Today is the first day of World Breastfeeding Week. As a breastfeeding mom who wasn’t able to nurse until her baby was 5 months old (due to latch issues), I have spent an inordinate number of hours (and continue to spend an inordinate number of hours) hooked to my breast pump. There is nothing I hate more than pumping. It’s not even hard or painful (most of the time); it’s just BORING, and because I do it for 20 minute sittings 3 to 4 times a day (it was more often in the beginning), it can feel like my pump is a ball and chain rather than a tool to help me feed my baby.
One of the only fights Chase and I ever had was over my breast pump. Whitney was just short of a month old, it was late at night, and I was pumping away and resenting every minute of it. At the time, I was using the Evenflo pumps, which sound and feel a little like a jet plane might if it could suck milk out of your boobs, and I was super frustrated because we were still fingerfeeding Whit (which takes HOURS, by the way). My entire life consisted of pumping and feeding Whitney through a tube – she would finish eating with just enough time for me to pump again for her next feeding. I kept thinking what is wrong with me, and why is my baby not latching?! I was complaining (read: crying and whining) about it to my partner and, in a moment of frustration, I slammed my breast pumps down on the table so hard, they bounced. Chase said something like “I know you’re frustrated, but you don’t have to throw the one-hundred-dollar breast pump I bought you” and I LOST IT. I screamed “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!” and ran to the bedroom, bawled my eyes out, and refused to acknowledge Chase’s existence for hours. Definitely not one of my finer moments.
Ah breastfeeding… Good times. When you’re having problems breastfeeding, it can be a very lonely experience. Chase knew less than I did about it, and even though he wanted to help and be understanding, he couldn’t do much to assist me. Whatsmore, I felt like he didn’t GET it. I didn’t think anyone really got it. Breastfeeding was really important to me, and I felt like everyone else (spare maybe my sister-in-law) thought I was silly for trying for so long (FIVE MONTHS!) when formula would have been much less stressful.
Now it’s hard to remember the days when I would cry for hours on end because my baby wouldn’t nurse. I’m happy to say that Whitney takes the breast, bottle, and sippy cup pretty much interchangeably and aside from the fact that I am still pumping for about an hour a day (give or take), feeding her is a breeze. But pumping… Man, I hate pumping.
In honour of World Breastfeeding Week, I have a tip for all of you pumping moms (I am sure by now that you’ve worked out a way to have at least one hand free while you’re hooked to that stupid machine)… GAMES. It started with Tetris on my phone, and has since morphed into online Mahjong, Mind the Blox (my current obsession), and Gluey. It may not make you forget that you’re pumping, but at least it makes the time go by faster.
Also, if, like me, you are having a hard time breastfeeding (maybe you’re doing a 4am-pump-and-cry while you read this), know that someone out there knows how bad it sucks. Also know that the suckage doesn’t last forever (even if you can’t see it yet through the tears).