Oh the joys of breastfeeding, or more specifically, pumping.
I started pumping almost immediately after my son was born. I pumped in the hospital around the clock and continued that when I got home. Oftentimes, I would pump one side while I nursed him on the other. This was especially true at night. But that only lasted so long, once he got more wiggly and started grabbing the cords, I gave up. Thankfully by that time my supply was well established and it didn’t really matter. There was a period of time from about 3-6 months where I would set an alarm and get up in the middle of the night to pump. Slowly, I started distancing the time between pumps and ultimately got to where we would just dream feed throughout the night and that was fine.
I’ve pumped at work since my return from maternity leave last July. During the first several months I was still renting the hospital grade pump so I could pump at home with that one and I brought the pump I received through my insurance to work. I didn’t want to have to lug an extra bag of pumps and parts back and forth every day. Once I wasn’t pumping at home that much I brought back the rental and just left my pump at work.
I can vividly remember the first time. I somehow leaked milk all down my shirt, and didn’t have a change of clothes so had to wear that as a badge of honor for the rest of the day. For some reason I set myself up in the conference room instead of my office. And that same week I forgot one of my connector things so could only do one side at a time. It was definitely a learning process.
Now I’ve got a pretty good setup. I brought in a shawl to use as a curtain to hang in my office so the adjoining windows to my boss’ office is now more private. I also made a little sign on my door for coworkers to know what I’m doing.
At first it felt somewhat of a nuisance. I was trying to get things caught up from my leave, and it felt like a constant interruption. Eventually though, I looked forward to the time I could put my curtain up, shut my door and just plug away without the outside disturbance from others. I do remember one coworker at one time grumbling “Can you let us all know what times you’ll be doing this every day”, to which I rolled my eyes and said, “No, actually, I will pump when I need to.” To be honest, it was around the same time daily so it wasn’t that big of deal. We all know some people just need to complain about everything, and frankly they were the only ones to ever say anything. My boss’ were very supportive and for that I’m grateful.
In the beginning I kept on the schedule of every 2-3 hours; I had to. If I didn’t, well, it wasn’t pretty and it got uncomfortable. But now a year later I only pump once in the afternoon. My son is slowly starting to drink more water and supplement with cow’s milk. It’s bittersweet. We still nurse on demand when we’re together, and I won’t stop that until he shows me he wants to.