Pump it up

It's hard for me to remember a time when I *wasn't* breastfeeding & pumping.

I know I had a year break between weaning Hunter and giving birth to Carter, but it feels like I never stopped- two out of the last three years of my life have been spent lactating.

Yep, my life is VERY glamorous.

Since I have worked full time outside our home with both boys, I have spent the majority of my time pumping. Roughly about 1.5 hours per day- 4 days per week, which means over the last 3 years I've spent about 650 hours pumping- or about 27 full days attached to my favorite milking machine.

Luckily, or unluckily in some cases, I make enough milk to feed a small baby army. The upside of that is that I can stock up my freezer for my return to work, but the downside is that I can't so much as leave my house for more than 3 hours without hauling my breast pump along for the ride. Leaving it at home is simply not an option unless I want to leak through my shirt (which HAS happened at more than one business meeting).

Yeah, it was as awkward as you imagine. It's hard to discreetly cover up a huge wet spot on your chest, especially when the colleagues you are meeting with are the ones to bring your attention to the "leakage."

I've gotten more and more comfortable with excusing myself from meetings and work functions to go pump, but unfortunately not everywhere I go has a private spot for me to pump. Actually, most places are not well equipped to handle the request for a pumping room at all so I've spent plenty of time pumping in my car.

I swear that if I ever have someone ask me to help them find a place to pump that I would find them the most plush conference room with wifi so they can watch Netflix on their phone, a reclining chair so they can be comfortable and ample plug ins so they don't have to use the lack luster battery pack that takes twice as long. Oh, and I'd get them a snack too- I've never been hungrier than when I'm breastfeeding (yes, even hungrier than my 2nd trimester eat-everything-in-my-path phase).
Anyway, I have spent my fair share of time in less than stellar "pumping rooms"- mainly bathroom stalls with my pumping bag and pumping parts strewn about on the floor perched on top of strategically placed toilet paper and baby wipes.

If I'm lucky I find a bathroom with a shelf (like the Sun Valley Lodge) or maybe a handicapped stall with a chair so I don't have to sit on a toilet seat while pumping (that's a big win).

If I'm unlucky, I end up sitting on a toilet in a cramped stall in a bathroom with only two stalls for 15 minutes while a line forms outside and people wonder audibly what that sound is and what is taking me so long. That is the walk of shame...as I creep out of the stall passing impatient people. Sometimes I awkwardly say something like "sorry, had to pump my boobs" but that never ends up being as funny as I plan.

It was especially not funny at a bachelorette party "we" attended- I mean my pump & I- where we stopped off at a bar that had one bathroom and it was unisex. I was incapable of waiting until we got to the next location so I had no choice but to stand in line to enter the bathroom and then pump as fast as possible to empty one boob, just to get out, get back in line and do it all over again to empty the other. Yes, I got weird looks, yes it was awkward, but I did get this fantastic picture. 
Documenting the trip.

Pumping in the bathroom is gross, but not nearly as gross as the janitorial closet/technical room where I pumped once during an off-site meeting, which included a chair positioned conveniently next to the insecticide and cleaning supplies.
I have had some plush digs too...it's not all bad! One of my work locations has a full-on reclining chair- I felt like I was at a spa (not exactly, but it's way more spa like than the bathroom stall at a football game).
My usually work pumping room isn't quite a plush, but it does the job. I don't even want to add up all the hours I have spent in that room. I have spent so much time with my pump that I hear the suction noise in my dreams. It's a sound you can't ever fully forget.
So now, after 13 months, I'm finally wrapping up my pumping days.

I won't miss the time in small cramped spaces, the annoyingly redundant sound of the suction, the milk drips all over my pants and shirts (I'm a klutz) and having to lug around a portable milking machine.

I will miss my extra sweet cuddles with Carter and the comfort that only I could provide him. Also the excellent weightloss secret I had going for me for the last 13 months (I'm going to miss that the most).

I have actually been trying to stop nursing for over a month, but Carter had other ideas.
First he decided he wanted nothing to do with almond milk, which is what we are transitioning him onto. He started refusing bottles all together, which meant that they only liquids he got all day was then I nursed him first thing in the morning and right before bedtime.

Then, he got a fever and just as soon as he recovered from that he had a 24 hour stomach bug.

Now, finally, he's happy taking bottle and I'm spending my last few days weaning off my pump to train my body that it no longer needs to produce milk- which is quite the process in itself.

I can't say I'm sad to see my pump go away, but I AM kind of sad to stop nursing.

I'm not sure why, but somehow it was harder to let go of nursing this time around.  I couldn't wait to be done with Hunter, but with Carter it was weirdly emotional.

Maybe because this may be my last time...ever. Who knows if we will have another kid.

Maybe I was just sad to see my baby growing up.

Either way, it was emotional to see this part of motherhood pass.

What I wasn't sad about....the chocolate milkshake and pizza I had for dinner on my first night off. I haven't tasted the deliciousness of cheese or real ice cream in 10 long months.

You may think that a milkshake and pizza don't go well together.  You would be wrong.

I want all the dairy, topped with more dairy.

Now, I'm on a mission to eat all the things I've been depriving myself of for the last 9 months.
First up, a Beecher's grilled cheese sandwich.