Dear Pumping Moms,
Today is a day of mixed emotions.
Allow me to jump up and down, burn my pumping bag, crush my pump parts and sport a REAL bra from Victoria’s Secret because hot dang it, I AM DONE PUMPING! I feel like the rally song that you hear at the Chicago Bulls games should be playing “annnnnnd now, from Buffalo Grove IL, one year pumper, she’s done, CHRISTINE NNNNNOGAL!” – and the crowd goes wild, of course. No more carting around my pump, no more watching the clock, no more pressing my breasts to see if it’s time or not… no more!
BUT (always a but…)
Allow me to well up with tears, hug my pumping bag, sorrowfully pack away all the parts and retire a hardworking bra that “supported” me through the hard times. I am done pumping. I feel like I just want to sit in the Mother’s Room alone all day and mourn. Will I regret this? Should I have pumped until she went off to college? Who am I now? Am I still part of the breastfeeding community? Am I making the right choice? No more watching the bottles fill up and feeling pride as it hits the next ounce mark, no more making time in my workday to focus on this process and my baby, no more giggling with fellow breastfeeders as we joke about the insider experiences of pumping… no more…
Pumping and breastfeeding is such a personal journey and taught me so much believe it or not! I pumped for one year with my son and now achieved one year with my daughter. It has taught me patience – sitting 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes if I had clogs and waiting until the last drop. It has taught me discipline – those busy days, those lazy days, those hard days that I just didn’t feel like doing it, I had to and I did. It has taught me dedication – this was an important goal that directly impacted my baby’s health and my health. It has taught me to be healthy – sleep, water, nutrition, stress, diet, exercise are more important than I ever knew, to me and my baby. So, of course, my reaction to closing this chapter of my life wouldn’t be all celebratory.
To conclude my soapbox speech: we are all part of the breastfeeding community. Whether you supplement, pump at work, exclusively pump or exclusively breastfeed… whether it’s for a day, week, months, years – there are no dividing lines, one way is not better than the other. Be proud, you’re doing it. To all of you, I offer you a fist bump in the hallway. To all of you who wake up in the night to pump, who have worked through the pain of mastitis and clogs, who have felt defeated during supply dips, who are ignoring the gnawing feeling of guilt because you’re far from your baby right now – you are amazing. What you are doing is important. KEEP. IT. UP.
I’m always here, so don’t hesitate to reach out (it will help me to feel connected to this world still)