Did She Say "Blogging" and "Breasts"?

I am laying in bed reflecting on one more day survived: a productive workday in my pajamas, four therapist visits for my son with an overlapping drop-in afterschool playdate for my daughter (I am still in my pajamas), dinner chaos because my son wanted his Legos more than his dad’s cooking, a hour of decompression time with Kyle XY via Netflix snuggled on the sofa with my favorite men…Ben and Gerry…..and oh, my recent debut as a blogger on Cutegeek…my very first blog experience! Oh wait… Maybe not my first…you see, three years ago when I returned to work after having my son, I was traveling between New York and Philadelphia four days a week…and I was breast-feeding (yes, I said ‘breast’…’boobie’…). Do the math: Mom in Phili and hungry baby in NYC….where’s the milk? Did the aha moment hit yet? I was pumping! Yes, didn’t see that coming right…we are going to talk about breast pumps…and my true ‘first’ blogging experience…the Milk Mama’s.

The Milk Mama’s’s is a ‘community’ of global IBM nursing mothers supporting each other through what is a truly trying and sometimes absurd experience in any professional woman’s life: the collision of motherhood, office environment, the need for privacy, some freaky and unpredictable hormones and a natural act made to feel somehow mechanical and which requires ‘gear’ that most co-workers shy away from (”ugh, is that the thingy that you do…well,…you-know-what with?”). That commiseration and cyber-companionship of other professional and lactating moms, and the book off which the group was based, The Milk Memos ,went beyond inspirational to sanity-salvaging. We mothers interacted through postings and responses, we reviewed the ‘tech’ and shared tips and tricks. So, I guess I have blogged before…about babies, boobs and nursing basics so I know the topic and the tech inside and out (and the standard layout to most Babies R Us stores) and these are my tips:

  • Your nursing experience is your own, envision it and plan for it. Get the right tech and accessories to help you balance the experience of nursing with the need to sleep, work and yes….(I am not ashamed to admit…) …get some time alone, away from the baby.
  • If you plan to pump, purchase one before you deliver. Read up and ask around because once you open the box, there is a strictly enforced no-backsies policy at most stores (something about breast-milk….go figure!)
  • Purchase a dual action (both at once) battery/electric pump. I had great success with the Medela Pump in Style. I could control the suction strength (he-he…yeah, how did you think it worked?), the design led to less spills (a.k.a. lower dry-cleaning bill) and it comes with the discreet four bottle cooler and ice pack you will need to refrigerate at the office and keep cool on the commute home. Replacement parts are easy to purchase or order on-line and it is a good idea to have two sets.
  • Also purchase a comfortable manual pump that you can use discreetly with one hand. I loved my Avent handheld, and I went through a few to find that gem.
  • Lactation consultants, grandmothers and random ladies you meet who have breastfed all have an experience to share…which may have no bearing on your experience. Listen, adapt and find what works for you.
  • Moisturize… (ask the lactation consultant or grandma what I mean if it isn’t obvious)
  • Laugh at your goofs (there will be a few…some worse than the breastmilk in the coffee) and don’t get discouraged.
  • Don’t cry over split milk…no, literally, don’t. You can make more if you calm down and laugh

Feel free to occasionally oogle enviously at other women who still have anti-gravity cleavage but focus on enjoying your unique nursing experience in your own way and know that one day you will be shamelessly sharing your “weirdest place I ever” stories, but they will be about pumping in airplanes, public bathrooms, on Amtrak and while driving….possibly no different that the stories you tell now about…

Oh and despite what you read in the owners manual, breast pumps have a decent resale value on craigslist and are appreciated as hand-me-downs. I have never had trouble giving away a gently used digital camera nor a breast-pump.