Friday was World Breast Pumping Day. It came just 4 days after I hit 6 months successfully breastfeeding with Beasty. I was able to accomplish this in part because I pump.
I pumped early on to help my supply increase, and I pump while at work to maintain my supply and to provide Beasty with food for the 7-10 hours I’m away from her, 3 days a week.
Breastfeeding was something I deeply wanted and feared I wouldn’t get, even before I got pregnant. Almost exactly 4 years before Beasty was born, I had a breast reduction surgery. While I still firmly believe that having the surgery greatly improved my quality of life, it became something that I feared would rob me of an experience for which I longed.
But I did a lot of research and discussions with my care providers, both at the time of surgery and through my prenatal care, about increasing chances of success. My surgeon took my wishes into account when he did his work. I learned about stimulation techniques, supplements, and pumping patterns and techniques. I had Beasty latch almost immediately, and I refused to give up through struggles with pain and supply. I continue to monitor very closely how much I produce. For me, breastfeeding has very much been a labor of love. For me, pumping has been a huge piece of that labor.
There have been a number of people, by virtue of their positions at my company, who have helped make pumping a possibility, and to them, I will always be grateful. They may not even know that they did anything, but the 20 minutes, 2-3 times a day, that they gave me have made a huge impact on my life, on my daughter’s life. It might seem like a small thing, but I can’t thank them enough. They have helped me achieve what I thought was impossible.
So here it is: 6 months strong. Six months of natural feeding, of bonding, of establishing benefits for both of us that will trickle down through the years. Here’s to every day that I get to keep doing this, and here’s to aiming for another 6 months. And another year. And feeding another baby (in a few years…) with my body.
Here’s to what we never thought we could–but did.