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October 17, 2008

I do it but I don't like it

4 My toddler son consumed nothing but breastmilk until he was six months old and wasn't completely weaned until twenty-one months.  But, I went back to work part-time after three months.  You do the math.  O.K. So I didn't have to pump that whole time.  At the end he was only really nursing before nap and bed and maybe when he first woke up. Even those times weren't set in stone.  But I did my fair share of pumping.  And it is wretched.  I am a nurse so I would have to find an empty patient room at least twice during my 8hr. shift.  I sat on the floor with both boobs attached to the dreadful machine because I had to conserve time.  Most days, I even ate my lunch while pumping so as not to spark rumblings from fellow employees about inequitable break time.  Trust me, I would rather do any number of unpleasant nursing duties than hook myself up to this modern torture device. 

Well now, here I am again with a two- month old son and on the verge of going back to work and making pumping a regular part of my life again.  As much as I love nursing my babes, I truly hate to pump.  It is one of those necessary evils of motherhood.  For nursing to be such a natural, beautiful thing, pumping is quite the opposite - so unnatural and mechanical and downright painful.   

I do it to keep my milk supply going and to have milk for the baby to drink while I am away.   Good causes, I admit.  None-the-less, pumping is still tied with scrapping my fingernails on a chalkboard for last place on my "things I enjoy doing" list.  I know a girl who can sit down and pump for 10 minutes after nursing her baby and get like 10ounces.  This is SO not me.  I am lucky to get 2-3oz at a time with my baby nursing so much.  He is latched on as I type this, actually.  (It is amazing how good you get at multitasking with a baby on your boob.)  Maybe that is one of the reasons I hate it.... I am not that good at it.  There is innate satisfaction in nursing.  You can watch and listen and know that your baby is being fed.  They start so frantic, as if they have never ever eaten, and finish with that post-milk nirvana look that tells you they are completely content at least for that moment.   There is no such satisfaction in pumping.  I sit and watch the milk flow into the bottle and pray for at least one feeding's worth.  When I can't take it anymore and it seems the flow has stopped, I turn off the evil suction and massage my poor self back to a normal shape instead of "pump shape."         

I know it is my choice to breastfeed and to go back to work and to sacrifice to make the two compatible.  I am not afraid of formula and will use it if necessary (ie- I can't pump enough or just get weary of it).  But I would prefer it to be breastmilk as long as it can be.  So because of that, I will pump.  Is it worth it?  Of course it is.  Anything for the well-being and nurturing of my boys.  But I don't have to like it.  And I really don't. 

Original Chicago Moms Blog Post.  Farrah posts about the good and the bad of motherhood at BabyLove Slings. 


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