Milkin’ It

Today was the very last day that I pumped at work to make milk for Olive.  Last.  Final.  Finito!!  I haven’t just been counting down the days, I’ve been counting the actual pumping sessions, and today’s three were the very last!  I’m so glad that this is not also the end of breastfeeding, so I can feel totally, unequivocally happy about this ending.  I have no ambivalence.

At times it's felt like I could drown in it.

As I stated before, pumping is my least favorite part of parenting.  A truly necessary evil, it has allowed me to continue giving my baby all the goodies in breastmilk while being able to work so we can live.  So of course I am grateful for the technology, and so glad to work at a job where I have the option to pump, blah blah blah.  However, since I have hated every moment of it, I am not sad to retire that pump and those bottles, moving on to a time in my life where I will not spend my lunch and every single break with machinery attached to my ta-tas, looking at pictures of Olive on Facebook in order to let down, gritting through the pain and counting the minutes until they reach 20.

I am so very ready to be done.  In a few months, when I raise a bit of money, I’m going to go to the bra department at Nordstrom’s, and have my newly-deflated bags o’ milk measured, and then I’m going to buy those puppies the most beautiful non-nursing bras I can possibly get my hands on.  They will be impenetrable, the kind that vexes high schoolers trying to get to second base, with all the lace and loveliness I can stand.

Pumping at work, though a luxury, is really fricken annoying.  Putting your bodily fluids in the staff refrigerator is gross and vulnerable, even tucked away in their black cooler.  Everyone knows what’s in there — milk you pumped out of your body, behind the closed door of your office.

If only it were this glamorous...

Having to wash the spouts at the staff sink, while your co-worker tries to ask you about your fluid intake, “How much soup do you have to drink to make milk?  Lots of soup, right?”  I don’t know who is mainlining Campbell’s to make milk, but I’m more apt to be scarfing down chocolate bars, whether or not it creates breastmilk.  Hands-free pumping (pictured to the right) is a total joke.  Maybe the bra Miss Audrey there is wearing would work better than the one I had, but the time I put all the rubber clamps & straps in place and tried to type and actually have the pump work at the same time, I just guffawed with how much of a total failure it was, and went back to giving up the time for lost.  Gratefully, I had a computer in front of me, so I could read emails from co-workers, articles related to my jobby job, etc.  And it was psychologically important to have reminders, throughout the day, of my baby.  But now I will take the time to think of her without feeling like a cow in factory farm, thank you very much.

So I am jubilant today, and triumphant.  I made it to a year!  Breastfeeding has not been an easy journey, and I am glad to have made it this far.  Goodbye, heavy bag with coolers and ice packs and technological equipment that I lug to and fro on public transit!  Goodbye, sterilization and painstaking cleaning of all the little parts that get gunked up with breastmilk (hecka gross)!  And to all those Mama’s out there still attached to the machine — your time will come.  In the meantime, listen to some Technotronic, and pump up the jam.  Pump it up, and then one day, like me, you’ll be able to gladly put it down.

pump it up
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3 thoughts on “Milkin’ It

  1. Sasha is right, this is one of your best posts yet for many reasons. Put that pump away and don’t think about it for a long time! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – there’s gotta be a better way…someone needs to build a better mousetrap. Miss you.

  2. LOVE this one, Rhea. I pumped for 3 months each with both kids, and hated it, too. I did, however, successfully make a hands-free bra by cutting slits in an old jogging bra… I am awesome. So that helped. But I still hated it. I felt so guilty not being able to nurse my kids; then guilty for giving up the pumping. But I’m happy that they got as much breast milk as they did. And so happy and free not having to do that anymore. Funny enough, I immediately filled up all that extra time in my day- don’t ask me how :) I nodded my head a lot at this post… so I had to tell you: “right on, sister!” I love reading about your thoughts. Miss you and kiss the birthday girl for me! ps… nice comment, profferguson ;-)

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