Last Friday I talked about the fact that good choices sometimes get in the way of great choices...or at the very least, other good choices. I'm trying to decide if I'm facing one of those situations in my life right now, and what I should do about it.
It was important to me from the beginning to give my daughter breastmilk. I couldn't stay home with her, but I could at least make sure she had "nature's best food for babies". (I don't want this to devolve into a breastfeeding vs. formula debate...I have no issue with anyone who chooses to use formula or must use formula. When I went on vacation, my daughter drank formula for over a week, and she was just fine when I got back. It is not evil. There, that's out of the way). Personal preferences aside, have you seen the price of formula lately??? I'm a grad student, for crying out loud, not a corporate executive.
After I got past the whole "mastitis" incident, nursing has truly been a joy. Pumping, on the other hand...oh my, am I ready to be done with that. I am very fortunate that pumping has been physically easy for me. A fellow researcher I trade off with in the dark corner of a bathroom that is allotted to breastpumping mothers has to pump for an hour to get 4 oz. of milk. In comparison, I could win a blue ribbon at the county fair for "prodigious producer". As long as I've been drinking enough water and leave out the mint tea, I can get 12+ oz. in about 45 minutes. I have a decent pump -- the Medela pump-in-style double electric model. If assembling a breastpump were a timed Olympic event, I could probably win gold. But I'd rather borrow a rifle from the sharp-shooting event and blow the thing to pieces.
I have to spend anywhere from 2 to 3 hours pumping on weekdays, and on weekends I still have to pump before going to bed. Granted, I get to read a lot of books while I pump, but that's a huge chunk of my time. Recently I had to stop going to the gym every day. I just can't get enough done with my research if I pump and exercise. And frankly, after pumping at night I am not even remotely interested in getting cozy with my husband. As the ever-wise Sheila Wray Gregoire points out,this puts a strain on the marital relationship, but I can't help it. It takes a lot of energy (500 extra calories a day to maintain milk production) and I feel less than beautiful after disconnecting from the Machine. Nursing bras don't help. (Yes, I know you can get pretty ones, but they're quite expensive and I can't see how they'd hold up against milk stains). I'm beginning to think I should reconsider what I'm saying "no" to in order to provide breastmilk for my daughter.
Of course, Aurelia's first birthday is tomorrow, and her 12-month checkup is on Thursday. Hopefully her pediatrician will tell me I'm off the hook now. And give me a gold medal and a million dollars...haha. So this may soon be a non-issue. In the meantime, here's a clip of another Machine of Doom. Westley knows exactly how I feel.