EBM deserves a page all it’s own. The only thing I spend more time doing (since she can not breast feed) is loving Rose…. notice I didn’t say, sleeping!? Expressing to tube feed and not sleeping (pretty much at all!) are intrinsically linked. Moan moan etc.
One of the neonatologists early on said I’d only be able to maintain a supply to feed Rose for about 12 weeks in NICU. Thank goodness I didn’t believe him (and I did provide feedback to a NICU improvement committee that he should be gently asked to stop speaking to mothers about something he clearly doesn’t understand). I’ve come across many many posts on the internet from mothers who express enough BM for their children even beyond the one year mark but it takes a lot of energy that for another mother may have been spent better elsewhere… I agree with a lot of wise women who say you do what will keep you mentally healthy so you can look after your child to the best of your ability and giving Rose breast milk is what has kept me mentally healthy and reduced my worry. It reassured me a lot to be able to do it. Thank goodness I could / can. However sometimes I get a little inkling of a feeling that it’ll be great when she doesn’t need it anymore… At the moment I express for 40 minutes 4 times a day, yielding ~650mls … in the early days it was 30 minutes 8 times a day, yielding about a litre. Without a baby to stimulate my milk production it has been a slow decline in volume but I could definitely have committed more time to it if I only had one child and less medical appointments to attend.
My sister, Kate, had her first baby in September 2013, Rose was born in March. Kate generously pumped extra milk for Rose and even let me breastfeed her daughter a little towards the end which really helped me to heal a little in the breast feeding department. The yearning to feed was very strong for me. It was such a joy with James and Daniel. I fed each of them until my supply disappeared. I got into the habit of feeding them if they fell or if they felt sick (yeah I know there are lots of expert opinions on this not being a great idea). So to have a very sick baby and not be able to breastfeed her really hurt my heart.