It’s funny. A couple of months ago, I was seriously considering switching to pumping full time because I thought it would be easier. Now that I’m having to pump for daycare bottles every day, I’m finding that pumping is a lot more work and much harder to maintain.
For starters, there’s the fact that every single time you pump, you’ve got to take several pieces apart and put them back together again. Then you have to keep all of those parts clean. Then you have to store them. With breastfeeding, it’s just pop the kid on, pop the kid off. Zip, boom, finis. There’s no preparation. No clean-up. At least not usually. No parts to be stowed away. Just your body and the baby. Let’s not even get started on the freezing process…
Plus, at work, every time I need to pump, I have to pack up and scamper off to a dark, cramped room to do my thang. It’s rushed. It’s not exactly a relaxing, peaceful environment. It’s an old printer room with a couple of curtained off rooms with mismatched, left over office furniture, a sink, and a 2,000 year old minifridge. No, really. I think the brand is written out in hieroglyphs.
Then there’s the fact that my body hasn’t really responded well to pumping. My supply? Not so plentiful these days. I barely manage to pump enough for daycare, and I usually have to pump after I get home in the evenings and dip into my frozen stash to make my bottles. I was put on Reglan to boost my supply, which had horrible side effects, so I stopped taking it after a week. I’m seriously considering ordering drugs from Canada in the hopes that something will help me make more milk.
I’ve also considered buying a new pump, because I’m not sure my Ameda PY is as effective at emptying the breast as the Medela PIS. I’m going to keep going with my Ameda for a little while longer, then try to borrow a friend’s PIS for a week or two before I decide to drop another $200+ on yet another pump.
Pumping is hard. Of course, before I was pumping, I thought nursing was hard. Trying to breastfeed your baby is challenging, period, no matter how you do it. It demands a lot of your body, of your time, of your patience.
It’s worth it, though.
When I first started breastfeeding, I told myself that if it got too hard, I could switch to formula at any time. Then, I told myself just to make it to 3 months, though my maternity leave and until I was getting a paycheck again to pay for the formula. Then, when I started working, I told myself, just make it to the 6-month mark and you can quit! After a couple of weeks, though, I’ve decided not only do I want to continue breastfeeding to a year, I would actually consider delaying weaning even beyond that. I enjoy breastfeeding, and the more I know about the health benefits, the more I want to keep doing it. Or maybe it’s just all of the oxytocin talking.
Regardless, I’m going to stick out this pumping thing if it kills me. When I was taking the Reglan, I was actually worried it might. So there you go.