7 things every woman who exclusively pumped milk for her baby will know
There is breastfeeding. And there is formula feeding.
But the alternative that isn't given as much air-time is... pumping.
Some women choose to do it exclusively. Others would rather give it to their babies directly - but they can't, maybe because their little one is sick, premature, or because they just don't latch on properly.
Whatever the reason or motivation, however, there are certain experiences that most superstar pumping mamas (and they are ALL superstars) will identify with.
Here are seven standouts...
You'll be oh-so familiar with the on-going, endless process of washing, rinsing, separating, and sterilising pumping equipment and bottles. Pre-sterilised breast-milk bags are pricey (about €10 for 30 bags) but wonderfully convenient.
There is no reason why EP'ing mamas can't produce LOTS of milk. So ignore anyone who claims expressing is close-to impossible long-term. Not so, we say! In fact, there are plenty of women who successfully express milk for six months, eight months, a year... and beyond.
It's unlikely - especially in the early weeks and months - that you'll be able to skip a session without leaking milk and being in serious pain (we won't mention mastitis). Which means you'll know all about pumping at least once during the night too, regardless of whether you have a partner to help feed your little one.
4) Feeling like a cow
Not all the time, but let's face it, it'll probably cross your mind at some stage. Because ever so often it will occur to you that there is something just a bit bovine about being hooked up to a machine while milk is sucked at regular intervals from your breasts.
Opening your freezer door and seeing bags of milk will (and rightly so!) give you a pang of pride. You produced it all yourself; you extracted it; you transferred it and placed it in sanitised bags; you dated it, and you popped it in the freezer... and then you did it all again a few hours later. Medal please!
When milk goes up into the machine's tube; when you spill milk; when you're sitting on a toilet in a cubicle because you're out and there's nowhere else to go.
Oh the comfort and joy you feel after freshly expressing: your breasts are emptied and you've a bottle of milk to show for it too. Glorious!