A Testimonial To All The Pumping Mamas Out There…

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By: Amy Gorsuch

What you are doing for you baby is wonderful! Even though you cannot nurse your baby, expressed breastmilk is still the best! Devoting your time to being hooked up to a machine several times a day; pumping in your car, on your breaks at work, while you play with your baby, when you have a million chores to do. Pumping is consuming my life! Washing, washing, washing all of your pump parts, bottles, nipples, caps, rings: so much time spent at the kitchen sink! There would be so much less washing if you would just give up pumping now! Lugging all you equipment with you; pump, tubing, flanges, bottles, cooler bag, ice packs. Oh, and don’t forget your keys, wallet, diaper bag, grab the baby too! The anxiety of how much milk I should be pumping, 2 oz, 8 oz, 4 oz? It will NEVER be enough! I just spent 30 minutes hooked up the a machine like a cow and all I got was 2 oz?! Are you kidding me?? My sister gets 10 oz when she pumps, what is wrong with me?! And where the hell am I going to put all this milk? Some in the fridge, rotate it to the freezer, now bring the other bags in from the deep freezer, take the other bags out. Make sure some is thawing in the fridge so your baby has some to drink the next day. Damn it, there is a bag without a date, I hope it didn’t expire, it’s 8 oz! That was at least an hour and a half of my life spent on pumping those 8 oz, I can’t throw that away!!

I am pro-breastfeeding all the way, and I love all the support breastfeeding women are receiving, feed your baby anywhere you choose; in a restaurant, on a bus, while shopping, by all means, anywhere, you will not offend me! But, this goes out to my pumping moms who are making a real sacrifice. I WISH I could just nurse my baby anywhere, other than the health benefits of breastfeeding, the convenience of breastfeeding is the best thing about it! Nursing moms, you are so lucky, if someone stares at you in public, stare back at them and wear it like a badge of honor!

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I have been exclusively pumping for 3 months now, 3 MONTHS! And if you have never exclusively pumped before, you cannot begin to imagine the time and energy invested in 3 months of pumping. Sometimes I wonder why I am still doing it, I must be crazy. Then I look at my son, my beautiful chubby-cheeked-brown-eyed son, and I quickly remember why I am making this sacrifice, all for him. I would do anything for him. Including; drifting off at my office desk while the sound of my pump soothes me to sleep, power pumping at the latest hours of the night just to get an extra ounce of milk, waking up and hour early every morning just to fit in a pumping session in before I leave for work, or pumping in the backseat of my car at almost any event I have attended over the past 3 months (wedding receptions, holiday parties, road trips). I have done it all, and frankly, I cannot believe I have made it this long.

My son always had weight gain issues. It took him 1 month to re-gain his birth weight, he had a tongue tie which was eventually snipped, acid reflux causing him to be on daily medication, and by the time he was 4 months old, his doctor diagnosed him ‘failure to thrive’ based on his measurements. Scariest moment ever. So at four months, formula it was, not just any formula, but the most expensive kind you can buy, Hydrolyzed formula (ouch on the bank account). But, because I have a supportive pediatrician, he encouraged me to continue pumping, feeling that eventually he could have my milk again. After several tests, which ruled out other conditions that could cause ‘failure to thrive’ and 2 months on formula, my baby boy was finally gaining weight, and I was still pumping. When the doctor said I could give him breastmilk again, it was finally time to give him the milk that I put so much time and effect into pumping, my hard work is paying off. While I contemplated quitting, every day I remind myself that I am making this sacrifice for him, the first of many sacrifices I will make as a mother. I have no idea how much I have pumped so far, I lost count at 2,000 oz. and I plan on pumping until I feel I am ready to stop.

I am just here to tell those pumping moms to stay with it, even when there are a million other things you would rather do with your time, it is well worth it! Sometimes with formula vs. breastfeeding battles, pumping moms are often forgotten; but now living thru it, I will always have a different kind of respect for a woman who chooses to exclusively pump for her baby. Pump on ladies, pump on!

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