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The Radical Mother - Pumping Our Breasts

By Mariah Boone

Pumping Our Breasts

I stopped attending La Leche League Meetings regularly several years ago when my daughter stopped napping during the day and could no longer afford to stay up that late. I still keep my membership current and try to attend their special meetings and events as I love going and remember well how that monthly meeting was the prime preserver of my sanity as a nursing mom during my daughter’s early years. Recently, I was invited to a special enrichment meeting on working and nursing. It was a great meeting and really brought back memories of those days.

Do any of you gentle readers remember the days of pumping? Such an adventure it was! My year of pumping happened right before the Pump-In-Style hit the market and revolutionized pumping so I rented a Lactina Double-Electric Plus (Medela electrics like these, my sisters, are the ONLY way to go when pumping). How well I remember carting it up and down the stairs to work everyday, fixing myself a little private place to pump in the morning and the afternoon. And how about that nursing porn? The pictures of our kids or the parenting articles or baby-scented blankies we carried around to have with us when we pumped to help stimulate the milk let-down reflex? Remember that? And the days when we were out of the office and had to find private pumping places on the fly?

Pumping was such a challenge…every drop of that liquid gold so precious. Remember the good days? 6 ounces at a sitting! Two little three-ounce bottles! Woo hoo! I am the WO-MAN! And the bad days: not even four ounces; what am I going to do? Remember rushing to nurse that baby at lunch and hand-off the afternoon bottle that you pumped that morning? Educating the day-care staff that your fresh milk would keep for five days in the refrigerator and the frozen stuff would keep for months in the freezer? Remember how it sucked (no pun intended) when the baby started drinking out of a cup and SPILLING IT everywhere?!!! Such a rush, those days, such a challenge!

Did you resort to galactogogues to help keep your milk supply up? My friends and I did. My particular nursing support system favored the blessed thistle pills we bought at Sun Harvest. I know another mom who drank a beer every day because hops are supposed to be a galactogogue and took so much fenugreek seed that she started smelling like maple syrup. Anything to keep up the milk supply!

Yes, mama. Pumping was an adventure, all right. I don’t think we’ll ever forget those days. As we think back, let’s all lift a can of fermented hops to those days of pumping our breasts and, of course, to La Leche League for their invaluable help. Hear, hear!
About The Author:
Name: Mariah Boone
Mariah Boone is a mother, social worker, writer and the publisher of Lone Star Ma: The Magazine of Progressive Texas Parenting and Children’s Issues.

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