My son is 2 years old and, yes, I am still breastfeeding and pumping.
Some people look at me, like I am crazy, when my son asks for “mama milk.” Then, they will say, “how long are you going to breastfeed him for?”
“Until he’s 20,” I say.
I give a bit of a cocky response back sometimes because it is really no one else’s business how long a mama plans to breastfeed. That is something special between the mother and the child and no one should look down on you for choosing to breastfeed past the age of 1 year.
For some reason, society has it in mind that a mother is supposed to stop breastfeeding at the age of 1 year and then automatically move the child on to a sippy cup. How drastic!
Listen, it is all up to you how long you would like to breastfeed for.
Some countries breastfeed until the child is 10 years old! Imagine that!
Now, you do not have to be a cocky parent like on those Luvs commercials. I only give that response when someone is truly being a jerk about it. But, if someone genuinely asks you out of curiosity, you can be kind and upfront with them. Honestly, I do not know how long I plan to breastfeed my son for. I guess I plan to stop when it feels right to do so.
We always seem to need to have a plan for everything and sometimes, things happen so naturally, that you really cannot plan for it. And that’s okay!
Just make certain you do what feels right for you and your child!
Breast Pumping Mama
So, let’s talk about pumping.
Breast pumping helps to empty the breasts so that the body knows that it needs to continue to produce more milk.
Breast pumping is common in our culture because many mothers work outside of the home, yet would still like to provide breastmilk for their child.
Pumping makes it possible to still give this nutritious source to your child and meet other societal demands.
Even though I am breastfeeding, I still pump in order to help my milk supply continue.
But pumping is difficult.
For many reasons.
And I am hoping that this post will change the future of pumping for mamas all over the world so that we can have a more comfortable experience!
First of all, if you are also pumping, then you may understand this when I say that…. breast pumps are just tedious!
There are so many parts and pieces that you have to put together!
And then, when you do get them all together and finally have it all hooked up to the pump itself, simply turning on the pump may cause the tubing to pop out! Errrr….!!!!
When you are done, you are supposed to take all of the pieces apart, wash each one, sanitize and then air dry.
When you have a little baby to attend to and are working outside of the home, who has time for that?
Also, toting around a pump can be daunting! So, if you are trying to bring your pump back and forth to work, then you may be all too familiar with this added stressor.
You have to make certain you have all of your parts and pieces and the pump itself in a bag and carry it in addition to all of your other diaper bags/purses/backpacks/lunch bags, etc!
No wonder why so many of us end up with bad backs later on in life!
When you are pumping, you cannot do any other chores around the house because you have to sit there and pretty much hold the breast shields in place! Otherwise, they often shift if you move!
I even find it challenging to do something as simple as read a book while pumping! My arms have to curve out around the breast shields just so I do not accidentally bump them! And, for some reason, I always feel as though I have to lean forward when pumping, so I am never sitting in a comfortable position when trying to pump.
If you use a pump bra to help hold the breast shields in place, it is often incompatible with your clothing and does not seem to hold them in place very well if you start to move around a bit.
I also find that, if I am going to work and wanting to pump there, I have to wear the pump bra under my regular bra because the pump bra itself does not cover my nipples as well as I feel it should! Wearing two bras can make me hot and uncomfortable!
Does anyone else experience these challenges?
The Breast Pumper’s Dream
With all of today’s technology and the stress of an already working new mama, why can’t we make breast pumps more compatible with our daily lifestyles?
Here is what I would like to see from a company that specializes in breast pumps…..
A breast pump that is small and portable so that you can do other chores around the house.
One of the biggest challenges I have with pumping is that, it takes a large chunk of time out of my day. And there are other activities that I need to have that time to complete. Producing enough milk for my son is important to me, though, so I continue to put that first.
A small, portable, pocket-sized breast pump would help my situation immensely! Wouldn’t it help yours? Think of that! What a miracle that would be!
Let’s talk about breast shields.
They are round, hard, plastic vacuums that provide no comfort whatsoever!
Why can’t we make breast shields that mimic a baby’s tiny lips?
Maybe something more soft and soothing to put on so that pumping feels a little more natural and not just like there is a plastic robot sucking from your breast!
Even some padded breast shields would be an improvement!
Also, can we make them so that they do not have to be handheld? Or, if we do use a pump bra, can we make the bra and breast shields compatible enough to wear that they actually stay in place and do not need to constantly be adjusted if we move around?
Now, let’s discuss all of those parts and pieces….really? Are all of these pieces really necessary?
How come we can’t make a pump that has, maybe, two pieces total that a woman has to put together?
Maybe just simply screw on the breast shield? And that’s it! Done!
Is there anyway that we can somehow make them without the hassle of tubing?
I would love to be able to quickly pop on a couple of breast shields under my clothes and get on with my day!
That would be a pumping mama’s dream!
It is Happening!
After some research, it appears as though there are companies that are heading in that direction!
Apparently, I am not the only mama out there that is longing for some of these hassles to be out of the daily routine!
A company called Willow Pump is starting to make great strides in moving in this direction!
The dream of having a small, portable breast pump hidden under daily clothing, allowing mobility throughout the day is now becoming possible!
Looking for comfortable nursing bras that increase mobility? Simple Wishes has a great selection to make pumping and breastfeeding more manageable and more affordable!
Pumping in the Workplace
Let’s discuss the challenges of pumping while at work.
We have made great strides with recognizing a woman’s need to pump during work hours and employers have to provide space for a woman to pump; however, some of these spaces are inadequate and uncomfortable.
A woman should be provided with a nice space to do this.
Now, we do not have to have anything glamourous, folks, but a space that has a cozy atmosphere, a comfortable chair, and a nice table should do the trick!
I was literally shown a maintenance closet, one time, to pump in. The maintenance closet!
I said, “no way!” I learned to go out and pump in my car. But, no woman should have to pump in her car!
I had to learn to do this quickly and discreetly and, on extremely hot days or extremely cold days, it was grueling!
But, you do what you can to provide the best that you can for your little one.
Also, the demands of the job can get in the way of pumping.
I was entitled to two, 15 minute breaks and a lunch period.
My workload was so high, though, that I barely took a lunch, nevertheless a 15 minute break period.
I would become so engrossed in the job, that I would not be able to make time to simply pump. And, rarely, did I get to eat.
This is not good for a mama and I know that there are a million other mamas out there in the same situation.
Work is so demanding, that taking care of you and your baby are immediately put on the backburner.
And, as I write this, I think to myself, “What kind of society are we living in?”
How can we put job demands at the forefront and kick these beautiful, little, future souls of our country to the back?
We pride ourselves on being such a great country, but look at how many other countries put their people and their children first….not work and money, like we do.
They offer so many more advantages to having a family than we probably ever will catch up to! And that’s a shame. Because we are supposed to be the leading country in hundreds of other ways.
Guess what, America? This is just one of the many areas where you fall behind!
For the sake of our families and children, please catch up!
You’re the Best Mama!
No matter how you are nourishing your child, I am sure you are providing the very best sources that you can!
I want to encourage you, though, to continue to breastfeed for as long as it feels comfortable for you and your little one.
This is a decision best made between you and your child and no one else, unless a doctor has good reason to advise otherwise.
Do not allow the public or friends and family make you feel ashamed for providing this source to your child.
There are an unbelievable amount of nutrients in breastmilk that your child will not find elsewhere. And, to give your child something as special as that, is too important to let others dictate otherwise to you!
One more item I would like to share with you on this is the Ergobaby Natural Curve Nursing Pillow to help bring more comfort to you and baby while breastfeeding!
And, if you are pumping, as well, then more power to you!
Keep it up as best as you can!
Even on tough days, just to pump one time for a few minutes means so much!
Hopefully, our society will catch up with the needs of the woman and her little one and will make life easier – not more challenging – to simply provide and nurture for a family.
May God Bless You!