I'm just gonna go right out and say it: pumping kind of sucks. I don't know if this makes me more or less of a dynamic pro-breastfeeding mama, but I can't help how I feel. I don't know if it's the fact that you're hooking a machine up to your chest, the industrial sounds it makes (my husband compares it to a really loud coffee maker), or maybe actually seeing said milk in all its glory that weirds me out the most.
The thing about breastfeeding is that I ALWAYS saw myself doing it. I never really questioned whether or not I would. My mom breastfed me and all my sisters, and I guess I just grew up seeing it and thinking that's how you feed babies. Plus, I am kind of poor ;) so free sounded better than not-free.
But the whole time I was pregnant, whenever I would think about milk actually being manufactured by my body and coming out of my breasts, it kind of blew my mind. Jigga-WHAT? I read a book on the subject, but when it got into all the medical diagrams and whatnot, my ADD kicked in and I tuned out. What I got was, "my body magically produces milk and the baby drinks it and we all win". I even took a class on breastfeeding while I was pregnant in order to prepare myself. Here's what I came away with "I am doing the best thing for my baby. Breastfeeding is awesome." Along with a little bit of "take your breast out, put the baby on it. Go!"
Needless to say, my first 2 weeks of trying with an actual baby were interesting. I cried a lot. Everleigh cried a lot. My nipples cracked and bled a little. Then a layer basically came off, leaving behind super pink, tough-cookie nipples. I got my milk in and figured out how the heck to do it right, and Everleigh put up with my punk ass until I got it together.
It's been awesome ever since.
But something cool about breastfeeding that's not so cool about pumping is that when you breastfeed, you don't typically see the milk much, you know? It goes directly from you to baby and unless baby is a messy eater, it's a fairly clean transfer. With pumping, everything's staring right at you. You see your nipples going into the suction things and getting all puffy and weird. Then you see individual drops of milk coming out, dripping down into the bottles, etc. Then when you finish, you're holding two CLEAR containers of breast milk.
I feel like this should not give me the willies but it does sometimes.
I was thinking about this the other day as I pumped, and I really think it's a societal norm issue. I mean, I have a whole gallon of cow's milk in my fridge in a clear container and I've never once thought it was weird. And yet, holding a warm freshly pumped bottle of my own milk still seems a little strange. I MADE that. I made that baby and then I made this milk to feed it.