Thank you Jamie, for sharing part 2 of your journey!
I want to tell you all about my breastfeeding journey. My daughter turns 1 in approximately 24 days (but who’s counting!?). Before even becoming pregnant I always knew I wanted to breastfeed and pump. Just hearing stories from my mom and other women in my life, it seemed like such a special bonding time and how cool to be able to provide something for your baby that quite literally keeps them alive! As my due date approached, I began to give this more thought and was preparing myself for the possibility of it not working out. I tried to go in with little expectations.
My baby girl was born July 8, 2017, and it was truly love at first latch. Those first few weeks were definitely challenging in the nursing department though. For one, you’re feeding around the clock and each nursing session was taking a long time. We were both getting used to this new concept. By the time she finished nursing, it was almost time to do it all over again. I finally understood what cows being milked feel like! And I don’t care what anyone says, it hurts! I was fortunate, however, to have had the amazing guidance from Metropolitan Breastfeeding from week 1. Although things were going well, I had wanted a professional to literally just watch me nurse and make sure we were set up for success.
The real fun began when I started pumping. My only prior experience with this was when I had seen my best friend pump when she had her first baby a couple years prior. I couldn’t get that image out of my head – her on the bed, hooked up to wires, bottles and a machine, nipples protruding 3 inches out, and a loud pumping noise, with milk filling the bottles 2 drops at a time. Every ounce deserved applause. I knew that would come with nursing because I was headed back to work at 4 months and would need to keep my supply up for my baby while she was with her various caretakers.
At the advice of doctors and friends, I started my pumping journey at about 2-3 weeks postpartum. I had a lot of anxiety about pumping. The idea of it overwhelmed me. How to use the pump, how long to do it for, was I getting enough, the storage of the milk, thawing it, heating, etc. Little did I know, I would become the pumping pro. I was doing it around the clock to store enough for the future and so my husband could have his bonding time with our daughter to give her a bottle when he got home from work (and so I could have a break – only to clean bottles). My IBCLC always reminded me to “feed the baby, not the freezer,” but I couldn’t help myself. I was obsessed with having a solid freezer supply.
There were also several times where I quite literally cried over spilled milk. You may have heard the term “liquid gold.” It’s a real thing. Breastmilk IS liquid gold and if even a drop spills out during the dreaded transfer, it’s very upsetting. It is OK to cry and get frustrated. Let out a big scream and then let it go. You will make more. That also leads me to pumping and dumping. I luckily only had to do it a few times, but it was a few too many – it killed me to watch it swirl down the drain into the abyss. But again, it’s probably for good reason. You needed a drink, and you deserve it.
Going back to work was stressful for so many reasons, but one of them was figuring out my new nursing/pumping schedule. I am an event planner, so I knew I would have to use my professional logistic expertise to make this nursing/pumping thing work, for a year, which was my goal. I am almost there (pumping as we speak)!
Throughout the past 11+ months, I have said numerous times to my husband that I feel like I should write a book about all the places I’ve pumped. When mentioning this to my IBCLC, she encouraged me to blog about it. So here we are, but maybe one day you will find my book in Urban Outfitters or something 😊
So, here’s to us women. We are incredibly strong, powerful, resilient, and will do whatever it takes to keep our children happy and healthy. I feel so honored to be part of such a remarkable tribe, that of Motherhood. It’s only been 11 months so far, and counting, but I am looking so forward to many more chapters to this crazy novel and to continuing this amazing journey.
Thanks for reading!
P.S.I couldn’t end this post without attaching a few photos of my breastfeeding and pumping journey. I have had the support and encouragement from friends and family and the constant reminder that no one is looking or watching me, which I still don’t necessarily believe, but if a child needs to eat, you gotta do what you gotta do! Oh, and a huge shout-out to my Udder Cover®, which has helped protect me from all those wandering eyes, and now causes my daughter to pant whenever I break it out!
Pumping on a boat on a bachelorette party! (left) Pumping in a public restroom. (middle) Pumping in another public restroom! (Right)