“I am not a cow”, repeat.
Cows are great and all, but I have to remind myself when I’m pumping breastmilk that I can do more than a cow and that I am NOT a cow. Can a cow breakdance? Ha, didn’t think so!
But yes, I still can’t get away from feeling like one when I pump. It’s hard not to when you have a suction on your breast taking as much milk from you as possible. But oddly enough there’s something empowering about it – even when you’re pumping in a bathroom stall at a wedding;)
So how’s it empowering to pump? Ok, well first off, if I’m not pumping then I am on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days of this year (literally). Getting to pump allows me to step away for a little bit without stressing about whether I could feed my child or not. It doesn’t make me a bad or worse parent for wanting to step away. I personally think it’s healthy and helps give a mom balance.
And it’s important to note that moms experience pumping differently, we’re not all the same. But it’s helpful to share our experience so that we remember we are not alone and we have many similarities that can help us through tough times or simply educate us better.
With my eldest daughter, I pumped so that I could train for Ironman at the time and not stress about getting back exactly when she was expected to feed. Before the actual Ironman, my longest training session was 7 hours straight and I leaked in my clothes throughout (as expected). Thank goodness I sweat like it’s my job and so nobody could tell I was milking lol. And honestly, if it was an obvious thing that I was milking, then it actually would have made me feel pretty badass;) During the actual Ironman I got engorged since my race was up to 12 hours, so I manually pumped during the marathon in the porta potties along the course. A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do!
The only challenge I experienced with pumping was that my daughter refused to drink milk that was previously frozen. Freezing changed the odor and flavor due to a higher amount of lipase in my breastmilk. Check out this external resource to learn more about lipase in breastmilk: https://www.fairhavenhealth.com/lipase-breast-milk.
I remember pumping so much at the beginning in preparation for Ironman training, only to find myself defrosting more than 40 ounces of milk and pouring it down the drain – insert ugly cry face right here! Breastmilk is gold, so you can imagine how hard that was.
Now with my second daughter I haven’t even bothered to freeze milk and am focusing on her either drinking from the breast or drinking pumped milk that’s only been kept in the fridge for a few days – fortunately Baby A hasn’t shown any aversion to it yet.
It means I have to plan my weeks better to know whether I’ll need breastmilk or not, and that I have to pump right before or after a feeding regularly so that I can get enough milk in 1-2 days to satisfy my baby’s adorable cute tummy.
Tiring? Yes. Do I feel like a cow? At times. But worth it? Absolutely!
It’s also empowering for my husband as he gets a chance to feed her. My eldest daughter wants to and tries, but she needs a bit more practice;)
Is pumping something you’ve tried? Was it a bad or good experience?
Until next time,