What my breast pump says to me

"Too tired" "So much" "Red chair" "Win more" "Go to sleep" "Eat peas"

For three years - off and on - I have listened to the hum of my breast pump. I swear it speaks. When I first started using it with baby number one, my husband and I looked at each other and almost simultaneously noted how the jolting hum of the machine seemed to be talking to us. Each one us was certain the other person was hearing the same phrase, so we both called out. Me: "it's so cold." Him: "you are green." Okay...maybe we weren't hearing the same thing, but still, this thing talks.

For the next three years - I would allow myself to hear phrases from that trusty mechanical partner of mine. They were sometimes nonsensical. However, I also saw them as a sort of Rorschach inkblot test. My inner thoughts and/or personality coming through what I heard. Phrases like: "too tired" "so much" were recurring.

So much. It's how I often felt when pumping. As I've blogged about several times in the past, I had loads of breastfeeding problems. I sought lots of help and found varying degrees of solutions for each child. But for both of my children, I relied heavily on my breast pump. Emme has only taken it straight from the tap probably a handful of times in her life. Besides a couple times using donor milk and formula in her first month, we were able to get to about 10 months before I needed to supplement.

It was a stressful process, but something I felt passionately about. This isn't a "you should breastfeed" blog. I believe you have to do what's right for you and your child.

And here we are. Emme just turned a year. We've hit our goal (by the way, more power to you if your goal is longer!!)

I'm so ready to be done for so many reasons. Such as:

I'm sick of feeling like I'm physically going to burst.

I'm sick of having to lug so much stuff to work.

I'm sick of having to figure out the logistics of things. Like, how do you breast pump while covering the total solar eclipse in rural Nebraska? (Find a news van, bring a sheet, voila. See pic. Not pictured: thousands of people within feet of this news van.)

I'm sick of getting so thirsty (that's a weird one I realize but while writing this I'm parched in a way only a breastfeeding mother understands. Perhaps marathon runners understand it too, but I have no knowledge of that).

But as I prepare to say good bye to those small headaches, I find myself thinking this:

I will miss knowing my baby eats because of me - and eats really good-for-her stuff.

I will miss feeling a connection that has helped me overcome my working mom guilt.

I will miss my quiet moments to myself when I can hear the funny phrases conjured by my brain and spouted by a pump.

I will miss what this symbolizes - the baby phase.

I often get annoyed with the blogs that remind us how short this season of life is (I mean, I know it is, but I'm still tired!), yet here I am thinking and feeling just that. We expect Emme to be our last baby. So with every first we watch her do, in some ways we witness a last.

My last day using my pump. I never thought that would be emotional.

Who knows what it'll say. "Worth it." "Next phase." "Growing up." "Good job."

Good job.

Yep. I deserve to let myself hear those words. I'm guessing there is a reason today that you do too.


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