Doing the Pump

I have a love-hate relationship with my pump. In fact, I like to imagine that this is the theme song that plays whenever I get it out.

I am incredibly grateful to whoever invented the breast pump. It has allowed me to continue to provide breastmilk to my son whenever I have to be away from him. Since I am a mom who works full-time outside of the home, a pump is indispensable to me. However, I HATE having to pump.

There is something rather cow-like in having your breasts attached to the pump. In fact, it doesn’t help matters when your loving husband wanders up just as you’re pumping and muses out loud, “Wow, you kinda look like a cow!” To which I sarcastically reply, “Moo!”

The pump is that impersonal. It makes me feel like a mere supplier of milk rather than the mama feeding her baby. I can’t look into the pump’s eyes as I feel the sweet release of milk let-down. I don’t play “yummy baby fingers” with the pump. I don’t nurse the pump to sleep.

Instead, I try not to obsess about the amount of milk that’s accumulating in the bottle. I try to distract myself from looking at the bottles so that I can achieve a let-down. I look at the clock in my office to see if I’ve been pumping for too long. I try to do some work while I’m pumping so that I can convince myself that I’m not overextending a break. I try not to freeze to death in my cold office while pumping. I wish I was nursing rather than pumping.

This is not to say that nursing straight from the breast is the “end-all, be-all” and always full of sweetness and light. Au contraire, there have been moments where I’ve wanted to pull my hair out during a nursing session but I would personally rather deal with those frustrating moments than pump.

And yes, I know that I am incredibly privileged to be able to pump milk for my child when other mothers have to battle for the right to do so. And yes, I know I’m incredibly lucky that I’m able to pump out a decent supply of milk when there are mothers whose bodies never respond well to a pump at all. And yes, I know I probably sound whiny.

So I suck it up and continue the love-hate journey with the pump because I can, and need and want to. I shall simultaneously be joyful and sad when the day I don’t need it anymore comes.


Posted on February 6, 2010, in Breastfeeding, Pumping. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I also hated the inconvenience and impersonality of pumping and was privileged to choose to do it only occasionally since I work from home. I have nothing but respect for you and all the other full-time working mamas who pump. You’re giving such an incredible gift to your son.

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