Pumping, Pondering and Partying
I have a 15 month old baby girl. She loves taking baths with her brother, pulling baby wipes out of the packet while I am not looking, ripping paper to shreds, unrolling toilet paper rolls and cheese puffs. She LOVES cheese puffs. She also LOVES nursing.
Or should I say loved?
I feel pretty proud of myself that I managed to keep up the whole nursing gig for as long as I did. I had very low expectations after my experience with little Beau Beau. Nursing just never really clicked for us. He was always starving and, as a result, an irritable little nugget.
After a particularly tear-filled night, my mama suggested that maybe, just maybe, I should try and give him a little formula.
And…just like that…he slept.
That was really all it took to make me a firm believer in the importance of feeding your baby. It turns out that babies don’t really like starving. Fair enough.
By 4 months Beau was mostly formula fed. And by 6 months, the nursing gig was totally up. He was a formula baby. And, quite honestly, I was (and still am) totally fine with that.
Funny side note: We were always told to be weary of Chinese baby formula so we used a German imported brand instead. It came with German instructions, naturally. And probably this goes without saying, but we don’t read German. We only realized many months after he stopped drinking formula that we had been giving him twice the amount of formula he needed per bottle. Whoops. This might explain the picture below:
Even before Beau came along, I was always a big proponent of the do-whatever-the-f*$k-works-for-you approach when in comes to breastfeeding. Actually, this really is my approach to everything in life, not just breastfeeding.
You wanna ride motorcycles? Do whatever the f*$k works for you.
You wanna live in the city? Do whatever the f*$k works for you.
You wanna live in the suburbs? Do whatever the f*$k works for you.
You want your partner to dress up like Cookie Monster and feed you grapes? Do whatever the f*$k works for you.
You wanna go to bible study? Do whatever the f*$k works for you (Okay…I’ll admit that this one sounds so wrong in this context, but the principle is the same, so I’m going with it)
So long as you aren’t hurting anybody else (or…and this is VERY important… creating more work for me), I truly do not care what you do.
With Finners, the plan was always to do whatever the f*$k worked for us.
Nursing worked. But once I went back to work full-time, in order to keep it up, I had to introduce the pump.
For 14 long months, the pump was my best friend and worst enemy. We got to know each other intimately through our COUNTLESS hours spent together, often in very peculiar places.
Let me illustrate this point further by providing you with a non-exhaustive list of the places I have pumped:
My parent’s house
My in-laws house
My friend’s house
The car (while Brado was driving)
The car (while parked in a parking lot)
The nail salon (in a private room, mind you)
The nurses office at school
Public restrooms in restaurants
Public restrooms in bars
Public restrooms in airports (which, FYI, Singapore Airport is probably the nicest public restroom you could ever hope to pump in)
The great wheel in Seattle…just kidding, but I did seriously consider it.
I am very aware that pumping is a luxury and, please let it be stated on record, that I am very thankful for it. Because of its existence, I was granted some slivers of freedom and independence. And that is no small thing for a new mama.
But damn if pumping isn’t also a laborious, cumbersome, terribly inconvenient, time-consuming, and gigantic pain in the ass. Also, there is nothing “stylish” about it, Medula…but nice try. If you have never pumped, you will not get that last joke. But then again, if you have never pumped, chances are you are NOT reading this post because the very thought of milk coming out of a person’s boobs makes you queasy and nauseous. I digress…
The point is that today, friends, I am done. Like Blockbuster’s done. Like Downtown Abbey after next season done. Like Brian Williams’ career done.
And while I know many women shed a tear or two over this this massive milestone, I gotta say, I did not. To be perfectly honest, I’m ALL smiles. In fact, I’m thinking about throwing a Nobody-is-Deriving-Nutrients-from-my-Boobs Party. Cause…well…I earned it. That shit was exhausting.
Need further proof? I give you Exhibit A:
You might remember, but last March I took a solo jaunt to Singapore for a girls’ weekend. I was still nursing quite a bit, so I needed to bring my pump with me. Having never been on a flight without my organic pump (a.k.a. my daughter), I think it is safe to say I didn’t really think things through.
I packed my pump in my suitcase. I wasn’t bringing a carry-on and I did not want to lug the heavy pump all over tarnation. Plus, it was an overnight flight due to arrive in Singapore the next morning at 5 a.m. So essentially it would feel normal not to nurse during that time period — like Finely sleeping through the night. It would be fine. I would just pump first thing in the morning when I got off the plane. No biggie. I could do this.
What I did not account for were delays and missed connections. The kind of delays where you have to be put up in a hotel to wait for next flight which, by the way, doesn’t leave for another…oh…six hours or so.
It was 2 in the morning and already my boobs were about to explode. Now I was staring at a good 10+hour time span before I would be reunited with my suitcase, and more importantly, my pump.
In this moment and for the 10 boob-hardening hours that followed, I knew this shit had to end. The madness had to stop. And when it did….I would rejoice.
What is Exhibit B, you ask?
Are you serious? Do you honestly need more proof? How dare you!
Anyway, over the summer we made it our mission to wean our little one. I say “we” because it really was a group effort (Thanks Brado and Nancy!). Come hell or high water, that little girl was going to stop nursing.
And guess what? She did.
And guess what? She is still alive.
And so am I.
And I get to reclaim my life.
Or, at least my boobs.
So that’s a start, right?
What have you been reclaiming these days? Your garden? Your sanity? Wood? Talk to me.