Welcome to the forum and well done for breastfeeding and pumping for your little one for all these months. You have overcome challenges most of us can't fathom. Breastmilk feeding must be very important to you for you to have persisted this long. You didn't say whether you expect to be able to feed at the breast in the future, so I am assuming that this is a decision between pumping and not pumping.
Only you can decide what is best for you and Aria. I'm a big fan of mums giving themselves a 'break', whatever that looks like to them and their family. And you aren't in an all-or-nothing situation here. So I'll just throw some ideas out for you.
- What if you asked for some help with all the other non-breastfeeding things that are overwhelming right now? You may already have done this, could your 'helpers' do with some specific direction about what you need? Are there non-friend and family services available to help you? (Hospital social workers can be good at helping hook you up with these services)
- Are you doing the expressing in the easiest way you can? Good hospital-grade double electric pump, storage well organised, not washing the pump every time you use it (mums shouldn't wash their own pumps BTW, IMO
), washing parts and bottles in the dishwasher if available, car adaptor kit for when you are the passenger. Here is a thread about exclusive expressing that might help with some ideas. viewtopic.php?f=29&t=12229&hilit=exclusive+expressing
We also have an article on the main website about exclusive expressing. https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo ... expressing
- What if you cut back on pumping from the amount you are currently doing? Is there one session that bugs you most (maybe right before bedtime or when you are out of the house) Would things be more manageable if you cut back to once a day? You will need to gradually reduce expressing anyway - maybe you can drop back over the next few weeks until you get to the point that is working for you, and just do that much pumping?
- What benefits are you getting from expressing for your baby? Maybe the answer to that is none! But I think if you have stuck with it this long, you are getting some benefit. Do you find it rewarding to be doing something for her that only you can do? Do you feel good about her still getting the benefits of breastfeeding while she deals with all the complications? Are you getting positive feedback that you value from people around you?
- What will you do with the extra time, mental energy that comes when you stop expressing - does it feel good to think about stopping?
- Relactation is an option, but not an easy one. Probably easier for you than some mums because you are already so good at expressing
There is a good booklet about relactation that you can source from ABA if you decide later that you want to get back to expressing.
Like I said, only you can decide. You could call the helpline for a chat if you want, or try to get along to an ABA meeting and talk to a counsellor face to face.
Whatever you do, don't stop suddenly - the last thing you need is mastitis.
Others might have some more ideas to share.