The Mommy Diaries: Breaking Up With My Breast Pump
Welcome to ellie’s The Mommy Diaries, where we hear from moms who are juggling the agony and the ecstasy of life, work, relationships, and parenting. In each installment, we ask a mom to share what’s going on in her world.
This installment of the Mommy Diaries comes from Sonja Dziekciowski. Sonja Dziekciowski is a former elementary school teacher whose hobbies include forgetting to water plants, leaving strollers behind in parking lots, and making you feel better about your own frequent mistakes by sharing hers on her blog Too Much Character, where she finds funny and good in everyday, while sharing ways to support the children and important people in your life.
Breaking Up With My Breast Pump
By some miracle, I found time to start decluttering a closet and came face to face with my frenemy, the breast pump.
It’s been six months since we broke up, but there is still a lot of baggage there. Seeing this pump sparked rage.
Where in the Marie Kondo method does she explain what to do with your old breast pump?
My first thought was, I want to finish it off.
You know, like the scene in Office Space where they take the fax machine out to a field to sledgehammer it? I envisioned this with smug satisfaction.
Or perhaps my pump should have had a Vikings funeral. Sending it sailing off in flames seemed fitting.
I also imagined chucking it into a body of water.
Launching it into a lake would be the perfect ending for a machine that made me feel like I was drowning in new motherhood.
However, as I thought about it, all of these methods seemed too barbaric for a machine that I spent a lot of quality time with.
I mean, we shared meals together. I lost sleep over it, obsessing about it all hours of the night. I cried over it too many times.
When I looked at that machine, my chest tightened thinking of my undiagnosed postpartum anxiety that caused me to be fixated on it.
My breast pump experience began after being readmitted into the hospital four days postpartum due to HELLP Syndrome.
My husband went home to care for our newborn while I was hooked up to an IV to prevent seizures.
This scenario wasn’t included in the new parent classes.
You know the saying, fed is best? Well, as a mama who has done it all, I know that mothers fret over any method of feeding their baby.
I know the guilt, the worry, and the obsession that goes into ALL types of feeding a baby. Formula, exclusively pumping, supplementing, breastfeeding? All make you wonder if it is being done correctly.
And you know what, mama? You are in charge of figuring out what is best for you and your baby.
But sometimes that decision isn’t made by you.
As I worked on recovering from my first birth experience, my son and I weren’t able to figure out a proper latch.
I entered the world of exclusively pumping.
Knowing the benefits of breast milk kept me pumping for three months. Three months of obsessing over my pumping schedule, sanitizing parts, and crying over spilled breast milk.
I was comforted that I could still give my son breast milk, even if it didn’t come straight from the tap.
Soon my son’s dairy sensitivity threw a wrench in those plans.
I went dairy free for two months. It took what little was left of my sanity.
I’m a Midwest gal. Dairy is the stuff our state fairs are made of.
After a huge, hangry meltdown due to spilled food, I decided a reunion with dairy was necessary. I also needed the freedom of not being attached to an outlet several times a day.
For my birthday that year, I gave myself the gift of feasting on dairy and weaning myself off the machine. It was costly to buy formula for dairy sensitivity, but my sanity was worth much more than that.
Fast forward two and a half years to my second baby.
I was closely monitored leading up to a normal delivery without complications.
This time I was determined to figure out breastfeeding. But when my little girl was not gaining enough weight at first, I begrudgingly pulled out my frenemy once again.
Every three hours I did the same routine: nursed the baby, topped her off with expressed milk, and pumped after she was asleep. It meant I got a maximum of one and half hours of sleep at a time for a month.
Four days into my second postpartum experience, I was able to figure out that postpartum anxiety was creating the lie that everything was an emergency.
Stuck in the fight-or-flight mode meant I couldn’t fall asleep for the small amount of time my schedule allowed for. It took a month for my game-changing medication to fully kick in.
Once my baby girl finally gained enough weight, I was free from my pump and the rigorous schedule. Life relaxed.
Since I was with her all the time, I only pumped once a day to keep up her skill of taking a bottle.
Mamas who pump at work, you are amazing. Thankfully I only had to do that a couple of times while I was packing up my classroom, transitioning into my role as a SAHM.
A friend mentioned that her work had a pumping room with stalls where moms left notebooks to write notes to each other during their pumping sessions.
One notebook had the question, “What does your pump say?”
I was convinced my pump was saying, “Lactate. Lactate.” Did yours taunt you as well?
I decided it was finally time to say “Deuces” to mine after being separated for six months.
Now that my pump and I have gotten some distance, I am grateful for it. It just wasn’t a healthy relationship the first time around. It was way too attached to me.
Being completely done with my pump feels like I am getting something heavy off of my chest.
While I would like to send it out in a blaze of glory, that’s not good for the environment.
After doing some research, I learned that Medela has a pump recycling program. I boxed mine up, attached the label, and will restrain myself from drop kicking it to the counter at the post office.
However, I may be singing a rather joyful rendition of Taps as it’s taken away.
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