Celebrating The Retirement Of My Breast Pump
Before I had kids I knew that I would breastfeed, I hadn’t really given too much thought about how it would look to actually nurse a baby full time but I was ready. I had seen my sister nurse her daughter and it looked somewhat easy and I had friends who would breastfeed when we got together or went out for lunch. I thought that breastfeeding was something that would just happen if I tried a little. Have baby, nurse baby. The end.
Then I had my first baby at 36 weeks and he was born after a marathon labour and an assisted delivery. Feeding him was so incredibly difficult and we battled sleepiness from jaundice and his irritability from the assisted delivery made it even more difficult to feed him. Like so many new mothers I doubted myself, I didn’t trust my instincts but at the same time I just wanted to feed my baby.
In the early days of jaundice and slow preterm feeding, we did a mix of at the breast, formula top ups, breast pumping and repeat. It was a semi gong show of sore lady parts and felt like I was walking through thick knee deep sand trying to get to an ever moving target. I was getting nowhere and somewhere all at the same time and it was bloody hard.
At around three weeks old we turned a big corner and this babe of mine was exclusively breastfeeding and the pump sat collecting dust. Fast forward three years and my sweet chubby full term Josephine was born and my ease of being a second time mother and the high of a straight forward birth meant she was gaining weight at just a few days old.
When I was in the hospital with her I had so much milk that I could feed her and at the same time collect passively from the other side and nearly have a full feed for next time without doing any work. I felt like I had this magical milk making power and I was the queen of of the milkyway. Over the next several months I chose to pump in the mornings to build a freezer stash just in case I wanted a rare evening out or a morning sleep in on the weekend. I ended up being able to pump a decent supply and ended up donating my stash to a friend who needed more food for her newborn twins.
When I had my third baby I expected nothing different than the laid-back experience I had with my second baby. Turns out no breastfeeding relationship is the same. This baby was born a lot smaller and had a tongue and lip tie that wasn’t diagnosed till she was two and a half months old. Feeding her was the biggest challenge and it took so much work and time.
I pumped while she was in the NICU and I would sit at her bedside pumping in an awkward chair with my sore post partum body and staring at this tiny baby inside the incubator who needed my milk but would not latch. Everything ached and I’d sit in the hard hospital chair and stare at her soft round newborn face through the incubator window and wish that I could just latch her on instead of the plastic flange.
I used that pump like it was a life source and it became part of this rhythmic routine through our day. Eventually around five months old I decided that things were good and I chose not to pump any longer. She was breastfeeding, we had had the tongue tie and lip tie released and we were on the upward swing of our feeding journey.
There was this amazing moment while packing up that big rental pump and putting it back into its minty green container with the styrofoam innards that squeaked as I shoved the plastic back in. I felt this big relief when I was done with pumping and knew it was the end for sure. There was this moment of realizing how important pumping had been in keeping our breastfeeding relationship afloat during the rocky moments.
I’m celebrating World Breast Pumping Day with Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear and together with some other awesome moms I participated in a daily round up of moms who ‘Get Sh!T Done’. We all know that there is not just one way to feed your baby and one person’s experience can be completely different than your own. At the end of the day, we are all mothers who are just trying to get sh!t done!