This is the first of six posts in the "Pumping with Weather Anchor Mama" series by Stacy-Ann Gooden.
Stacy-Ann currently delivers the weather week nights in New York City, however considers her most important role being a wife and mom. She writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog Weather Anchor Mama.
Before having my little Princess, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. Why? For the obvious reason of course - to get my pre-baby body back! Duh! But seriously, breast milk is the healthiest for any baby and it's the most cost effective too. But, I was a bit worried about being able to keep up because I am a career mom who's always on the go. I kid you not; I'm always pressed for time. Whether you're a stay a home mom or a career mom like myself, nursing and pumping can get overwhelming. By writing this blog, I hope to encourage others to be persistent. There have been times when I've gotten frustrated, but I never considered throwing in the towel and switching to formula. I have so much I want to share regarding my breastfeeding experience. So, let me start from the beginning...
I had just given birth to my little Princess; it was the most excruciating pain I had ever felt. But once the nurse placed my baby girl in my arms, I fell in love. I informed the staff that I planned to begin nursing right away. Latching on was probably the most difficult, but after the lactation consultant came in to give me a few tips, we were good to go. At least I thought we were. If you think giving birth is painful, nursing was more than unbearable! Ok, I may be exaggerating a bit, but you get the point. Just imagine someone pinching you extremely hard. That pain that you feel throughout your whole body is like the pain I felt while nursing for the first time. My nipples became so sore and chafed, nothing could alleviate the pain. Over the next couple of weeks, I tried all those creams and ol' school remedies to no avail. Complaining about it didn't help either. My hubby just looked at me like I was crazy. It took patience and prayer to get me through those first few weeks. It eventually got to a point where the first few seconds of agony turned to bliss, thanks in part to some research I had done. After surfing the web for breastfeeding stories, I read about PumpEase. Once I began using it, I was hooked.
Even though I loved nursing my daughter (and still do), I also felt that PumpEase helped to heal my already sore boobies. Pumping allowed my nipples to take a much needed break. Plus, the pediatrician had advised me to begin introducing the bottle, so that when I returned to work, there wouldn't be any problems for my Princess to adjust. It was like killing two birds with one stone. Now almost one year later, I am still nursing and expressing milk too! In fact, most of my pumping is done at work. My job as a weather anchor can get pretty hectic at times so, before I returned from my maternity leave I made sure that my freezer was fully stocked with breast milk (which I still have on hand to this day).
I wanted to be prepared in case of breaking weather coverage that interrupted our daily routine. For those of you who don't live in New York, last winter was a nightmare! I'm talkin' record-breaking snowfall across the area. With almost 62 inches of total snowfall in Central Park, it ranked as the 3rd snowiest season EVER!
When I got the call to report to work on my day off (the day after Christmas), I knew I would have to spend the night away from my baby girl. Luckily, my hubby didn't have to work and I had some reserve milk in the freezer. Whenever there is severe weather coverage, I usually report live every 15 minutes throughout my shift. I remember working this particular snowstorm in December; we dubbed it the "Holiday Blizzard". I had to go live so often that I didn't have time to pump. By the end of the night I felt like my chest was gonna explode! My bra size probably quadrupled over the course of about 10 hours. To make matters worse, the storm was so bad that I couldn't drive home. My bosses put me in a hotel for the night. I wasn't exactly a happy camper. Not only was it the first night without my baby, I was also in so much pain. Have you ever held your pee so long, you felt like you were gonna burst? Well, that's how I felt that night. Once I was tucked away in my hotel room, I was relieved to get it out. I think I filled up four 5 oz. bottles easily. In retrospect, I don't know how I was able to hold it for so long! When I think about it, I'm probably one of the lucky ones. This was an extreme situation. I usually have no problems pumping at work, but not everyone has that luxury. I spoke with a former co-worker who has a son about the same age as my daughter. She actually pumps in the live truck, while covering her story! No comfy office to go to, and no comfy reclining chair to sit in. But she did say that the guys she works with totally understand and give her privacy. As for me, I usually work in studio, and I've been to be able to retreat to a secluded area for my pumping sessions.
It's been almost 12 months and I am still pumping away, but it wasn't always easy! Join me for Part 2 of "Pumping with Weather Anchor Mama" where I'll chat about nursing my little Princess around the clock (aka how I got through sleepless nights).
Do you pump at work? Are your coworkers understanding? Do you have a private place to pump that is NOT a bathroom? Tell us about it below...
The content of this post is based on the personal experiences of Stacy-Ann Gooden and may not reflect evidence-based information. Your experiences may differ. Please consult your health care provider and/or a Board Certified Lactation Consultant for advice.