To all my moms who exclusively pump for their little ones,
I know, at first, you feel like a failure. You worry you will be missing that bond with your baby that other nursing mothers have. You blame yourself. I know I did.
I cried, not sure why my little one could not latch. Not sure what to do about feeding my sweet little baby. She depended on me for food, but trying to breastfeed left both of us feeling frustrated…and one of us hungry.
You worry if you are strong and patient enough to continue pumping. Formula would be easier and quicker. Pumping is time-consuming and frustrating. It hurts, it’s boring, your milk supply is not consistent. It is so extremely hard.
Sitting in a chair, machine on and attached, pumping for 30 minutes….every 3 hours. “Power pumping” for a couple of hours in 15 minute increments in attempts to trick your body into thinking your baby is more hungry…just to increase your supply.
How many lactating cookies did you eat? How much mother’s milk tea did you drink? Just to get enough milk for the baby’s next bottle.
You fight with yourself…you could give up, formula feed the baby. But no, you know breast milk is best, so you continue to pump. Day after day after day.
I know for me, people always look at me with shock when I tell them I am STILL pumping. “I could never do that,” they tell me. Little do they know how frustrating it is and how much I have contemplating giving up.
If they only saw me, just last week, when I spilled my freshly pumped milk. That is one of the most disheartening and frustrating moments any pumping mother experiences. All you can do is cry…realizing your baby is a bottle short now. “No use crying over spilled milk,” people say… Those people have clearly never spent 30 minutes trying to pump a bottle full of milk.
I know the struggle. I am living that “cow life” (as I like to call it). My little one is nearly a year old. I have exclusively pumped for her since day one…and am STILL pumping. That is 12 months of pumping…how much time is that you may ask?
By the time my daughter is 12 months, I will have spent approximately 43,800 minutes pumping. That is 730 hours, nearly 31 days…all of pumping. That is a hell of a lot of time…but my daughter’s health and chubby thighs are worth every second.
I still get disappointed in myself when I can’t pump enough, even though I know with working full-time it is only a matter of time till my milk supply dwindles down. However, I still pump as much as I can for my little girl, because I know her getting breast milk it more important than my feelings of self-doubt.
So, to all those mommies that are pumping…don’t give up. You should be proud of yourself for sacrificing so much time and effort to better your little one. They are worth every frustration, pain, and tear.
At the end of the day, do what is best for you and your baby. From one pumping mummy to another, I am proud of you!