and part two: when where how often how much
today- how to keep going on and on day after day despite how incredibly inconvenient and embarrassing this can be when your company makes you to go a team-building exercise and you have to pump at a bowling alley. or, as i prefer to call it, your pumping morale.
truly, the hardest part of pumping at work is... pumping at work. i would much rather stay at my desk and keep working, especially when it's a busy day and i'm crunched for time and juggling 3,000 things at once. to drag myself away from my desk every 3 hours has taken some practice and dedication. the balance between getting your shit done and feeding your kid is hard to find. but it was a decision i made that was important enough to me to commit to a certain amount of inconvenience.
i've written pretty extensively about how embarrassing i find pumping. the time i was walked in on in the bathroom or the ode to the pumping life i've written, for example. hooking yourself up to a machine to be milked is pretty damn disheartening. but let me explain it this way- i like breastfeeding when i'm at home so much that i'm willing to put up with how much this part of it (quite literally) sucks. some days it feels like a huge compromise that i have to make just to feed the kid and i majorly resent it. most days i just stare off into space and get the job done so i can go back to... getting the job done. breastfeeding is something that i can be proud of. it's natural, blah blah. pumping? not so much.
on days when i'm feeling downtrodden i try to think about the fact that this is a choice. i don't have to and no one is making me. it's a choice i made because i thought it was best for our family, and i still do, so damn it girl, stick with it. i can stop whenever i want and it's my decision to continue. the only person inconveniencing me is me. it helps that i can't blame someone else on those woe-is-me days. plus i do feel proud that i've been able to provide for my baby and that helps too. basically it's like any other chore that i don't particularly like doing- i still have to do it anyway so either get over it or stop.
i'm not one of those moms who judges other moms for how they feed their baby. formula? pumping? breastfeeding? i don't care! chances are all our kids are going to be just fine no matter what option you choose. i've chosen to breastfeed because it came pretty easily and because i like it. you do whatever you want and be proud about it. but- i do think moms who pump long-term deserve a pat on the back. because man, it is so hard to keep going. it's a time commitment, embarrassment factor, and overall really... GAH! annoying! so many days it feels like a thankless job. it's easy to get frustrated with all the washing and cleaning and constant worry about supply and demand and worry about your job and just throw in the towel. but it is possible to keep going. as long as you want to. and when you decide you're done? throw yourself a party and don't think twice about it.
pumping moms, your baby can't say thank you. so i'll say it for them: thank you! the choice you're making isn't the only option. you aren't trapped. but it is a valuable choice and you deserve our support.
now, it's that time again...
next up part four- there's trouble ahead, pumping technical issues and supply problems
this series is complete- quick! skip to: part one | part two | part three | part four