29 Aug

It’s hard to believe that August is almost over…another summer down.  Kids and college students are going back to school and my little girl will be joining them in pre-k this time next year {I have to hold back tears if I really let myself think about that}.  Football season, crisp fall weather, and pumpkin patches are just around the corner.  It’s really a very lovely time of year, especially where my family and I live.

Breastfeeding awareness month is also coming to an end.  I have put in a few days of paid labor this month and while I sat back in a plasticky recliner, hooked up to a hospital-grade pump, in a private lactation room decorated with pictures of  beautiful babies, I couldn’t help but think about the working mamas out there {many of whom are pumping from their cubicle, their car, or even worse…the workplace restroom}.  I have heard that being a stay-at-home mom is the most difficult job {and sometimes I must agree…it’s not glamorous, there may be playdates, but no bonbons}, but working moms may have it harder.  I couldn’t imagine pumping day after day, week after week, for months and months while trying to work.  I find it difficult  to squeeze in even one 15 minute pump-break during my entire 12- hour shift.  I’m not trying to convince any future working-mamas not to breastfeed, I just want to give the moms out there who have done it an enormous pat on the back.

Pumping, like early breastfeeding, is not always simple.  There is a lot of necessary equipment and knowledge needed to ensure your milk is expressed effectively and stored safely.  KidsHealth is a great site for information about pumping and storage of breastmilk, and Medela has chart about storage guidelines {for fresh, refrigerated, frozen, etc.} that was once magnetized to the side of my refrigerator between Christmas cards and birth announcements.

There are two products available now that I wish I had known about sooner {maybe they weren’t available when I started nursing?} First, Micro-Steam Bags. These little bags steam clean and disinfect all of your pumping equipment {and more} in the microwave in just a few minutes.  I would have loved to skip disinfecting every bottle, paci, and pump piece in boiling water before it’s first use {and now carefully hand-washing every pumping accessory after every use}…what a waste of time!  Second, Milkscreen.  These are little test strips that detect the amount of alcohol in your breastmilk so you can enjoy that occasional glass of wine.  They take the guesswork out of determining what “drinking in moderation” really is and let you know when it’s time to “pump and dump.”

Breastfeeding or not, working moms have a major job on their hands.  When their workday is done, they report home to their next job and responsibility…their family.  I must say a very heartfelt thank you to my hard-working husband.  He is the reason I don’t have to pump everyday for the first year of my children’s lives.  He is the reason next year {when Olive attends pre-k} will be only the first year that I will have to leave my firstborn in the care of another {hopefully very well-trained} adult for hours at a time.  Being a stay-at-home mama is not everyone’s dream, but it has always been my dream.  Thank you, babe.


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