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Saying Goodbye to Afternoon Meetings with My Breastpump

Chelsea Nelson

When I went back to work nine months ago, it seemed like the ‘end’ of pumping at work would never come. For nine months, I have carried around this ridiculous contraption – pumping twice a day – regardless of off-site conferences, out of town work trips, employee retreats, or other barriers. I did it. I have pumped in bathrooms, cars, sketchy hallways, other people’s homes, hotels, and even a kid’s party room at a bowling alley.

I am proud of myself. Despite the difficulty, despite the 15 pounds my body can’t seem to shake, and despite feeling like a literal cow many days – I kept it up. I didn’t stop.  

But my goal of breastfeeding for one year is nearly reached. And breastfeeding and pumping have become my normal everyday rituals. Pumping while being a working mom has been hard most days -- an interruption when I am knee-deep in a writing project, or an early exit during a meeting. But, at the same time, it has also been a sort of refuge -- a 20-minute break to watch videos of my baby or the latest Mindy Project episode, or catch up on one of my favorite podcasts. And certainly, it has been a few moments to pull myself out of work mode and into mom mode – which I miss during a busy workday.

I recently went down to one pumping session per day, as my daughter started weaning – bottle by bottle. First, she didn’t want her morning bottle. And this past week, she has been weaning her late afternoon bottle. She prefers pasta and strawberries; pb&j and crackers; eggs and yogurt. I mean, why wouldn’t she? In reality, I really could stop pumping at work today. We are less than three weeks away from her first birthday – but I won’t. Something about that diehard date has me fixated. And so, for three more weeks, I will take my afternoon break to procure the last of her bottled milk. <insert long sigh>

It kind of makes me want to cry, as much as it makes me want to shout a big “HELL YES” at the top of my lungs, over and over and over.

I have been reading a bit about post-weaning depression. A year ago, I might have thought that would be a crazy thing – why would anyone be sad about being done with breastfeeding? But I am. We will still keep on with the evening and morning feedings for a while, but she doesn’t get up at night anymore. She sleeps. She doesn’t nurse during the day anymore. She eats big kid food. And now, my husband can put her to sleep and I can have a break. And while that is so incredibly freeing, I can’t help but feel like I am losing something, like I am losing a connection that only the two of us have shared for one whole year.  

Over the past week or so, as I have been planning her birthday party: getting her one-year photos, ordering catering, and sending out invitations. I have also been relishing our nursing time. The way she feels in my arms. They way she still seems so dependent on me in those moments. The way she seems softer when she twirls her hair as I rock her. There isn’t a time I feel more like a mom than in those moments.

But, I know there will be new moments coming. I know that over the next year, the things she will do and SAY will be astounding in a new way. I can’t wait for those moments. I am so exited to see her transform and I know that there will always be things we are letting go of. Rituals we will leave behind. Moments that will never happen again.

But I really believe, that those moments are no better than the ones yet to come. Just different.

…….And, I am really excited to throw away my nursing bras.

…….And, finally be able to cut my calories and get my amazingly hot bod back (catch the sarcasm).

…….And, to bring the boobs back to the bedroom. I mean, let’s be honest. Those things have been off limits for far too long.

Cheers to all things new!

Have you had similar feelings while weaning your baby? Share with us in the comments! There is something about knowing a community of women have gone through the same thing that makes all of this so much easier.