The Life of a Working Pumping Nursing Mom
I can think back to the day I came home from the hospital with my first born. I was so excited to start “being a mom” away from all of the wonderful nurses that had been so helpful. It was all going very smoothly for 12-20 hours and then….MY MILK CAME IN! The problem here is that your beautiful little angel seems to only nurse 3 drops, while my boobs were preparing to feed all of the starving children in Africa. I was soon reminded that my company had not sent the pump I ordered over a month ago. They offered an amazing deal on a Medela Pump that I HAD to order from them….but it had not arrived yet. So with baby in tow, I find the paperwork and call them. Customer Service slowly finds my order and is confused on why the pump had not been shipped…UGH….I don’t care why, I am asking when…actually I am demanding same day delivery as my little angel cries and cries in the background…right on cue! Later that morning I am in tears from the pressure of these ever-full water balloons. My mom kindly hands me a bag of frozen peas (yes peas) to place on my chest. It helps…but either this baby better start doing keg stands off my chest or this pump better arrive soon.
Soon enough I am introduced to the pump…I have now shifted from a nursing mom to a nursing & pumping mom. I get a schedule going, I am stockpiling bags of this amazing liquid gold and things are going great. Over the next several months I will learn several of the frustrating, funny and unbelievable stories that involve pumping.
PWI* – Pumping While Intoxicated – Let me first preface the fact that I never put my children in any danger, but I like a glass of wine or two. After speaking to many friends, doctors, etc…I came up with a good rotation of nursing, pumping and wine. The first evening my husband and I were able to go out and enjoy date night, I was a cheap date! It took only 1-2 glasses of wine before I asked the Million Dollar Question – When I get home and pump, do I throw it away or do I freeze it with an asterisks on it…hmmmmm???? There were a couple vacations without kids when I late-night-pumped, said my last words with the bottles and walked away. My wonderful husband would confiscate them and pour the Liquid Gold down the drain. I know that there are MANY moms out there who feel my pain. I used to cry if a drop of breastmilk landed on the countertop, let alone have the ability to pour several ounces down the drain (no matter how much alcohol I consumed). I laughed hard when i finally worked my frozen supply down to get to the few with an * !!
Pumping & Driving (DWP: Driving While Pumping) – Unavoidably, the return to work creeps up and pumping takes on a whole new level. Being out in the work world is VERY different than being at home in your “pumping/nursing spot”. You know the spot…where your butt print is permanently indented in the couch cushion. The day starts early because I had to get up and ready before my baby boy woke up. Breakfast used to consist of a coffee and the local news. Now I was nursing, pumping, cleaning and prepping the pump for work, frantically grabbing a protein bar and running out the door with my work bag, my purse and my pump in hand like a sherpa. The first morning back seemed smooth and everyone was so excited I was back at work. I showed pictures, I cried a little, but felt like a great mom who had it all together. Let me paint the picture – I was a sales rep who drove all over the city, my office was my car, my clients and office staff were the ones with whom I shared pictures. Therefore, the Kroger parking lot became my pumping spot. I would park, leave the car running, climb in the back seat with tinted windows, plug my pump into the cigarette lighter, attach myself to the machine with my strapless pumping bra and get some computer work done over the next 30-40 minutes. I waited day after day for a police officer to walk up to my car and knock on the window. After all it had to be odd to find a car running in a shady spot of a parking lot with no one in the front seat. Soon I embraced my ability to multitask and became a master of pumping while driving! Thats right! I would hook up to the pump, cover everything with my Hooter Hider and drive to the next city for work. Genius! I still wonder if a cop would have let me out of a speeding ticket either because they were uncomfortable or impressed.
Cutting The Cord – In the end, nursing moms enter the guilt ridden moment when we decide its time to “cut the cord”. When I started this journey I felt like I could feed the world, but as my nursing decreased and my pump became more of a hastle, my milk decreased. I would pump for 45 minutes and get 1-2 ounces. As a business women, I began to argue the ROI of this activity. I vividly remember the last nurse with my oldest. I cried a little, I felt guilty, I felt defeated, I felt free and I felt like we were entering a exciting new stage in our life…The Bottle & Sippy Cup!
Looking back to these times with my boys, I think moms put too much pressure on themselves. They try too hard to fit a picture they have in their head of what the “perfect mom” looks like. The problem with this picture is that we create it before we know what is expected. It is like expecting to be a marathon runner before even knowing the distance…its not realistic! Becoming a mom is multifaceted and it requires practice. We see what works, we ask our friends and doctors for advice, we adjust and we try again. Every mom you meet from now on will give you advice and suggestions on nursing, solid foods, poop, sleep, etc…listen to it (if you want) and remember – just Do what YOU can DO!
Your kids will still love you!