So before Ruby came along, Camm and I attended a few breastfeeding classes.
“Don’t worry,” the lactation specialists always assure us, “Even if you are working, you can easily pump milk and get the nutrition your baby needs.”
“I can do this,” I thought. My cousin gave me a pump to use and I was on my way to successful breastfeeding.
When Ruby came, breastfeeding turned out to be slightly more difficult than I had imagined. Sore nipples, spilling milk out creating wet shirts in public places, clogged ducts, engorgement (anyone who has breastfed knows). Luckily, I produced a lot of milk (close to the amount of a cow), so pumping should have been easy enough.
Then one day…
On Fridays I go to campus all day long. It is the day Camm does not have to work or go to school so I can actually get some work done. The building where I have my grad lab does not have any sort of mother-nursing room. So, I realized I needed to walk across campus to pump the milk. On my way out of the grad lab, my bag (it is one I got in junior high when backpacks were less cool, and one strapped shoulder bags were cool) broke. The one strap on it ripped and it went tumbling to the floor. “No problem,” I thought to myself as I got out the stapler, “I can take care of this.” So, I put about a million staples in it and felt like I was ready to go. (Just as a little visual: that bag was on my shoulder with a million books in it and I had a backpack on with all of the pumping gear). I walked through the hallway, down the two flights of stairs and out the door. “POP...POP… POP…POP…POP.” Apparently the staples weren’t enough to carry a bag full of text books and other papers. One by one, each of the carefully managed staples came out and my bag fell to the pavement. I picked it up and carried it in my arms (still with the backpack full of gear on my back).
I arrived in the mother’s nursing lounge and began to pump. This was the easy part (despite all of the regular discomfort associated with feeling like I’m hooked to a cow-pump). The bottle was full, and I was ready to go. WAIT. I had forgotten to bring a lid for the bottle that was now full of breast milk. ACK! Well, I realized I had to go lidless. I put the back pack on, had a huge bag with the staples sticking out everywhere in one hand and carried the milk in the other. Struggling to keep my balance, I walked back to the grad lab, spilling milk all over my hand and leaving a trail across campus as I went. When I finally arrived in the grad lab I was covered in milk and exhausted from carrying a bag full of books one handed across campus.
I am no longer breastfeeding.