World Breast Pumping Day January 27th

Today is the first annual World Breast Pumping Day!

Pumping has been an important part of my breastfeeding journey with both of my babies.

I suffered (yes, suffered) with oversupply when Grady was a newborn. I pumped to relieve pressure, which triggered my body to make even more breastmilk because it's all about supply and demand, baby. I wish I had known then what I know now: pumping to relieve oversupply can actually create an even bigger supply. I would have saved myself a lot of engorgement (and maybe I wouldn't have stretch marks on my boobs now!). Grady couldn't drink all of the milk I produced (though he certainly tried; looking at his baby pictures always makes me laugh because of his giant, smooshy cheeks). I donated my surplus to the BC Women's Provincial Milk Bank.

This time around, I started with the same oversupply and then it suddenly dipped. I'm not sure if it was stress, my thyroid hormones, or the phase of the moon, but my supply started to taper off. I pumped to give my body a nudge to boost my supply and keep up with Poppy's needs. I'm lucky that my body quickly responded to the pump and my supply was sufficient in no time.

I'm lucky. My breastfeeding issues were fairly easy to manage and were resolved quickly with pumping.

There are a lot of women who aren't so lucky. Latch difficulties, structural issues with the breast or baby's mouth, emotional or physical trauma, baby loss, medical problems, separation, premature birth, the list goes on and on. Some women are unable, or choose not, to breastfeed. And that's perfectly okay. Women should make the choice that fits for them and for their family. But for some women, pumping bridges the gap between wanting to provide breastmilk for their baby, and not being able to breastfeed directly at the breast.

World Breast Pumping Day celebrates these women. The women who spend hours hooked up to a machine, literally draining themselves (both of breastmilk and energy!). The women who sterilize pump parts and bottles and nipples...and then do it all again the next day. The women who can tell you to the ounce how big their freezer stash is. The women who pump in offices; on airplanes; in bathrooms; while driving; at work; every two hours; while eating; for months. These women deserve to be recognized. These women are amazing.

If you want to show your support for moms who pump, there are a few ways to do it: