Image via People
I considered calling this post “Adventures in Pumping” or alternately, “Oops, I Left my Breastmilk in the Mapco Building” (because, yeah, that happened). I’m assuming if you’re reading this you are, in fact, a new, soon to be, or some kind of mama- so you’re fully prepared for some serious boob TMI…so, buckle up.
Pumping while you are working full time is a serious commitment- especially when said work includes running around town all the time. Since I don’t have an office (other than the one at my home) most of my pumping is done in the car…with varying levels of privacy. Once or twice a day, you’ll find me parked in a remote corner of a lot, with a sun shield up, fingers crossed that my tinted windows are doing the trick. I’ve been busted by: security guards, restaurant workers taking out trash, homeless men, a guy for a bike ride with his kid, and a weird dude in a truck who pulled up and parked next to me (yes, my doors are securely locked at all times).
Occasionally, I’ll find an office building with a rarely used public bathroom, where I get the luxury of rinsing the pump parts out afterwards…and cross my fingers that no one walks in while the tell-tale groaning/mooing noises from the pump motor are going. I’ve avoided this lately after a kind woman in the next stall told me to “talk to Sally in HR about a room to do that in.”
I knew going in it would be tough, so I invested in a really travel friendly pump. These things aren’t cheap, but I knew it would have to be as convenient as possible for me to commit to it. I went with the Medela Freestyle…and have had a good experience so far. It holds a charge, is lightweight and easy to use, and generally seems to do the job. The “hands free” clips are pretty difficult to use, but I usually make it work…although I’ve heard that these hands-free pumping bras are nice and easy as well.
Next hurdle: what to wear. Unless you’re one of those people I hate, you’ll have a few months where nothing in your closet fits. Maternity clothes are too big, regular clothes are too small, and even if your stretched out tummy has gone back to normal, if you’re nursing, your boobs will pop the buttons off anything you currently own anyway. If you are lucky enough to have some clothes that fit you, the hassle of getting things on and off to pump throughout the day will negate half of the clothes you could maybe wear anyway. Did I mention I’m still in this phase (or could you tell from the obvious bitterness)?
So here’s what to look for:
Crossover or wrap tops and dresses
Button down shirts
Anything with an elastic neck
Anything with a roomy bottom (easy to hoist up)
Patterns are best for hiding leaks, spills and fat rolls, and look for un-clingy fabrics.
A good flowy cardigan will hide a multitude of sins.
I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on these (hopefully) temporary clothes, so Target, Old Navy, Macy’s, or basically anywhere with a coupon or sale rack are my go-tos.
Jewelry is also a great distractor from any body issues you may have, as well as a good way to dress up some plain basics and change them around from day to day. It has to go on as you walk out the door and come off when you walk in, but a good giant necklace works wonders for a boring outfit. Plus, you will be able to wear your jewelry at any point in this body shape roller coaster ride, so I see it as a good investment.
Here are a few of my favorite staples and recent finds:
1. The Webster at Target Flamingo Print Top, Target 2. Campari Necklace, Stella & Dot 3. Merona Easy Care Dress, Target 4. Cactus Flower Necklace, J. Crew 5. 3/4 Sleeve Polka Dot Top, Old Navy 6. Lightweight Button Front Tank, Old Navy 7. Splendid Draped Jersey Cardigan, Net-a-Porter.
After months of maternity clothes, it’s a bit of a shock to realize that there’s still months to come of fashion sacrifices. While fit and style are different for everyone, take it from me- no matter how cute that little dress may look, after you lift it over your head 3 times a day in a public place, you won’t be wearing it for work anymore.
All these little annoyances aside, I am so glad that I have stuck with breastfeeding. The first 2-3 months were rough…it’s alot to get used to. There are some inconveniences, some painful days, and some embarrassing bodily functions to learn to deal with. However, after that 3 month mark, it all started to seem second nature and most of the uncomfortable (ok, let’s be honest – excruciating) breast related issues have gone away. I encourage anyone to stick it out, it’s a wonderful feeling knowing that I’m doing the best I can for my baby.
If you’re struggling, I found the site Kellymom to be a huge help with almost any breastfeeding related question you can come up with (Seriously, my google history is pretty hilarious these days).
On another note, people have asked me alot lately how I am juggling it all…a full time job, Prairie Hive, various other commitments, the new baby and trying to fit a little “me” time in along the way. I’d love to tell you I have a great system and that each day is productive, bliss filled, and full of rainbows. But the truth is, barely. There are lots of breakdowns – along with unchecked tasks on the to-do list. I just take it day by day and try to prioritize what needs to happen the most to allow me to spend quality time with my family, continue to do my job(s) and then fit what I can in around the edges. I’m still figuring it all out, as I suspect most mamas are…no matter how new.