When I was a baby, my mom breastfed me for a long time; I think I was three when I finally weaned! So when I was pregnant with my first baby, I was determined to breastfeed him for at least a year. The first week or two was by far the hardest.
For something that is supposed to be so natural, it was so hard!
I remember going to my first son’s 2-week appointment and just crying with the lactation consultant about how I was feeding 10-minutes per side and then pumping for 10-minutes only to repeat the entire ordeal again in another hour and a half. It was just too much!
But I felt like I could push through it because my son was latching. That part was actually working pretty well and it felt pretty rewarding.
Pumping has never been enjoyable to me (and I expect to pretty much every other mother who has ever done it). I remember taking my pump along to a work team bonding event where I had to pump in the outdoor bathrooms (I brought batteries). One of my female co-workers at the time called me “Wonder Woman” and proceeded to tell me that neither of her two kids had ever latched, so she exclusively pumped for the first 6-months in both of her kids’ lives. I was in awe. I quickly told her that there is no way I would have made it as far as I did, if my kid hadn’t latched.
Pumping is awful. We do it because we love our kids and want the best for them, but the rewarding part for me is the bonding I get from breastfeeding.
Since, I’ve had two other co-workers also tell me about their challenges with breastfeeding and label me “super woman” or “super mom,” because I was still breastfeeding at 6-months, 9-months, a year. My second child has been much more challenging for me as a breastfeeding mom because his appetite is insanely large. I have had to supplement with formula and at times have felt like a failure. But the more I’ve heard stories from other moms who have said they also exclusively pumped, the more I feel they are the true “super moms.” I don’t think I could have kept it up without the reward of the latch.
I am on the email list for a local store, Bosom Buddies, which is where I bought all my breastfeeding bras (I highly recommend them!). One of their more recent emails really struck a chord in me. The blog post was titled “Did you breastfeed you baby?”
The gist of it was that if your baby ever got any breast milk from you at all, you should congratulate yourself.
We are always so quick to say why we didn’t do enough, rather than be proud of what we did. When I read this post, I started crying. I was having a hard week of not being able to pump enough for my baby and having to supplement more and more, but reading this, I realized that I had done a lot, as had those mothers who shared their stories about exclusively pumping, and I would say they did so much more than I did. They stuck with pumping. So to those moms, you are the real super moms.