Pumping it Up
Going back to work after having a baby has been quite interesting. My first week was mornings only; I was able to go home at lunch and spend the rest of the day at home with Husband, who is now on paternity leave, and Little Miss. This was my first full-time week at work, and things have been a little challenging.
Not only do I have to get up with her if she wakes up in the wee hours of the morning, but I am now setting an alarm for the first time in three months. So far it’s only woken me up once; most mornings I wake up about 15 minutes before it’s scheduled to go off. Which is nice, because then I can turn it off and not risk it awakening Little Miss or her daddy, who needs his sleep.
Once I get to work, my mind typically focuses pretty easily on my job. That is, until 10 a.m. when my calendar sends a pop-up reminder to my screen telling me it’s time to pump.
Because Little Miss is still breastfed (the plan is to continue breastfeeding until she’s one year old), Husband is feeding her bottles of my pumped milk during the day. She gets one at 10 a.m. and one at 4 p.m. (I go home at 1 p.m. and feed her myself), which means I have to pump at those times to keep my schedule and supply going.
Pumping at work is not only annoying, but it is also frustrating to me, a person who doesn’t like to just sit and do “nothing” for very long. In the mornings, pumping takes around 20 minutes. During those 20 minutes I can do nothing but sit in the chair and relax. So I close and lock my door, crank up the Pandora station of the day (whatever my mood dictates) and get comfortable in the corner.
So far I’ve only been interrupted once, and I hadn’t even gotten started yet, so it was easy to open the door to the intruding knock and take care of the person’s request. One of these days I know I’m going to feel my heart leap into my throat when a knock from the door comes in the middle of my pumping.
It’s one thing to sit half-naked with plastic laser-gun-shaped contraptions pressed to your skin in your own living room. It’s another thing entirely to do the same in an office. Yes, it’s my own office, and yes, the door is locked and the blinds closed, but somehow it still weirds me out. And I know that at least two other people have keys to my office, so if they knock and receive no answer, they could easily let themselves in. (Fortunately both of those people are female!)
To combat this risk, I printed a small sign to tape to the outside of my office door during my pumping times. It says the following:
Working, nursing mother is pumping.
Please leave items for me outside the door.
In spite of this precaution I must admit to myself that in general, people do not read. (I learned this while working in an office when one door was broken and locked 100 percent of the time. In spite of the bright neon pink sign with a large arrow and extra large letters saying, “Please use other door!” people still pushed on that door to go out and were always surprised to find it didn’t budge. Some people did this multiple times on their many visits to our office.) So I still risk having my heart leap into my throat as I sit very exposed on a chair in my office, pumping for the good of my daughter.
The nice thing about pumping, though, is that I have an incredibly nice pump. It’s an electric double pump that came with its own carrying case, bottle cooler and re-freezable ice packs. It’s a top-of-the-line pump that, new, costs around $275. Husband’s cousins, who have had their two children and are planning on no more, sent it to me. For free. AWESOME.
So in the mornings I pack up my purse and my stylish black bag containing everything I need to ensure my daughter has meals for the next day at home with Daddy, and I head to work. And I can rest assured that Little Miss is getting all the nutrients she needs every time she eats, because it’s a formula made especially for her. With love.