The struggle is real. Ohhhh the struggle is real. I feel like I should hashtag that. Anyways, the battle with the breast pump continues to be a source of daily stress in this working mama’s life.

It’s a battle worth fighting for me and my boy, because I am at a place in mine and my son’s life where I would like to feed him breast milk as much as possible. He is not exclusively breastfed, and has not been since week 6. Go ahead, judge me a little if you want.

I struggle with what I would imagine many nursing mama’s do when they return to work; hoping that I get enough milk in the day to feed him the next day while I’m away from him. Let’s run through a little checklist quick.

Was it easy to incorporate pumping into my work day? Making pumping part of the routine was easy for me. I am fortunate enough to have my own private office where I can close the door when I need to with my “Do Not Disturb :)” sign. My supervisor also just rocks, and the one time she has needed me to do something during my normal pumping time, kindly asked if I could move my pumping time around a little on an upcoming day to accommodate something we have going on at work. Making pumping part of my daily routine and not feeling stressed about it, check.

Am I still able to do my job while pumping? There is no law that says I need to continue to work while pumping, but I like to. I think I am pretty efficient at it. I check and respond to emails, do some planning behind the scenes, and continue to answer the phone. I may not be meeting with students, but I work with a kick ass team who would, if a student was waiting outside my door, take them immediately and help with what they need. Efficiency at the job while pumping, check.

Pumping enough while at work to feed my baby while he is away from me, not even close. No “check” in this category. In my 3 pumping sessions per day I pump about 5 ounces. Um, he eats about 15-20 while at daycare. You do the math. Check.

The amount of stress I put on myself because of this is insane. I end up in my office hand expressing every last drop out. And let me tell you, there is enough left in there to be doing that. I then get tearful and start googling lactation support, text my friends asking how much they are getting when they pump, get excited when the milk starts flowing again, then back to being tearful when I realize I didn’t get that much at all, and then becoming thankful I can provide what I can at all. Start from the beginning, and repeat.

It’s a vicious cycle. I will probably continue to use this inefficient machine so that while at work  I can provide for him the meal I have created. I wish I would just
cut myself some slack sometimes. In the end, my son is loved, and fed. Fed with breast milk, and fed with formula sometimes, and that is okay.


Photograph by Wilder Zandonella