I was THAT future mom. You know, the naive woman who swears she will breastfeed no matter what. I mean our bodies are built to nurse, why isn’t everyone doing it?
I was dealt a harsh reality the day my firstborn came into this world. There is no reason why anyone should put that kind of pressure on themselves or anyone else for that matter. We are all different and have different adversities to overcome. My tone changed, and here’s why…
It was six years ago in February when my firstborn was brought into this world. After 48 hours of labor, I was able to successfully deliver a healthy baby boy. He was perfect.
I was in a hospital with a wonderful support system. The hospital believed in “kangaroo care” (which is the exact reason I chose to deliver there). I wanted a place that believed in using our bodies to take care. I wanted to breastfeed. I wanted to bond in the room with my baby. I loved everything about this policy.
My milk came in very quickly, and I mean quickly. My baby was healthy, my milk was in, I was bonding and it was all perfect.
Until the second night.
The most infamous “cluster feed night.” If you haven’t been dealt this hellish torture, it basically means your baby wants to feed what feels like almost every minute. They cry until they get what they need. It should have been fine, but my little man wasn’t latching. I was up all night with a baby who wouldn’t eat, stuck in a room, with no help.
The next day we were seen by three lactation consultants. We worked long hours and used lots of crazy devices. Nothing worked. It was finally time to go home, and I had a child who wouldn’t latch. This is where my pumping journey begins, and my breastfeeding journey ends. Actually, I should say this is where my breastfeeding journey continues, just with a different delivery method.
After days of trying, I decided to start pumping. The difference in my baby was like night and day. He was happy, he was getting what he needed. So started the shame and hiding the fact I wasn’t breastfeeding.
I pumped for twelve months, that’s a lot of hiding.
Feeling Ashamed, When There Should Be No Shame
I was so ashamed I couldn’t get my child to latch. The pediatrician went over the fact that sometimes this does indeed happen. I immediately thought, “Well what happened to the babies back before pumps?” I was reminded in this modern day and age, I should be happy I have more options.
I had to realize the shame in pumping was more about me and less about my child. My little one was nourished. He grew from a newborn to a baby in the matter of a wink. He was thriving. He was happy. And this was most important. Not HOW he was getting fed.
So here I am, taking what I learned and passing it on to you. This is what I want you to know…
Pumping Tips and Affirmations
- Mama stop shaming yourself. If you are unable to breastfeed and chose ANY other option than GOOD FOR YOU. They will grow and thrive no matter how they get their milk (formula included!).
- You will have that bond with them. I promise you. My boys are both “children of the pump” (my second has his own story, that’s for another day). They both had breast milk from a bottle and did so for over a year each. Here’s the shocker, THEY ARE NORMAL. In fact, a little too normal sometimes. They are smart, annoying, energetic, little fireballs. This was all thanks to my trusty breast pump and awesome milk producers.
- Your breasts are indeed meant to make milk. I suggest having some fennel and oats around. I used fennel oil to increase supply. Eat lots of oats as well. Try lactation cookies as well. Like everything else in life, drink lots of water. More water = More milk.
- Don’t crush the boobies. I actually bought looser bras. When you become engorged you will thank me. I also noticed my supply went down when they were suffocated.
- You have rights in the workplace. I made sure they knew I had those rights. You are allowed to take breaks to pump. When I went back to work I was down to about every three hours. I found a place and spent my time. The more you pump the quicker it will come out. I was down to pumping in 10 minutes and had two full 8 oz bottles. This isn’t the norm for everyone.
- Keep pumping. Eventually, your child won’t need to feed as often. I still pumped though. Having that stockpile in the freezer left me feeling less pressure if something were to happen.
- Buy that silly pumping bra. You know, the one with the holes. You will thank me when you are trying to do all the things while holding pumps onto your breasts.
- Bring extra shirts and wipes to work. I lived for the pacifier wipes. I used those to clean out the bottles if I didn’t have a sink. I also brought another shirt in case I spilled taking the pumps off! Check out this post for more tips on pumping in the workplace and supplies to make pumping easier.