after 3 months because having to feed him and then pump every 2 – 4 hours was exhausting. I was so glad to have my boobs back, too!
    Momma Teacher Lady recently posted..I’m a sucker

  • You absolutely should be proud! I know how tough pumping is and I only did it for 9 weeks. I had hoped that my breastfeeding experience would have been more successful, but we were plagued with some insurmountable problems. So congratulations on your dedication!
    Jen recently posted..Meal Plan Monday

    • Amanda

      It doesn’t matter if you breastfed for 9 weeks or 9 months..you still gave your baby that milk! Lots of things happen and you know, I hate that so many Moms have the attitude of “well i ONLY did….” pumping is enough to drive anyone batty! thanks for stopping by!

  • Loved this post, and yes you should be proud. I BF’d for far too long – we loved it, it worked for us – but I also didn’t have to pump very often if at all since I was a SAHM so boy my hat is off to YOU for all that devotion and pumping. Happy 1st to your 1 year old. (-:
    Ado recently posted..Excuse Me I Beg Your Pardon But I’ve Had Ample-Sufficiency

  • My friend had many many hard earned/pumped ounces of milk in the freezer. A freezer that her husband forgot to close one day…all the milk went bad. I wanted to cry for my friend when I heard about it.

    Congrats on making it a year!
    Sarcasm Goddess recently posted..Calling All the Mamas and the Papas

  • That is an accomplishment. Good for you! I chose not to breastfeed for a number of reasons, among them the difficulty of it. Happy birthday to your little guy!
    Laura@Catharsis recently posted..Pros and Cons of Pros and Cons from The Oatmeal

  • Good for you. You set an ambitious goal – so congrats on meeting it – it sounds like it was incredibly rewarding for you.
    A Morning Grouch recently posted..Grouchy Pants. Or, Grouchy No-Pants.

  • Congrats on meeting your goal and happy birthday to your little one!!

    Thanks so much for linking up to the hop and sharing your numbers. I identify with most of them, and I’m sure many other women do, too.
    Jen – Life With Levi recently posted..Rear Facing Or Bust

  • Congratulations! I did it three times, (the breast pumping too), it is so hard.
    Especially when you’re surrounded by unsupportive people..
    It’s a real accomplishment, yay for you!
    Mirjam recently posted..Colorful world

    • Amanda

      Thank you! You know, I am lucky that most of the people who mattered were super unsupportive. The people at work were by giving me a space, my husband was WONDERFUL. Even my MIL who never breastfed was supportive when I needed her to be the most! It’s something I’ll always cherish. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Good job You! I know how tough and rewarding that is. I hate that you/we have to include a disclaimer as to not to offend anyone – can’t we all just mind our own boobs? You should be very proud of yourself!
    Jamie recently posted..a christmas story

  • Nalonni Madden

    I breastfed my daughter for 2 years. I LOVED THE CLOSENESS! I totally understand the pumping as I am not part of the itty bitty titty committee, I had milk for days. You would have thought I was pregnant with multiples, I had so much milk!! Good job mama!!
    Nalonni Madden recently posted..Spamalot

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