By Jess Contributor
When I went back to work, I wasn’t sure how pumping was going to go. I never pumped with Ava. I never even fed Ava more than maybe 3 bottles, ever. I was nervous, I was anxious, but I was hopeful.
I’ve been back at work for nearly 3 months now. And I’m still pumping.
Pumping at work is definitely interesting. Since Allie is still not on a predictable schedule that lets me know when she’ll be waking and/or eating in the mornings, there’s no telling what time I’ll start pumping when I get to work. Then there’s hoping that you can get a pumping session in before or after a meeting. Luckily, my schedule hasn’t been filled with back to back meetings in a while.
Then there was the time where I damn near cried over spilled milk. Literally. If you’ve ever pumped and had your milk spill? You know what I’m talking about. I had been putting a FULL DAY’s worth of milk in a bag, then putting in my little insulated lunch bag. As I got up to leave for the day, something dripped on my shoes. Well that’s odd. Then I checked, the bag was nearly empty. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. A shitty day just got worse. It felt like the world was ending. How could I let that happen? How would my child eat?! OK it wasn’t that dramatic, but seriously.
I learned my lesson and started triple checking bags. I’ve even taken it a step further and now I’ve started to pump and save in bottles to take to school, instead of bags (thanks, Sara for teaching me stuff that I clearly just don’t think about).
After I saw that on Pinterest, I TOTALLY got it and nodded my head saying, “Amen sister.” Never again.
The pressure to pump and breast feed exclusively is still there. It’s self-imposed, of course. I know that she will be perfectly fine with formula, but I want to pump. I want her to have my breast milk. There is no one telling me that it has to happen, only the little voice in my head. Maybe it’s partly the guilt of knowing that Ava was exclusively breast fed. Maybe it’s knowing that this is a battle within me and I WILL win because I CAN do this, along with all the complications that may come with it.
Yesterday I got set up at work and started my good old friend, the Medela pump.
“keep going. keep going. keep going” the pump hummed at me.
Nothing happened. I waited. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I waited more. Then I started to worry. This had happened the day before, too.
“keep going. keep going. keep going” the pump was mocking me now.
What if my time is done? What if this chapter is over and I can’t pump at work?! NO! It can’t be over!!! The freak outs are plentiful when I’m talking about pumping/breastfeeding.
I talked to Sara, whom I have affectionately deemed: “The Breastfeeding Whisperer.” She told me to calm down, shut the pump off and relax. I did. Then I tried again. It worked.
I started chugging water and chomping oatmeal like it was my job. Because for her, it is. BTW, have you ever added Hershey’s syrup or applesauce to oatmeal? NOM.
It’s funny how filling a bottle with your own milk while tethered to a machine by rubber tubing can give you such joy. Pumping isn’t fun. But it makes me happy. Knowing that I filled up her bottles makes me want to high five myself. It’s like an accomplishment when I can get past the 4 oz mark per pump session. It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve been there, you understand.
I’m so grateful that this is working for us. I hope to keep doing it for the next 6 months till she turns a year old. She starts on solids this year, and crazy lady that I am, I plan to make her food. With the great farmer’s markets around here, why not?
So for now, I continue my journey…stay tuned.