By Guest Blogger, Kendra Thornton
How many Smarties out there had that oh-so special nursing bond with their newborn? If you did, I’m jealous! Nursing was a well orchestrated nightmare in my house. Between my baby girl crying and my crying, my house turned into something out of Nightmare on Elm Street. It was not a pretty sight. Some days it took my mom, my husband and me just to establish and maintain a latch. Wasn’t I suppose to be bonding with my baby? After 5 weeks of nursing, mastitis, and multiple trips to the Nursing Mother’s Place at Presbyterian Hospital (amazing lactation consultants for anyone in need of nursing help), I learned that nursing isn’t for every mother or baby. Thanks to two very dear friends who talked me off the ledge, I made the painfully emotional decision to stop nursing but not to stop breastfeeding. As I continuously remind folks, there is more than one way to breastfeed your baby. Enter the world of exclusively pumping (“EP”).
Once I moved to a world of EP, my stress level decreased and my baby started sleeping through the night (who knew). I learned two important lessons through this process.
First, moms should talk to other moms about the challenges of nursing. I had no idea nursing would be so challenging. Nor did I know that other mothers have faced these very challenges. In fact, there is a whole community out there for EP mothers – http://www.exclusivelypumping.com.
Second, the pump makers insert talking voices in your pump. What?? Thanks to my Medela pump and countless daily pump sessions, I believe I have officially gone bonkers. At a recent dinner with some girlfriends, and one EP mother, I spilled the beans, “Ladies, my pump talks to me.” A look of “she has lost her mind” surrounded the table, except for the one EP mother who knew exactly what I was talking about. When you pump six to seven times a day (because you are bound and determined to breastfeed for 6 months) your pump starts talking to you. Yes Smarties, it’s true. Sometimes my pump would chant motivational phrases, “More Milk”, “You Can Do It”, “Keep Going”. But on those days where I couldn’t take another pump session my pump would mock me, chanting curse words and sometimes even laughing at me. Over Christmas I ran into a friend at Target who said her pump said “Winter Coat”. I thought she had seriously lost her mind. But that night, my pump said “Winter Coat”. REALLY!!! So, for all you EP mothers out there, if you haven’t listened, I mean really listened to your pump, do it. It will start talking to you! But little does my pump know, I will have the last laugh when that 6 month mark comes and I box up that sweet little black bag never to be seen again (well, at least until the next child)!
The moral of the story, don’t give up if nursing isn’t for you. The world of Exclusively Pumping can be your friend. And you aren’t crazy if your pump talks to you. Just remember to talk back!
Check out these websites for more information on EP: http://www.exclusivelypumping.com