When Pumping Sucks, Find Your Village
The in-person support that helped our mothers and grandmothers raise their families doesn’t exist for today’s modern mom; we connect in different ways. The coffee klatsch of yore has morphed into carefully curated Instagram posts and tweets. We often don’t have built-in support networks of geographically close family and friends to call on for help when we’re struggling. We need to find our digital village, to surround ourselves with compassionate voices, and build support networks with information from trustworthy sources.
The breastfeeding world can be a noisy and overwhelming place to try to find support. Moms who are on the fringes (because they pump, or use formula, or combo feed, etc.) often feel excluded, like they aren’t really breastfeeding if they aren’t feeding their babies exclusively straight from the breast. The way we choose to feed our babies is a deeply personal decision, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one family can’t be expected to work for another, and what works for one baby won’t necessarily work for another baby within the same family.
World Breast Pumping Day (WBPD) is a day to acknowledge the different ways we feed our babies, and to support each other’s choices even when they look different than our own. Mothers pump for a variety of reasons – separation, illness, structural challenges with baby’s mouth or mom’s breasts, history of trauma or abuse, personal preference, convenience, and more. The reasons for choosing alternative feeding methods are no less valid than choosing to breastfeed. WBPD is a celebration of the dedication, tenacity, and love parents put into feeding their babies.
It’s also an opportunity for pumping moms to ask questions, offer tips and tricks, provide support, and share their stories to help normalize pumping. The more we talk about the different ways we feed our babies, the more inclusive we make the infant feeding space. WBPD makes room for the mom pumping beside her preemie’s NICU bassinet, for the assault survivor who bottle feeds to preserve her boundaries, for the chest-feeder using an SNS, for the corporate mom pumping in a boardroom and supplementing with formula when needed, for the mom whose baby was born with a cleft palate, for the surrogate, the combo-feeder, and the mom pumping to donate in her baby’s memory.
Will you celebrate with us?