You know what’s hardest about exclusively pumping? The lack of appreciation. Not from others. From the baby. The one who I’m doing this for.
My other babies, who were breastfed via the usual, direct route, always had such appreciation for the awesome food they were getting. From a pretty young age, they’d get excited at the prospect of nursing. As slightly older babies, they’d learned that if I messed with my shirt, it meant nursing, and they’d start to hoot and clap. As toddlers, they would say nice things about nursing, about breastmilk, etc., and do sweet things like pat my breasts lovingly. I took to being careful to always wrap in a towel or robe when dressing or showering if I didn’t want to drop everything to nurse, because seeing my breasts would generally lead to nursing an excited, eager child. It was a two-way relationship. Each child has been able to decide for themselves when they’re ready to be done, and as long as we’re both still comfortable with continued nursing, it’s been fine. (If either stopped being comfortable, we’d stop.)
Teddy could care less. In fact, he’s beyond caring less. He actually slightly resents the time I spend pumping, and hates that I won’t let him play with the flanges instead of insisting that they remain in place on my chest. Because he’s 100% tube fed, he doesn’t even seem to enjoy the milk that I work so hard to produce for him. It’s an extremely one-way relationship. There’s no positive feedback from him to encourage me to keep going.
Yet I do.