03 November 2006

Pump Moms

The other day, I spotted a woman on my train carrying a Medela Pump-In-Style-Advanced backpack. The PISAs don't have any label or logo on them, but they do have distinctive zipper pulls, so the bag was identifiable to me, a former pumper. Everytime I see one of them, I feel like a member of a secret sorority. I thought of tapping her on the back and asking "how old is your baby?" but I restrained myself.

I pumped for a year. At the beginning, it was because Miss M. was a lousy nurser - so at the start I was pumping seven times a day. And I still had to supplement with formula. Eventually, I cut back to pumping four times a day - which was actually fairly sane. I'd pump before leaving the house, and before bed, and twice during the work day. I was lucky enough to have two pumps, so I didn't have to haul one back and forth to the office. I had an ancient PIS borrowed from a friend that lived under my desk for a year, and a new PISA that stayed home and went away for weekends. So just the milk and bottles travelled to and from work. And I got the whole thing down to a bare minimum. I'd pump at my desk, put the milk in the fridge and leave the horns unwashed until the second pump of the day. At the end of the day, I washed the horns for the next day and left them to air dry at my desk. I never sterilized anything.

Eventually Miss M. figured out the nursing thing, but I kept pumping because I was away from her for most of the day. And all through that first year of hers, we supplemented with formula - not much, 2 to 10 ounces per day, maybe 25% of her intake overall.

[The title of this post comes from the name of a Yahoo group - it was a useful resource for tips and support and sources during those pumping days.]

2 comments:

Mayberry said...

(this just showed up in my bloglines even though it's older...)

I always could recognize those PIS bags too, and felt the same about wanting to initiate a conversation (but never did). Glad to know I also wasn't the only one who cared for her pump parts with a rinse and an "I'm sure that'll do"!

Vicky said...

We are pretty lucky in Canada to have a full year of paid maternity leave so we can nurse our little ones. Mind you, I also had such a hard time nursing and stopped when my son was 4 months old. He's 7 months old now and I'm still sad that I stopped.