Journal Pages: Pumping on the Plane
I don't suffer from low self esteem. However, if you ask me what I am most proud of I would struggle to give you an answer. My thinking has mostly been that you get talent for free, giving it your best is just a minimal requirement, and there is usually a good bit of luck involved in whether you achieve the things you want or not.
But recently I have found myself wanting to brag. The fact is, Jacob is nearly 11 months old and still breastfed (apart from solids now, of course). Before he was born, I had set myself six months as a goal. When we discovered his neutropenia, I decided to continue to make sure his immune system got all the help it could get. I am proud of sticking it out like this, because as some of you may know, breastfeeding isn't easy. It hurts for the first two months or so, it is exhausting as you're doing all the feeds one way or another, especially during those first few months where all your baby wants to do is clusterfeed (yes this is an actual thing, google it), and it's this weird experience where your boobs and body just aren't yours. It can also be awkward and political. It shouldn't be, but even when you know sitting in a café breastfeeding your infant son is the most natural thing in the world (and secretly wish someone would come up to you to complain so you can yell at them), you're still pretty much out in public with your tits out as your baby is just not focusing.
Breastfeeding, of course, is also magical and amazing. It is one of the most empowering of experiences to be able to feed your baby with your own body. It is fantastic for your baby and their developing immune system - not just for the first six months, but for the first few years of their lives (read all about that here). It is super convenient once things start to settle down; you never have to mess around with formula or heating bottles on the go. It is a multipurpose soother - many of Jacob's issues were solved by just shoving my boob in his face. And it's so so cosy. Those quiet moments where Jacob and I are just snuggled up together are some of the most precious times in my life. Breastfeeding truly is a miracle and I am so grateful that I am able to this. But it isn't easy.
Working and trying to continue to fully breastfeed definitely isn't easy, but after a few months I do feel I've gotten the hang of it, tedious as it can get. Last month's challenge was a different ballgame, however. I went on a business trip to New York. Apart from having to miss my daily baby snuggles (and the irrational mommy guilt in the back of my mind saying I probably am emotionally scarring my child for life by going away for four days), this took quite a bit of preparation. I had to make sure I had pumped enough breast milk to last him the week (40 bags of 100 milliliter of milk equals 40 days of one extra pumping session a day). All week long, I had to set my alarm clock at night. and sneak out of meetings during the day to pump and keep up with my feeding schedule at home. Oh and then there was pumping on the plane! Is there some kind of Mile High Club for expressing moms? There should be.
But I did it. And it was fine.
Below are my journal entries from that week, including some instructions on how to pump on a plane. Enjoy.