Today is World Breastpumping Day. It’s also National Chocolate Cake Day. National cookie day would have been a better fit but chocolate cake and milk go great together. Pumping is a topic near and dear to my heart (get it?!).
Working at the Railroad I am proud to have forged new roads for women in my industry. With these frontiers comes the opportunity to figure how the hell to do things like pump at work.
With My son, I started the classic pump at work route: medela pump, hands free bra and an unoccupied closet to pump in. One day of that and I needed to find a better option. Through a recommendation from a friend I found Freemie Collection cups. The cups fit into your bra, tubes get plugged in and funneled down your top and voila- you can pump discretely with your top on. At the time i worked in a command center and was still using my Medela pump which sounded something like an oil rig. So, I set up an auxiliary office, pumped while monitoring the operation remotely and when necessary I pulled the tubes out and stepped back into the command center to lead the team as necessary. Working with all men, most had no idea what I stepped out to do and as far as I know no one realized the cups were still in my shirt (obviously not wearing tighter tops postpartum).
I bought a car adapter and pumped to and from work to save frequency of pumping while at work.
I returned to work 12 weeks postpartum with my son and to prep him for daycare I offered him to a bottle somewhere around 6 weeks. Once my darling boy had that bottle he was done with me. After several tearful weeks of trying everything the Internet told me to I settled on being an exclusive pumper. I have never done so many dishes in my life! To make matters more complicated (and tearful, lots of tears in those days) my freezer stash turned at about 8 weeks due to high lipase (you can read about it here). My commitment to EBF my kid didn’t change, but damn it was hard. I’m proud to say I exclusively pumped for 9 months before supplementing with formula.
With the confidence of one kid, I committed to EBF my daughter (now 6 months), but Round two proved to have its own unique set of challenges.
I got a new job.
Still with the Railroad but in a new position that required me to lead a large team over a big territory (think LA to San Diego and out to the Arizona Border). How in the hell was I going to pull off pumping on the road? Well- I bought a cooler, upgraded to a Spectra battery operated pump, bought and extra set of Freemies and splurged on the Willow (will need to write a separate post on my review of it). With three sets of flanges/cups I wouldn’t need to do dishes. I kept the cooler stocked with ice and I planned my drives with pump stops to swap out.
I am empowered about feeding my baby while working on the Railroad. I have pumped at derailment sites, in countless meetings and business lunches. In short- I don’t give a shit, I pump when I need to. Also, my colleagues are largely oblivious. The spectra is extremely quiet as is the Willow once in expression mode. Most of the men I work with have kids and experienced their wives breastfeeding, other guys will curiously ask questions but most don’t even realize.
I have spent nearly two years of my life letting a machine milk me to sustain my children and have learned all the hacks. But the greatest lesson – feeding your baby is the most natural thing in the world.