Slave to the pump

Let me tell you a little something about breast pumping… it sucks. (That’s a little pumping pun for you)

Imagine having a full-time job, requiring you to work 40 hours a week. It doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well, take that 40 hour work week, and add 30 hours. It sounds hard, but still manageable. And even profitable.

But take that manageable 70 hour work week, and add a few other variables: Little to no sleep, recuperation from a major surgery, ala c-section, unpredictable hormones, and the ever-present fear that your newborn twins are going to starve if you don’t continue to live like this. But make sure don’t get stressed out by all of this, because 15 different doctors just finished telling you that stress and lack of sleep will drastically affect your supply.

And that was my life for my first two weeks at home after leaving the hospital.

It began on that fateful day, our second day in the hospital, when the lactation consultant informed us that our daughter had tongue tie. For the past nine months, I had every intention of exclusively breastfeeding both of our babies. I had perfect visions of feeding them both at the same time, or as some called it, “tandem feeding” (“tandem torture” is more accurate). I was so determined in fact, that I invested in a special pillow made just for the job- My Brest Friend, but the double version, of course.

Thanks for being discreet, Amazon.

I must admit. I was far too ambitious. I can be very determined, and at times, downright stubborn, which my husband will attest to all too quickly. But I quickly came to the conclusion that there was no way I could pump for one baby, while breastfeeding the other, and still maintain a shred of my sanity. It was then that I decided exclusive pumping was the route I would have to take.

After one week of pumping, my fears of starving babies reappeared. I picked up the phone and spoke to, and cried with, the lactation consultant from the hospital I realized it wasn’t possible for my little b’s to produce enough milk to feed two babies. After agreeing with me that I wasn’t exactly well-endowed, we came up with a plan. For the next two weeks, I would pump every two hours, yes, through the night too, in order to build up a solid supply of breast milk.

Great. I have a plan. I can do this. And I did.

After two weeks, I called my favorite lactation consultant, proud to tell her that I followed her orders exactly. And I was fully expecting her to say, “Great job, Mom! Now you can cut back to pumping four times a day.”

Ha! No such luck. You see, this was my new life. If I wanted to make the milk, I was going to have to really work for it. My pumping schedule was whittled down from twelve pumps each day, to ten pumps a day.

I became pretty resourceful when it came to my pumping.  Sitting for 30 minutes to an hour pumping every 3 hours quickly became the biggest waste of time ever, not to mention the two newborns that still needed caring for.  I got a hands free pumping bra and an extension cord for my pump, and began multitasking like no ones business.  I could now vacuum, fold laundry, cook dinner, feed and play with both babies and dogs, and pretty much any other task that could be done within the 15 foot confines of my trusty extension cord.

I never leave the house without my pump. I have a car charger for my pump, and a car ride without pumping is a waste of a car ride. If my pump was another human being, she would be my best friend and my worst enemy.

But, I’m doing it. I’m doing it well. I have a freezer full of milk, and neither of my babies have come close to starving yet.  I’m hoping to make it to one year, but only time will tell.

By the way: It’s 1:00am and I’m currently pumping. If anyone knows someone looking for a double my Brest friend, let me know!