Pumping & Driving

Yes, that is me in the car next to you. The crazy weirdo dancing ridiculously while singing, “Billy Jean is not my lover…” But what you probably didn’t notice is that I am also pumping. Pumping and driving.

Let’s just add the difficulty of breastfeeding to the ever growing list of difficult things about parenthood. So many people are so quick to judge and offer comments like, “Why wouldn’t you breastfeed? It’s easy and free!” The truth is, for so many mamas it is NOT easy. Sometimes it isn’t even free. For me, it was quite a challenge. I had to reevaluate my “at least for the first year” goals often.

We made it through the first 3 months without too many hiccups. I considered myself one of the lucky ones when it came to breastfeeding. I hadn’t dealt with latch problems, low supply issues, allergies, or showing up to lunch with a soaking wet shirt. Well, at least not from leaking milk; spit up and pee are a completely different story. Then I went back to work and things got a little more complicated.

At the time, I worked with almost all men. Sure, they were sweet and as understanding as possible, but no one wants to be the one who interrupts a meeting because they absolutely can’t wait any longer before they literally explode. It was awkward enough the day my boss saw me carrying my cooler and joked that it was a little early for lunch. I just stood there and waited to watch the blush creep into his face when he realized it was my milk cooler. It was so hard to find the time to pump multiple times during the day while still getting everything done on a reduced schedule. Really stinking hard.

After about two weeks, I was barely keeping up. I had just enough each day to get us to the next day. I was so stressed and felt a lot of pressure to make it work. At least the first year, that shouldn’t be too hard, right? Here is one of the things they do tell you…stress does not help low supply. That one is true.

So I googled and googled and googled. I spent my pump breaks looking up new ways to help my supply issues. Which just means, I was sitting there trying to relax and make more milk while reading and stressing about what I should do to help the situation. I made three different types of lactation cookies. One of my coworkers even accidentally stole one. As payback, I casually stated that I hoped he didn’t blame me when his pecks hurt later. While I can’t complain because they were still pretty tasty, they did not help with my supply.

After trying a few other things, I found that the only two things that helped get us to our goals was to relax and increase the amount of times I pumped. So I started setting shorter term goals and celebrating small wins. Let’s just get through this week and worry about next week later. Okay, let’s aim for making it to six months. Then I just had to find a way to make more time in the day for pumping. That is when I realized that there had to be a way to use the hour long commute home to my advantage. So I ordered Freemies and a battery pack and started pumping while driving. It probably would have been awkward if I had gotten pulled over, but other than that – it worked like a charm. We still barely made it to twelve months, but we did.

So what did breastfeeding teach me? It taught me {along with many other struggles in early motherhood} to stop judging other moms. It taught me to always take a step back when I start to get stressed and think, “In this situation, what do I need to do to be the best momma I can be?” I learned that it is important that we support each other and recognize that everyone has their own challenges. At the end of the day, every one of us has to do what works for us and our little ones. There are so many challenges when it comes to parenting that we shouldn’t let the breastmilk or formula debate undermine our ability to love and care for our little ones.

Note :: If you are considering pumping while driving, please only do so if you can drive safely and remain distraction free.  If you absolutely hate pumping or have to adjust often, it probably isn’t a great plan.  I chose Freemies because they could be set up before driving, fit inside my nursing bra, and did not need to be adjusted during my commute.  Perfect.

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2015, it is our goal to raise awareness and shine a light on the many ways to feed and nourish our little ones.  Our goal is to inform and inspire, so join us as our team opens up and shares their personal stories of both the struggles and triumphs of breastfeeding.  To read more, please click here.


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