Saturday, March 12, 2011

Breastfeeding love and trials

I loved Joanna's post on breastfeeding.  Memories flooded my mind after reading it.

Selling the pump made me cry.  Was surprised by that.

When pregnant, I really intended to breastfeed for three months.  I actually did for a year.  I was even more surprised by that.

Smuggling frozen breast milk through customs.  (How do you declare it, even if you want to?   "Dairy" was the closest option.)

My first trip away from M took me to Toronto overnight.   The hotel had so refrigerator for my room.   It was a small hotel, with one of those mini gift shops next to the check-in desk.  Desperate, I stashed the milk in the bottom of the ice cream freezer.   Had to hurry down the next morning and retrieve it before someone thought Medela was a new kind of ice cream bar.    It's funny.  Now.

A couple hotels were NOT helpful.  I begged a hotel manager in Florida for freezer space when the tiny dorm room fridge they gave me wouldn't freeze milk.   He said no.   I snuck down to the lobby bar after it closed and stuck my milk in their ice machine overnight.  

Another helpful conference hotel had no refrigerators.   You haven't lived until you've had to excuse yourself from a Board meeting every two hours to pump and then again every hour to run to your room for the ice bucket, hit the ice machine and then refill the ice in your sink to keep the milk cold.   For three days.   {Thanks for nothing, San Antonio Hilton.} 

I'm lucky to work for family physicians who are really supportive of breastfeeding and of working Moms.  I can't imagine having my employer act inconvenienced on top of the work and stress required to pump milk.

I remember going home after work on Tuesday to pump and squeezing into a 34E sports bra and then putting a second sports bra on over it before heading to step class to burn a few of some stress.   34E. 

Working moms get  a double-whammy because you have to pump and don't get the milk right into the baby.  When you aren't pumping, you are washing the pump, the attachments, the cords, etc.  Then drying pump, putting pump away, carrying milk to the freezer.  Then you have to wash bottles that the baby ate the milk from.   I calculated that I spent 7 hours per day producing and providing breastmilk.

Hard work.   And the little peanut will probably not appreciate it until she's a mom.   But I'd do it again in a heartbeat.