Feeding a baby looks different for every family and every mother. But if you're a pumping mom, some of the problems below probably look very familiar.
Raise your bottle of pumped milk to these struggles, ladies.
1. The outlet hunt
If you forgot the batteries, if you're running low on battery power, or if your breast pump needs to be hooked up at all times, you know the unique pain of trying to locate an outlet everywhere you go.
From work, to the gym, to that "relaxing" trip away with your husband, everywhere suddenly becomes a "where's the outlet" game of hide and seek.
2. The ‘lean and pump’
Speaking of outlets, tell me if you, too, have experienced the slightly humiliating experience of having to pump with your breast pump attached to an outlet that’s too far away.
At a wedding reception, I had to plug my pump in about 10 feet away from a stall, get basically naked thanks to my bridesmaid dress, then lean my boobs out farther than I thought ever physically possible. I pumped this way for an excruciating 10 minutes.
Honestly, pumping out in public should be its own sports category at the Olympics, it took that much flexibility and strength!
3. The casual whistler
Say you have to pump out in the open. For example, on an airplane under a nursing cover. And say you may feel the slightest bit uncomfortable with your seatmate hearing what's happening with the distinct sucking action of the breast pump.
So, you may perfect the look of complete nonchalance to hide your discomfort. You may be obviously pumping your own breasts on a plane, but your face says, "Who me?"
You might even throw in a few casual whistles to hide the noise. Clever!
4. The panicked post-pump moment
You know that moment when you have to pull the pump off and you panic, wondering if your milk is going to drip all over your shirt. Or even worse, if your milk will still be letting down like a fountain of life all over the room.
And don't even get me started on the careful precision with which you’ll transfer that precious bottle of milk safely to the counter to stow it away. Deep breath, deep breath, and phew, you made it! High fives all around.
5. The pride of your stocked freezer
I imagine that a farmer gazing over his field of bountiful crops feels the same way that I do while admiring my stash of frozen breast milk. I’m full of pride over the sweat, blood, tears, and downright hard physical work that went into building up that beautiful source of food and nourishment.
Some people might find that weird, but I know a fellow pumping mom will fully appreciate the sense of pride I am talking about here. Insert flexed bicep emoji here, because making milk is a super power.
6. The sadness of a dwindling supply
On the other hand, part of being proud of that breast milk stash is unfortunately also being a teensy bit sad every time you have to see one of those precious milk bottles or bags get used. Yes, it makes no sense because, after all, the milk is for your baby. But still, it happens.
You're not alone if you mourn that milk just a little bit every time it gets used.
7. The horror of being out in public with a crying baby
The baby might be yours. And it might be a completely random stranger. But the moment of fear is the same, because crying baby plus lactating breasts equals public let down.
8. The frustration of feeling left out
There's a lot of talk about breast-feeding moms and formula-feeding moms. You're probably over there waving like, "Hey! What about me?" Let me reassure you, mama, that I see you.
You're doing the best you can. Being a pumping mom is a challenge that combines the best and most difficult parts of being a breast-feeding or a formula-feeding mom.
So for that, you deserve all the respect in the world. You're doing a great job and for that, I applaud you.
Now you tell us: Where’s the weirdest place you've ever pumped? I'll go first: I once pumped in a congressman's office on Capitol Hill. True story.