Kate’s Pumping Story
"I am a mom of four. My current pumping journey is with my 18-month-old daughter, whom I have been with 24/7. I work full time but get to bring my daughter with me. So I pump for others. I pump for my friend Julie who cannot produce enough milk for her daughter and wanted to get her to a full year on breast milk. I pump for my friend Jessica who adopted a daughter the exact same age as my daughter. I pump for the emergencies. And I also pump for the strangers who post that they need milk for their little ones and don’t have enough. I pump on my commute to work. I pump on my breaks. I pump on my commute home. I pump in public. I pump in my car. I pump at home. I pump everywhere because my body has been blessed with the gift of milk, milk that has nourished so many babies. Four of those babies have grown and flourished in front of my own eyes. Others I have helped grow through the community of motherhood and moms who stick together to support one another. Pumping has made my life richer. I have learned so much about milk, pumps, nursing, and motherhood through pumping."
Maribeth’s Pumping Story
"My daughter is our second baby, so breastfeeding (and pumping) was not new to me. I breastfed and pumped for my son until he turned one. Still, I didn't assume our relationship would be exactly the same this time around, and of course, it wasn't. I started pumping just two days postpartum when our baby girl had lost just a bit too much weight since birth. I had a supply, but every time we put her to breast, she would latch, suck a few times, and then fall asleep! It was very frustrating. So it was recommended that I attempt to breastfeed every feeding, and then pump and give a bottle if necessary every other feeding. Sure enough, she gained quite a bit of weight by the very next day. And she started preferring the bottle, at least for daytime feeds. Her preference was solidified when I went back to work at three months.
I was a bit bummed because it's not fun to have to remember to bring a pump wherever you go or to take the time to thaw out milk. And there are so, so many dishes to wash and sterilize just from the pumping equipment and bottles. But there are some perks to pumping. For instance, when I went back to work full time after maternity leave, I knew my baby wouldn't have trouble eating. Her dad could feed her from early on, so I had a lot more free time to spend with our toddler or do things around the house, or leave and run errands. Also, we could better estimate the amount of milk she was drinking, which helped ease my anxiety, especially when she got her first cold. Lastly, I happen to be overproducing. That means I produce more milk than our girl can reasonably drink. So I've been able to donate my excess frozen breast milk to a local organization called Mother's Milk Alliance. They then distribute it to local mothers who request it for their babies.
I'm very fortunate because my workplace has a dedicated room for pumping. I pump once or twice a day during work, and then once when I get home. Baby girl's daycare is also connected to my workplace, so at lunch, I can go visit and attempt to breastfeed. This is our routine, and it's very time consuming, but it works well for us. While I sometimes long for a more ‘perfect’ breastfeeding relationship with my girl, ours is perfectly fine, because she's ridiculously happy, healthy, growing, and fed. And that makes me ecstatic."
Anisha’s Pumping Story
"My journey of breastfeeding and pumping began when I found out I was pregnant with my first baby - that was back in 2015. From that moment, I knew I was going to breastfeed my baby. There was no doubt in my mind. I’d seen my mom breastfeed my younger sister and brother, along with my aunts who breastfed my younger cousins, so it was just a natural choice for me. Although breastfeeding was normal to me, pumping was not. I’d never seen a breast pump before, and I definitely didn’t know how it worked. The first few tries were not as easy as I thought because, and this may be TMI, I had inverted nipples. So it was a bit difficult. The nurses at the hospital gave me a suction thingy that helped along with pumping, that made my body change form, and from then on, it was smooth sailing. My nipples were no longer inverted, and my second baby had no issues latching on right away.
I consider myself pretty lucky since I’m proudly breastfeeding and still pumping for my 2.5-year-old! I’ve been pumping for as long as I’ve been breastfeeding him! My job allows me to pump for a half an hour each day. There have been very few times where it was challenging (when he was teething and would chomp down on me and when I’ve gotten a blocked duct, but between pumping and having my newborn nurse, it went away), but mostly our journey has been very blessed, and the bond we share is one that is special and dear to my heart.
Our journey blossomed into something even more wonderful when I found out we were expecting to add a little baby girl for the ride! I was always asked if I would wean my son in order to feed my daughter. My answer was always the same, ‘I will be breastfeeding them both!’ I’m so grateful that our bodies provide the food, nutrition, and development for our little ones!
My husband also gets to enjoy the journey because he’s at home with the babies during the day, and he gets to feed them the milk that I’ve produced and pumped. From my pumping every workday, I’ve been able to build up a pretty abundant stash. I’m so very thankful for being able to provide them this miracle liquid of life!
I not only feed my babies the milk my body produces for them, but we use breast milk for rashes, we freeze it for treats, and we’ve actually cooked with it when we ran out of other milk! In other words, breast milk is very versatile!
I’ve had such a wonderful time breastfeeding and pumping for my babies, and I will continue to do so until they naturally wean themselves! It also reinforces my choice of breastfeeding when I get people, men and women both, who come up to me when I’m breastfeeding my baby and say they admire me for doing that, even in public. I can’t say enough how amazing a journey it is, and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon!"
Amanda’s Pumping Story
"When my daughter was born, it seemed like everyone and their sister (and their cousin, and their roommate’s aunt…) had advice to dole out. Wisdom said to take it with a grain of salt, let it go in one ear and out the other, smile and nod, etc. But to be honest, as a first-time mom with no idea what she was getting into, it was hard not to listen. One area where I really needed a guiding hand was figuring out how to feed my baby. On that October morning when they placed her on my chest, they also placed on my shoulders the responsibility of keeping this tiny human alive -- now how the heck was I going to do it?
I read (and read, and read…) books, online Q&A boards, mommy blogs -- so much conflicting advice about the best nursing positions, which bottles and support pillows had the best reviews, and the most anxiety-inducing, best practices for pumping. Down the spiral I went: if I started pumping too soon, I would create an oversupply and be doomed to live with bowling ball breasts until baby started kindergarten. If I waited too long, my supply would tank, baby would never take a bottle, and I’d certainly have to hire a wet nurse. I got so freaked out that I hid my brand new pump in a closet, like the monster under the bed.
Thankfully, that initial period of worry and stress seems like a bad dream now. When I started pumping at six weeks postpartum, I began a journey that would find me both discouraged by the lack of an adequate pumping area in the public school where I worked AND buoyed by the opportunity to advocate for one, humiliated by having to hand express at 2am in a bar bathroom when my travel pump failed on a girls’ weekend AND empowered by the generosity of a fellow momma who loaned me hers, and exhausted by the never-ending pumping sessions (seven times a day at one point) just to have enough to send to daycare the next day AND endlessly grateful for my body’s ability to provide nourishment for my daughter. I learned to listen to my body as it coordinated with the needs of my daughter to create our own rhythm. Perhaps more importantly, I learned that we could do without the well-intentioned but often misleading and fear-inducing ‘help’ from strangers online, but not without the support and encouragement of family, friends, coworkers, and the rest of our wonderful momma tribe. At nine months into our breastfeeding/pumping journey, we are hopeful to make it to one year exclusively breastfed!"
Chila's Pumping Story
"My journey with breastfeeding wasn't something I sought after or gave much thought to, before having my first child. ‘I'll give it a try,’ was what I said through my entire pregnancy when asked, and even right after birth when the nurses wanted to know if I wanted to bottle feed or breastfeed. But then something happened. I fell in love with the bonding. The feeling. The empowerment. I was nourishing my child, even though they were no longer tucked away in my womb! Such a blessing! It was no longer ‘I'll give it a try.’ It had become ‘I'll do whatever it takes.’
Now, almost six years later, I have three children, all of whom have been nourished with their mama’s milk well beyond a year - an accomplishment that makes my soul sing! It hasn't been easy. There's been mastitis, clogged ducts, sleepless nights, weeks, months...cluster feedings and nursing strikes! I feel like I've been through it all. As a working mother, pumping is the only thing that could save our breastfeeding relationship. I knew I had to keep my supply up for my growing babes. It was my mission to make it work, even though I had to return to work!
I know the laws, and breastfeeding mothers have rights, but where I work, it just isn't practical. I don't get to pump during my workday. This means extra early mornings to pump pump pump till I am empty and rushing through traffic to get home so I can nurse and pump again till empty once more. I feel very lucky to have been able to make it through this, as I know going long hours without pumping or nursing can hurt a supply drastically! But I persevered for all three children and am incredibly thankful to have been able to do so! It can be exhausting and hard at times, but it will always be worth it!"
Cinthya’s Pumping Story
"Being Rafaela's mom is the greatest blessing in my life. Since I knew she was coming to this world, my life changed completely. I knew from that moment I was going to make sure everything I did was going to be to give her the most loving, happiest, and healthiest life possible.
Breastfeeding and pumping have definitely been two of the most important decisions I have made for my baby, for me, for us! I started pumping two weeks before going back to work, and I was afraid it was going to hurt, that I wasn't going to produce as much milk, that she was going to get confused with the bottle, that she was going to cry and miss me! But none of this happened. She became a pro with the bottle, and I learned to love my pump. I pump three times while I am at work, and sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night to get extra milk for my daughter.
I love breastfeeding my baby and getting to see her big black eyes looking right at mine while she is taking all of her nutrients right from me. But it is a relief and a true blessing knowing that she is still having my milk and all of its nutrients while I'm gone and that she gets to share that moment with her daddy too. Now that I am a mom I thank, love, and admire my mom even more! Being a mommy is a full-time job, the most amazing and rewarding of all!"
We hope these stories lifted you up, and we hope you'll share yours! For more encouragement, read BraveMom Bethaney's exclusive pumping story. For pumping tips, check out our posts on breast milk storage and pumping at work. Also, join our Facebook group KindredMamas and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. For even more support, check out our amazing collection of nursing bras!