Ever wonder what it’s really like have to be a breast pumping mama? Did I hear a very enthusiastic “yes!” Well, even if your “yes” wasn’t all that enthusiastic (or even if you yelled “no”), I thought I’d share my new experiences and observations on the phenomena of pumping at work, or anywhere for that matter that is away from your baby.
What I am sharing in this post are my experiences with pumping thus far. If you have been following this blog for awhile, you know that I just went back to work a little while ago. For now, I work three days at home and two days in the office.
Along with giving a list of odd things about pumping (as seen through my, and likely only my, eyes), I also offer an insider’s look into a day of pumping consciousness, or the thoughts and sensations that I have, and maybe you will have, experienced when having to pump away from your baby in a place of work, restaurant, etc. I say all of this to give you the opportunity now to a) stop reading or, and if you like, b) yell or roll your eyes at me through your computer screen.
(Five second pause) If you made it past the words “computer screen,” I am going to assume that you’re still interested? Great! Continue reading then.
Now, I’ll admit, I have only pumped away from my baby three times, once last week and twice this week when I had to work in the office. Even with these few experiences, I was able to come to some conclusions about, what I like to call, “away from baby pumping.”
My first conclusion is that it (pumping, I mean) is, when you really think about it, kind of odd. And here are five (trust me, I could give more) reasons why:
1). It is a machine that is serving in place of a baby. Yeah, I know what you’re likely thinking, “Well, duh. It’s a machine. What did you expect?” Yes, you are right. It is a machine. But, for some reason, I did not realize how mechanically odd the act of pumping is until I had to do it a) in an publicly used environment, b) without a baby around, and c) (for working mamas) in the midst of working on some totally unrelated project that my boss gave me ten minutes before.
2). When it’s over with (the whole pumping session), you have to carry your own fresh milk. I don’t know, but I, upon finishing have the urge to ring a bell and say “fresh milk coming through.” Thankfully, however, I don’t because my co-workers would likely think I’m crazy. I still do get the urge, nonetheless.
3). You have to create baby-related mental stimuli in order to relax. Seeking to find the calm before my let down, I listened to the world around me. Yes, the world that existed beyond the sound of raindrop like breast milk, the hummmm of my office’s very noisy air conditioner, and the yesidiiiiiiiiiiiiid yesidiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid of Medela telling me it’s time to let down. Yes, it was an odd thought to have, one almost interrupt by the sound of… What was that?… Someone trying to open the door? (Internal thought: What the —?!) “I’m in here!” Now, where was I. Oh, yes, Medela was telling me it’s time to let down. “Am I letting down?” Hmmm, I guess so. Yesidiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid. Yesidiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
4).You have to carry around the Medela “purse or book bag,” which most moms or aware dads know to be the badge of a “breast-pumping mama.” When carrying my pumping bag around, I always imagine that others are saying things like, “Looook-ie thar, it’s a pumpin’ mama. We better be nice to herrrrr.”Yes, this is likely all in my head, but it is, nonetheless, very real to me.
5). You have to put your pumped breast milk in a little thermal tote in a refrigerator (other than your own) that likely smells like a “food fart,” or you know the foul smell emitted from a refrigerator when too many different foods have been left in for too long, and even though it has always been cleaned, the smell remains? Yeah? That smell.
I could name more reasons, but I will stop at five in order to salvage what smells like a burning pancake on the stove. But, help me out ladies. If you have had to pump (either as a sahm, wahm, or in the office mom), what have your experiences been like? Please tell me I am not the only weird one who is finding this whole pumping thing a little odd.