Thank heaven (and Medela) for breast pumps and freezers.
I have yet to go anywhere for longer than a few hours without my 10-week-old daughter, Peony. But if I wanted to I could. Because I have a golden, foolproof insurance policy: frozen breast milk.
After only two weeks of nursing my older daughter and then pumping for four months, I vowed to exclusively nurse my second daughter. Pumping is a figurative pain and a time suck, I seriously don’t have the same kind of time or patience now that I did three years ago.
But when I came home from the hospital after my daughter was born at the end of August, I was engorged and the lactation specialist at the hospital told me to pump. Thus began my stash.
For the first several weeks I pumped first thing in the morning — every day. Now I just do it once or twice a week. My stash is growing little by little, thereby allowing me small freedoms.
Freedom from waking up once or twice a week at night — my husband stays downstairs with the baby and gives her a bottle so I can catch up on my sleep.
Freedom from being chained to my baby at all times — I can leave the house for a few hours every other Monday night to play mahjong with some girlfriends.
And some of my girlfriends are talking about taking off for a long weekend in the spring and I’m thinking that even if I’m still nursing then, I might be able to do it if I can keep up my freezer supply.
It’s kind of a little thing — pumping a couple of times a week. But the emotional satisfaction of knowing potential relief (and some time alone) is just a thawed bag of milk away is worth it a million times over.
What’s your saving grace as mom who nurses exclusively?
Image: Meredith Carroll