I stopped pumping this week, and have my lunch breaks back. Woohoo! It just felt like the right time. And I really want to try biking the 4.5 miles to work, which is near impossible when pumping. If anyone needs moral support in pumping or figuring out pumping logistics, I'm available.
It never became comfortable to say to a colleague "uhh...sorry I need to go and pump" [pause][awkward silence][blank look] "uhh... breast milk." I felt like I was drawing attention to the fact that I had breasts. But pumping also helped me become a lot more assertive, because I had what I considered a responsibility to Noah, which trumped politeness. I was also fairly public about pumping because I work in public health and feel that if any profession should lead the way in supporting lactating moms, it's mine.
I never thought of the food implications of women returning to work before I had Noah, but I now think a lot about it. The choice is much more complex when I consider the importance of breastmilk in a baby's life. I wonder if the importance of breastmilk reflects the importance of presence and all these other things that first year (or two). Pumping is hard. For our family, it works to divide labor the way we do, and that involves me working full time right now. But I also mourned that I had to pump for all those months. It felt like a loss, and given the choice, I'd like to help support our family while staying close to my baby, if we get to do this again someday.
Now, to stop nursing Noah to sleep. Maybe when he's three...
And inspiration for those who don't feel served by conversation about pumping breastmilk:
We always need a little Michael Franti, right?