Sunday, May 19, 2013


On Friday afternoon I came home and washed and packed away my pump parts for the weekend, just like I always do. Then I realized that having only four weeks left of school means that I might be done pumping in a month! I know a lot of people who have emotional attachments to nursing, and maybe I'll shed a sentimental tear when Clementine stops, but for now I can say with certainty that I HATE PUMPING.

Now, to be fair, I have to say that for me breastfeeding has been relatively easy. I have an oversupply, which everyone says is the problem to have (I'm thinking having no problem is the way to go), but the one good thing about having way too much milk for your baby to handle is that you can pump pretty quickly. (There are lots of bad things about oversupply: choking your baby, for one. Excessive spit up, upset newborn tummy, too much foremilk/not enough hindmilk, soaking through nursing pads, blah blah blah, etc. etc.)

Pumping quickly is a good thing when you are on a teacher's schedule. I barely have time to get my work done, let alone spend big chunks of time attached to the wall of the staff bathroom. So by now I've got it down to about five minutes- I'm in and out in a flash. I crank that thing up to full speed and if somebody needs me they just yell in through the door over the sound of the vacuum. I make phone calls, catch up on texts, and grade papers. Just kidding about the grading, I am not that dexterous. Yet.

(Yes, I pump in a bathroom. And yes, I know that sounds totally gross. But it is a clean bathroom albeit a poorly ventilated bathroom, but that's another story... I did try pumping in my classroom once many years ago, and a male teacher came looking for me, used his key to enter the room despite my cries of "I'm pumping! I'm pumping!" and proceeded to talk to me about a student while I attempted some sense of decency by swiveling my chair to face the wall. "Oh, I don't mind. I have kids," he said, completely oblivious to my shock/disgust/horror.)

I used to spend a lot of time washing the pump parts and sterilizing those tubes and such. These days I am content with a warm water rinse and life is much easier. Clementine will have a super immune system after ingesting residual middle school germs during her infancy. I am still using the same pump that I bought six years ago to use with Jack. I am pretty sure the warranty is long voided and it threatens to die from time to time (I have to rattle the cord around and thwack it a few times on the countertop and that usually kick starts the motor.)

But the whole thing does kind of bog me down. I guess because it's just one more piece of luggage to remember on my way out the door every morning, one more thing that I have to squeeze into my busy day at work, and one of the more poignant reminders that I'm not home with my baby during the day. My body is trained to respond to this artificial suction pump in the same way that it responds to my daughter. This makes me kind of sad. Some people get the milk letdown when they hear a baby cry. Mine lets down when I hear any mechanical sucking sound.

So for those five minutes when I sit and attempt to relax while hooking myself up to the pump, I let myself miss my baby. I let myself feel sad about being at work and attached to a bathroom wall instead of home cuddling and nursing my baby.

I know a lot of people who work and I know a lot who stay home. I have friends who work part time and I have friends who work overtime. I don't even want to weigh in on the working parent/stay at home parent debate because I think we are all just doing whatever it takes to raise our families and preserve our sanity. And to preserve my sanity right now, it's helpful for me to remember that I have four weeks left.

Because there's a lot going on at home that I don't want to miss...

Four more weeks. Let's hope my pump can make it!


  1. Wow I love this post. It puts things into perspective for me - I'm counting down the days (8 weeks to go until summer here) and I have nothing to come home to, really. Not compared to your beautiful babies!

    I know I've said this before but I just don't know how you do it!


  2. Your pictures are fantastic - who doesn't like to color naked??

    And - go you. You are amazing for pumping at work as long as you have, under the time/space constraints you have. Pumping moms have a special place in heaven. I never really thought of it how you phrased it - that each time you pump it really makes you focus on where you aren't. It's hard isn't it? To be providing as you are but to feel so detached from the true joy of nursing/mothering. Anyway, sorry for my blather, but my point is you are doing a great job, summer is ALMOST HERE, and your kids are adorable.