Note: I’ve been trying to write this post for weeks, but keep walking away from it. It’s a complicated relationship I have with my pump, as dumb as that sounds….
The day I met my twins, I also made a new friend, my breast pump. My girls were too premature to know how to eat, so I had to start pumping immediately in order to establish a supply. (It’s funny to me that my offspring would have any trouble eating because their mother is a Level Expert eater, but it is what it is.)
Since bringing the twins home, I’ve spent a lot of time hooked up to my little yellow pump. The result is a love/hate relationship. At first, when I had to be away from the twins during their stay in the NICU, pumping made me feel like I was doing something motherly for them and I was happy to do it.
As time went on, pumping began to feel like more of a chore. Truthfully, I mostly hate it. It’s just one more thing to do during the day and it can be hard to figure out what to do with the girls while I’m hooked up and can’t move more than 3 feet away from the pump. And then I feel guilty for hating it because I truly do feel lucky to be making milk. I want to the girls to get the antibodies contained in breast milk (and formula is seriously expensive).
I know I’m not alone in my feelings, so to those of you fellow pumpers out there, I’ve found some things that make this “chore” feel less chore-like. First, get a hands-free pumping bra. I splurged on a $40 one, but you can also just cut holes in a $5 sports bra. Obviously, this makes it so that you can do something else while pumping (Yay, multitasking!) I love to read, so always having a good book to read almost makes me forget I’m doing something else. A friend of mine said she would find a good series to watch on Netflix, which is a great idea – one episode and you’re done! Another thing that helped me keep pumping was letting go of the strict 3-hour schedule. It was important in the beginning to pump every 3 hours, but now that my supply is established, I only pump every 6 hours. This means I only have to get up once during the night, so I get more sleep. Finally, I make incremental goals for myself. My first goal was 6 weeks, then one more week until my mom went home, then 2 months, and now I’m nearing 3 months of pumping! I’m surprised and proud that I’ve made it this long and I hope to keep it up as long as I can.
If you’re in the same boat as me, know that I’m sitting there next to you and know that lots of women pump for 6 weeks, or 3 months, or even a year. Just do the best you can and don’t beat yourself up if (and when) you break up with your breast pump.