I must be crazy. If you had told me during any of the 5+ years I have spent pumping or pregnant - that I would ever say I miss using my breast pump, I would say that's a crazy idea. Now, though, as we get ready for summer vacation with all three of my boys home from school - I can say I actually miss pumping.
Here are five reasons I’m not crazy to miss pumping:
Pumping makes you feel connected to your child. If the baby is fussy or gassy with pumped milk, you can look back at your own meals and wonder, "What did I eat that's causing this? Did we have broccoli at dinner last night?" and you can start the problem-solving process of determining what might be causing your baby's discomfort. Once they start on their own diet of solid foods and big-kid meals, that connection quickly fades and your baby is now dining on his own.
Pumping relaxes you. The oxytocin released during milk production can be a very effective relaxation crutch when you have a new (and growing) baby. You feel good about yourself, about your child, and about your life. Making milk does more than just feed your baby - it feeds your emotions, too.
Pumping helps your health. A friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer when we were in our early 30's. She had a playful attitude and joked, "If I had popped out a kid and put him to my boob at 20, maybe I wouldn't have cancer at 30." We laughed together because she was sort of right. Research published in 2009 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that for a woman with a known history of breast cancer in her family, breastfeeding could help lower her risk of developing the same type of cancer by 60%. That's tremendous! (My friend is now cancer-free, thankfully.)
Pumping is simple. Now that my children are older, I frequently wonder if their diet is good enough. Are we eating enough fiber? Are they getting enough calcium in their foods or should we be offering different fresh vegetables to help account for that? Which fruits give the best amounts of Vitamin C? When I was pumping, I knew that my body was making the perfect proportions of nutrition for my babies. I didn't need to second-guess what I was feeding them because I felt breastmilk was best.
Pumping is forced sit-down time (usually). Pumping required me to set up and sit down, meaning I couldn't start a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher, weed the garden, or clean a bathroom. Pumping allowed me to watch my favorite shows on DVR, read a magazine, or just sit in the quiet time listening to my pump.
Now that my children are older (and very busy at ages 3, 5, and 7), I can't imagine having forced sit-down time! What a treat it would be to go back to - just for a few minutes of one pumping session. Moms, you’re not crazy to enjoy your pumping sessions and all the good that comes with them.