I’ve been exclusively pumping for close to 8 months now. This whole time, I’ve always felt hesitant to leave the house or have people over because I have to be hooked to my breast pump pretty much all the time. Quarantine life helped me in a way because I didn’t feel like I was missing out too much when I stayed home.
As things started to open back up however, I also started feeling like I needed to do “normal” things again, albeit safely given the pandemic. I also thought my growing baby needs to see things outside the four corners of our house for his cognitive, social and emotional development.
Frankly, it seems impossible to do anything else when you’re hooked to a breast pump all the time. However, the past couple of weeks, I was able to do certain things that made me really happy and feel accomplished — all without compromising my pumping schedule. It took a lot of planning but in the end it all worked out.
Here are two things I’ve done and how I did them while keeping up with the breast pump! I’d also like to note that all these were done while observing the government’s guidelines for health and safety amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hosted Lunch With A Few Family Members
I consider this an accomplishment because I’ve been very hesitant to have people over since I started exclusive pumping. I didn’t feel comfortable having to leave my guests just so I could pump. In addition, I’ve been worried that prepping the house for visitors would come in the way of my pumping schedule. However, with some meticulous planning, my husband and I were able to host some of our family for a small get-together over some drinks and barbecue.
Here are some things that helped me host family without having to sacrifice my pumping routine.
- Pump right before the party starts.
- Planning is key! Plan the menu ahead of time. Consider preparing easy-to-make food and a dish or two that you can prepare the day before and then simply heat up/bake on the day of the party.
- Purchase what you need for the party days/weeks ahead.
- Pump as soon as the party ends.
First Road Trip With Baby to Visit My Parents
For several months, my only trips outside the house have been to go out for a run/stroll, take my baby to the park, bring my baby to his medical appointments, get groceries, and get a haircut.
A few weeks ago, I took the plunge and decided it’s time for my baby’s first road trip. I’ve been putting this off mainly because of COVID-19 but also because I just don’t know how I could manage it with my strict pumping schedule. Like I said in my confessions blog, I don’t feel comfortable pumping on-the-go/in public.
Turns out, it’s not at all bad. I was able to do the trip with my husband and my baby, without compromising my pumping schedule.
Here’s how I did it:
- Wake up and pump earlier than usual.
- Pack everything the night before the trip. Pack breast pump and parts right after the morning pumping session.
- Bring sterilizing bag and wipes.
- Bring travel cooler to store breastmilk.
- Prepare for the likely chance that you may end up pumping on the road. In my case, (luckily) I didn’t end up pumping on the road. Instead, I pumped as soon as we arrived at our destination.
Having done these made me feel free and somewhat normal again. It made me realize that I can have a bit of freedom from my breast pump.
Like I said before, pumping for my baby is super worth it. However, most of the time it just feels so inhumane. Unlike nursing, pumping is just super unnatural; but as a mom, I believe I have to do whatever it takes to give my baby the natural gift that is breastmilk.