I have to write this out, say it out loud and applaud a few special moms living day in and day out the way we all do. Only, they do it differently than I ever did. How? Why am I feeling like giving every single one of these mothers a standing ovation? Two words: Exclusive Pumping.
That’s right. For some reason, lately I’ve come to know of more and more women around me who made the choice, when the going got tough to exclusively pump. I looked into exclusively pumping when my oldest, Brennan, was only a few weeks old. He just couldn’t get the hang of breastfeeding and I was a brand new mother. I had no clue what I was doing and thought that my baby would magically latch on with ease. I was not prepared for the difficulty of a disorganized eater; one who could not coordinate sucking, swallowing and breathing. So I looked into exclusively pumping. I tried to do it actually. That last for about half a day.
The reason why this has been on my heart lately is because when I’ve been talking with my mommy friends who exclusively pumped I sense this twinge of guilt coming from their mouths. It’s like they feel like they aren’t good enough moms because they are using or had to use a breast pump to feed their baby breast milk. That couldn’t be farther from the truth and I would like to say that I think you’re more of a mom because you have done what you had to do for your baby. You didn’t give up. The going got tough and you know what? You said, “Fine. Bring it on. I’ll add on a pumping schedule on top of a feeding schedule. I’ll bring on those bottles and pump accessory parts that have to be cleaned round the clock. I do it for my child.”
Hold your head up high, woman. Don’t think for a second that this isn’t good enough because the original plan wasn’t working. That doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Do you hear me saying this?
Exclusively pumping is not a failure in the scorecard of motherhood.
P.S. There really isn’t a motherhood scorecard; I made that up. And those of you mamas who use formula are not failures either. [At this point, Bert, stands up from her chair and looks at you in the eye to say, “You aren’t a failure for using formula and I really think you’re an awesome mom because you are keeping that child healthy and loving that baby. This post is for the exclusively pumping mamas though, okay?]
At the end of the day, we’re all trying to do what’s best for our children. Whether it’s physical challenges that makes conventional breastfeeding not possible or emotional challenges that make it difficult, you are still doing what is best for your child. I applaud you, Mama, for taking on extra work. For not only giving your sweet baby that bottle of breast milk but for also pumping that breast milk, cleaning the parts, storing the milk and then starting it all over again in two hours. If I could see you now, I would be standing up from my chair, huge cheesy grin on my face applauding you and saying, “Bravo! Bravo!” Then I would give you a big ‘ol hug, and I must confess, I’m not a hugger. You deserve it though. Cheers to you, lady, cheers to you!
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As the creator of the lifestyle blog Me Before Mom, Bert supports millennial moms facing the challenges and changes of motherhood. Me Before Mom is an online community that offers support through real life stories, encouraging advice, and answers to questions about how a woman maintains herself during this self-sacrificial time of parenthood. Stories from Bert Anderson have helped women across the globe through the Huffington Post, Today’s Parent, and on the Harry show. Whether weathering the first year of motherhood or walking through the later stages of motherhood, Bert has helped many continue to find herself while still in the throes of motherhood.