Pump, Pump, Pump It Up


When I think about where all I’ve been pumping, it reads quite a bit like a Dr. Seuss book.

I have pumped in my car.

I have pumped at a bar.

How about a mall?

Or bathroom stall?

Did I pump stuffed into a closet?

Drip-dripping like a faucet?

That annoying, hateful “errrrr-shuh, errrrr-shuh” sound, the only sound I hear for twenty minutes, six times a day. At this point, I hear it in my nightmares.

Neither of my girls could figure out breastfeeding, even after multiple visits with lactation consultants and trying all their tips/tricks/gadgets.

I’m just going to be blunt: exclusively pumping straight-up blows. So why am I doing it? Why do a lot of moms do it?


Well, for starters, formula is ex-pen-sive. I just can’t bring myself to spend an extra $30-$50 a week when my baby can eat for free. And, yes, fed is best, but if I’m able to produce milk, my schedule allows time for me to pump, and my baby will drink from a bottle, I should probably give her breastmilk.

Also, there is a light at the end of the tunnel: my baby isn’t going to be 10-years-old and still drinking breastmilk. I do plan on transitioning her to formula around 6-7 months and then whole dairy milk around a year like I did with her sister. When a situation isn’t permanent, it’s easier to tolerate. I’m almost there! It’s so close! I won’t forever be a human cow (moo).

And there’s also the “I can eat pretty much whatever food I want and not gain weight” side effect of breastfeeding/pumping. While I do usually stick to a pretty healthy diet, I don’t feel guilty when I do splurge on treats because, hey, my body needs extra calories! This asiago cheese bagel with cream cheese isn’t for me. Don’t be silly. It’s for my milk production. I need it.

But it still sucks. I hook myself up to my ever-present, trusty Spectra S1 every three hours for at least 20-25 minutes. Every. Three. Hours. (Sometimes four, if I’m living dangerously). I’ve been pumping now for almost six months. I’ve pumped for over 30,000 minutes. Over 500 hours. That’s a lot of pumping. It’s not fun.

To keep myself going, I reward myself when I reach milestones.

Yes, yes, I know. The ultimate reward is a healthy, chubby baby blah blah blah. But come on. We’re all human. Can we admit that sometimes we’re selfish and want to treat ourselves? Try to tell yourself you don’t need any other reward than that when you’re setting alarms 1 AM and 4 AM to wake up in the middle of the night to connect yourself to suction cups and a machine instead of to nurse a sweet baby. It’s not exactly something to look forward to.

For example, when I hit one month of exclusively pumping, I rewarded myself with my favorite Starbucks treat – iced latte with almond milk and a little splash of toffee nut syrup.

Three months? A pedicure. And not the basic one, but the splurgy, over-the-top, exfoliating plus warm towels deal.

When I hit six months? That’s my end date. And I’m treating myself to a super deep chemical peel to address the pregnancy-associated melasma and acne scars I’ve been blessed with.

I’ll be proud to have fed my baby breastmilk for six months.

I’ll be proud to have lugged my pump bag with me to work, on car rides, to airports, to bars, to restaurants, to football games, to shopping malls.

But when I’m done? I’m going to feel so much freedom. No more throwing my pump bag over my shoulder and taking it with me literally everywhere. No more washing and sterilizing flanges and membranes every night. No more uncomfortable and lumpy pumping bras. Bye-bye, little Spectra. See ya never.

Other exclusively-pumping moms – how did you keep yourself motivated? Any tips or suggestions for women struggling with pumping?