When I was pregnant I had a lot of expectations, as most moms do. But, just most moms will tell you, it did not go as I’d expected! I found out my baby was huge and I ended up with a C-section. In the hospital, my girl and I never really had a great breastfeeding experience. So, I supplemented because my milk hadn’t come in well and I had a very hungry baby!
Thankfully, within a few weeks my milk supply had caught up but as I discussed in returning to work, it didn’t work out for us. I started my exclusive pumping journey pretty early into the breastfeeding experience, and continued it for 9 months. Along the way I had the privilege of regularly donating milk to a foster baby, as well as sharing some with a couple of friends needing a break. I also built up quite the freezer stash for my little one.
I feel like I pumped everywhere possible in the places I went. I pumped in parking lots, all over the college where I work, on the interstate while my husband was driving, in parks, at my church, and once I even pumped in my grandparents bedroom at Christmas. My family survived pumping for 9 months, and by the end we were all so over it!
I’m not going to lie, exclusive pumping is hard. It's time consuming, it takes away time you could be snuggling and instead attaches you to a machine that may or may not do its job decently. It requires you to not only deal with the stresses of breastfeeding, but also adds more dishes to your endless pile of chores! Then there’s the frustrations of dealing with finding places to pump, carving out time to pump, and making sure you’ve always got your pump and supplies with you when you need them!
You worry that you’ve got enough freezer space and that you’ve got a large enough supply. You wonder when to cut out the middle-of-the-night pump, not too early, but as soon as possible since you’re exhausted! There are few benefits, but the best part of exclusively pumping is that others can handle the middle-of-the-night bottles and diaper changes.
When you’re frustrated and miserable, remember you’re doing your best for your sweet baby! Hang in there, and pump on, momma!
Jenny Ditch lives in Illinois with her husband and daughter, and is a little sad she can’t make any more fresh milk for her girl.