When someone begins to transition, from one step to the next, making little changes at a time let’s start with something that you know that works for you. In my case, I have been making a lot of changes in my life. Changing my routine, preparing for birth, and coping with my desire to pump in a job situation where I am not legally allowed to pump in order to protect a patient at all costs due to a sense of distraction. I respect this. As I eat my lunch in my break in place, I happily do so with the sense that I could easily drop everything at any time and initiate a response to an emergency.
Today as I begin to plan to evaluate pumping supplies and bottles and other baby products and such in relation to ones given situation and pumping and nursing as whole, within a community of mothers, I also reflect on sanctity and what it means to me. Sanctity may have a different meaning to different people and yet remain true to a person’s inherit nature. The Catholic Church expresses the prioritization of sanctity of life over sanctity of body yet recognizes that both are essential to life. The sanctity of life is harder to understand and thus connected to a sense of sacredness we can not explain or even fully endorse.
One of the issues I have with the pumps that go under your shirt is that it is not fully expressing a sense of sanctity to the body. There is something to be said for “hiding your pumped milk,” versus allowing it to flow outward into a visible worldly place.
There was something I could not explain. A sense of joy when my milk came in. I remember using the double electric breast pump in the NICU. To this day, I question the definition of double electric pumping. To me, suction was always the most important part of pumping and I had to suction on high yet also recognized the valves and flow of air creating the suction. I looked up the definition of double electric and it endorses a sense of chemical relation or sharing. To me, pumping does not relate to a sense of ions being removed through a membrane and a body. It should be used as the body is intended, where suction of the glands and movement of the nipple are essential to the body. As I continued my pumping journey, I did so and learned that milk supply can be regulated better through a standard breast pump with routine cycles that are consistent and involve listening to your body when it is done. In some cases I think that hospital grade pumps have their place. In that they can be used in emergency situations in NICUs where a baby can not perform this function at all, and a mother’s milk is emergent to the healing process. There is some flexibility in regards to the human body and how it can adapt.
Lately I am learning about the Vagus reflex and how it may relate to the let-down response whether or not it can be felt when milk is exiting the body. I often used pumping as an indicator in my journey to understand my milk supply and when and how to feed my baby. I also noticed the vagus reflex, or a sense of relaxation able to generate more milk in multiple situations. Tandem feeding; Nursing an older baby solo and pumping with a single electric breast pump (PISA) on a higher setting. It is important to have you pump parts and settings correct when pumping because it relates to not harming your physical body while producing breast milk.
The thing I liked about the Willow and other similar breast pumps was that it could be concealed in a fashionable way. It could place milk in a bag in a way that would expose it to less air. However, I do not like the shape of the pump, that I can not see the milk being produced and must rely on an app, that flanges are not compatible with all parts of the pump and also question the way that it could feel. With that in mind, I return to the thought that when making little changes, think about what has worked for you in the past and how you can keep that going for you. My current goal has been to be able to move around while pumping and still relax and initiate the Vagus reflex to continue my pumping. I am not the fittest of the fit. But I choose to embrace my body’s sanctity with a sense of freedom. Pump on mama meg, I say to myself, freely, and embrace sanctity of life for eternity.
I am a mother of two, an RN, an IBCLC, and a spiritually minded, caring person. Here I am now, writing about my journey, my faith and trust in breastfeeding in hopes that it will help you along with yours…