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June 13, 2006

Pump in Style with No Style

I recently returned from a five-day business trip in New York. A trip that overall went really well except for one thing, I am still breastfeeding.

    Now I know that there are some of you out there that think breastfeeding is a magical experience that should be cherished and extended as long as physically possible For me… not so much.

I have never honed the skill of public breastfeeding and can’t quite get my son in the right position without flashing either a huge salami-sized nipple or a couple (okay maybe a few) of those post-partum tummy rolls. Yet every time I go in for a check-up my pediatrician asks me, “Your still breastfeeding, right? It’s really best to keep it up for at least a year.” I smile begrudgingly and feel relieved that I made it another two months.

    Now back to my trip…

    I had to take along my breast pump, keep it with me at all times and try to fit in a 20-minute pumping session every three to four hours. I had people banging on bathroom stalls asking me if I was okay, people staring at me as I exited the stalls with a ‘large suspicious bag’ and I even had one person peek over to see what the noise was coming from my stall. The icing on the cake was when my business partner and I went into a children’s store and asked if they knew of a good place that I could pump, they all looked at each other said they couldn’t think of any.

    What I don’t understand about the whole breastfeeding thing is, if it’s so good for your baby then why is it so hard???

    I supposed it’s the old adage of not knowing what it’s like until it happens to you. I will say that I did get a few “I know what you’re going through,” smiles from women who recognized my “Pump in Style” bag. I still remember these women’s faces and the warm feeling of “this too will pass” I got from them. Until society catches up and public places have more ‘breast friendly” facilities I suppose the smiles will have to make do.

    What did we learn today? Next time you see another mother struggling, as we all do with one thing or another, be sure to give her the “this too will pass” smile.