Monday, September 29, 2008

Pump up the jam...

Monday Sep 29, 2008

Pump up the jam..

Pump it up
While your feet are stompin'
And the jam is pumpin'
Look at here the crowd is jumpin'
Pump it up a little more
Get the party going on the dance floor
(A little early 90's Technotronic to get your week started right!)

Well, I'd been avoiding the topic. I wasn't going to write about it in such a public forum. But after this article, I had to share with you the joys of pumping. (Short version of the article: the geniuses at PETA's have suggested to the makers of Ben & Jerry's ice cream that they use human breast milk instead of cow's milk. Yeah, good luck with that.)

As you may or may not know, I'm an exclusive pumper. I spend an inordinate amount of time with "the girls" attached to plastic parts to get the milk to feed Jay. Well, I'm not truly an exclusivepumper - we do nurse some, mostly at night before he goes to bed. But the vast majority of the time, he gets my milk in bottled form.

Why do I pump as opposed to traditional breastfeeding? We had a great deal of trouble getting him to latch in the hospital (the fact he wasn't getting any oxygen certainly contributed to that!). But even after surgery and after he came home, we really struggled with nursing "from the tap." We had a fabulous lactation consultant who helped and was able to get him to nurse a little. But by that time, he was good at bottle feeding, I was good at pumping, and it was nearly time for me to go back to work when I would have to pump anyway. Plus I have an enormous volume of milk - for a while, I was making enough to feed twins. I still pump more than 50 oz per day - that's 1 or 2 bottles more than he's eating. (Yeah, that pretty much makes me a rockstar in the pumping world.)

Do I tell people that I'm breastfeeding? Absolutely. That's how I'm feeding my child, albeit indirectly. He gets the nutritional benefits of breastmilk, which is the main reason we didn't switch to formula when nursing got tough. There are some great things about it - anyone can feed him, anytime, anywhere. It's free (and have you seen the price of formula lately?!) and it burns a ton of calories for me. But as with anything, there are drawbacks, too. I spend 2 hours a day hooked up to that thing. I can hear its rhythm (wha-wo wha-wo wha-wo) in my sleep. I have to take 2 breaks at work to close my door and pump. I've been interrupted at work not once but twice - once by a fire drill (uh oh) and once by a power outage (big uh oh). Fun times. And the washing of those aforementioned plastic parts is a never ending chore.

But back to our friends at PETA. I think it takes an incredible amount of gall to suggest that breastmilk be used for anything other than feeding babies. Some moms with extra donate it to milk banks who typically give it to sick babies/preemies. But because I'm not an eligible blood donor, I'm also not an eligible milk donor. (Long story, and no I do not have any diseases.) So the extra I'm freezing will probably be used to keep feeding Jay the good stuff past the magical one year mark. Heck, at this rate, I may be pouring it on his cereal when he's in kindergarten!


Amen to your faithfulness to brest feeding! I nursed all three of our babies until they were around a year. It was such a special experience I would not change a minute of it for anything! They never had any formula and I am proud to say that. God gave us "the girls" for feeding our babies!
re: PETA's idea, I think NOT!

Posted by Lynette Rhodes on October 01, 2008 at 11:02 AM EDT#

Jen - I appreciate that you wrote this about breastfeeding, for as far as I am concerned, it is about the product, not the process. I would worry a little if you were putting one of those hats on him with the beer can holders and a big straw - but you have been spotted actually holding your child while feeding him, so you're in good shape.

It simply isn't possible for all babies to feed from the breast directly. I suspect that had Jay been up to the direct deposit type of BF, he would have had no problems whatsoever. The easiest route that some moms resort to is to decide that if an infant won't or can't "take the breast", then it is off to the Harris Teeter (or maybe it's spelled Teater) for Enfamil.

You have taken the harder but wiser of the paths, and I applaud you for it. Like anything with parenting, it seems hard at first, and then, lo and behold, you all of a sudden seem to have a routine and a schedule going. That is, until your baby starts getting that first tooth or gets his first boo-boo, at which point you, like the rest of us, will question your ability to mother, and will be watching over your shoulder for Child Services to wrestle your child from your incompetent arms.

And then Appie's voice will remind you that, "You young folks worry too much. Just enjoy every moment for this too shall pass." Then you will smile and be grateful that the voice of reason does indeed live on in our hearts, nudging us to be a little wiser when we most need it.

Love, Aunt Beth

Posted by Aunt Beth on November 04, 2008 at 01:37 PM EST #

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