This is exactly how my work day looks. I try to get in early so I pump before everyone else rolls into the office. I work until everyone else gets to go out for lunch socially and pump again. Then, I furiously work while I’m eating my husband-made lunch. By late afternoon, I have to excuse myself from meetings to go pump again. And then, I’m in a hurry to finish my work before I rush out the door to sit in traffic and make it to daycare on time for pick-up. I carry 3 bags to work every day, the bulkiest one being my pump bag.
It’s rather exhausting.
I’m a veteran mom, though. I dealt with all the hard stuff the first time I went back to work. The tears when my body wouldn’t letdown milk for the pump. The clogs when I wasn’t removing enough milk at each pump. The herbs, the lactation cookies, the power pumping, the lecithin, the manual pumping, the hand expression, the panic when the tiny rubber piece didn’t get packed, the chugging down a gallon of water each day, the time the mother’s room got locked and no one had a key to get in, the anxiety of my first work trip and navigating how to logistically travel and pump (still figuring out how to get this to go smoother)…
I had so many questions. I also (thankfully) had my online BFFs who I could go to for their opinions, advice and experience. Seemed everyone had to figure it out on her own or hope someone else had been through it too.
I try to zone out when I pump. I try to meditate and practice pranayama to relax my body and take my mind off of the annoying task that is pumping. I was told by well-meaning friends that I could always give my baby formula, but it wasn’t like breastfeeding wasn’t working for me. It was! Splendidly! I had ample supply, especially when I could feed my baby directly from the source. Next to birthing out babies naturally, going back to work and pumping is the hardest damn thing I’ve done in my life… and easily one of the things that makes me feel accomplished.
All this to say that when I first heard Jessica Shortall was writing a book about how to do the whole pumping and working thing, I immediately responded to the email to offer my stories. I could have really used this book before I had my first kid. I searched all over the internet for a how-to. I asked questions about it at my breastfeeding class and at a La Leche League meeting, and the answers were so vague. I needed details. I needed logistics. I needed guidance and support.
I’m campaigning as part of her crowdfunding effort to get this book self-published. I’m not being paid for this. I am so passionate about making breastfeeding work for anyone wanting to do it. And we working mamas need all the support we can get.
Please check it out at workpumprepeat.com and contribute to her project. $10 gets you an advanced copy of the e-book. $50 gets you a 3-book gift pack (I know what I’m giving my friends at their baby showers!).
Maybe I can talk Jessica into giving me a sneak peek at the travel section of the book. 😉 I have a couple trips coming up for work, and it’s already making my stomach turn in knots on how I’m going to keep all my milk cold while away from the hotel.