On our first baby, my mother-in-law nicknamed me 'Bessie the Cow.' Don't worry, it was all in good fun; I had asked her multiple times to store my breast milk in her freezer because ours was full. I had to agree with her, one of those metal bells that hangs around a cows neck would have been appropriate.
I had two deep freezers full of frozen 'liquid gold' and all without the help of those tips and tricks you read about on the internet: brewers yeast, lactation cookies, power pumping, etc. For me, producing milk was not a problem.
We are now onto round two of breastfeeding with our second baby and it's been a bit like ground hogs day - the same feeding story, different cute baby. To say I'm 'proud' I've been able to provide this for our family would be the wrong use of words. Grateful is more appropriate. Grateful and comforted to know that when I return to work after maternity leave that our son will have no shortage of nourishment in my absence.
I work full-time and sometimes with that comes mom-guilt. Guilt that I chose to work rather than stay home with my two kids. But for some reason, when I pump at the office it makes me feel like I'm doing both. I'm making time for both. A big part of my guilt relief can be attributed to my employer who fully supports working moms through their Mothers Rooms (for pumping), Maternity Leave benefits and even their respect for family time, meaning, if I need to leave because my daughter is sick I can do so without getting the stink eye. They even cover the cost to ship frozen milk home when I'm on the road. Dry ice deserves a big round of applause!
And so logistically, as working mom I find myself pumping more than I find myself nursing. It's part of the deal. But I don't mind because if I'm being completely honest, I prefer pumping over nursing. There are a multitude of reasons for this but the biggest: it fits our lifestyle. With two full-time working parents, a 2-year-old, an infant and a home to manage, our schedules are pretty precise. Pumping sessions are much easier to manage than feeding an infant on demand. What I lose in skin to skin bonding time with our son I gain back in my sanity. And that's incredibly important. Pumping allows not only for my freedom, but my sons as well. While I'm at the office he and our daughter are at daycare and my gallons of stored breast milk go with them which puts my 'Bessie the Cow' mind at ease.
The biggest lesson I've learned in this 'feeding my family' game is that there's no right way. There's only the way that works for us. And only the way that works for you. And only the way that works for the next parent. There's no doubt that feeding babies is a tough business to be in, but no matter the method, at the end of the day we're all faced with the same result: a dirty diaper.
This is my Honest Feeding Story inspired by The Honest Company who's goal is not only to provide you with safe, non-toxic, beautiful products for your family and home, but also honest stories that provide support and inspiration. Check them out.