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Confession: I love/hate my breast pump

It’s complicated. ?

Confession: I love/hate  my breast pump

When my daughter was about 10 months old, I came down with a horrible stomach flu that tanked my milk supply one weekend. So when Monday rolled around, I had no breastmilk to send to daycare with her. None. Nada. Zip. Nothing in the freezer and my breasts were dry as a bone.


When I dropped her off, I stifled my guilt and feelings of general failure as much as possible, and told her caregivers just to give her formula.

Fast forward to that afternoon when I got a phone call from daycare asking me to come back and feed her because she hadn’t had anything to drink all day. The baby flatly refused that formula.

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I cried so hard that day. I was so tired of feeling chained to my pump.

I needed to know I could take a break from it, and that my daughter would be okay. As it turned out, she wouldn’t be okay, so I had to press on. I pumped for a full year for my daughter. And I breastfed her until she was 16 months old. I actually loved nursing. But pumping was a different story.

So when I was cradling my son at his two-week well check and the sweet nurse practitioner asked me an innocent question, all I could do was blink back at her for a few moments. “So, what’s your plan for when you go back to work?” she asked.

Back to work. Oh, my word. I’m going to have to pump again. How had I blocked all of that out? Anxiety started to build up in my chest, and instead of putting on a brave face and giving a cheerful response, I was honest, “I don’t know. I really, really hate pumping.”

Her response was immediate, “Then don’t.”

Huh—what? THAT is an option?

She pointed out that my son would be starting daycare in the winter, which meant more germs, and that he’d likely benefit from as much breast milk as possible. But also, formula was totally fine.

“I’m giving you permission to give him formula. Even if you produce more than enough milk for him. You. Can. Give. Him. Formula. Give him a bottle a day starting around six weeks so he’ll get used to it.”

You know that scene in Braveheart where Mel Gibson screams, “FREEEEEEDOM”? That was basically me in all my postpartum glory. I’ll give you a moment to let this mental image sink in.

Anyway, we left that appointment, and off I went off to buy formula—and then I almost died of sticker shock.

How do formula parents do this? I thought formula feeding moms were already rock stars with all the bottles they have to make and wash times infinity, but I had no idea that they were also spending a small fortune to fill all those bottles.

I looked, and looked, and looked some more. I was sure I was missing some great formula buying secret or deal. Nope. Even with the coupons I could find, formula is just darn expensive.

And then I looked at my pump and apologized.

Poor pump, poor sweet, innocent, free-to-me-through-insurance pump. I had said so many mean things. I had begrudgingly lugged it to work every day for a year. I had groaned every time I heard that familiar whirring. I had cursed it under my breath while washing all of the parts every night.

I hadn’t realized what a gift it was. There was food—free food—for my baby. From my body. Yes, it was a lot of work getting it, and most days I felt like a cow when I was hooked up to the darn thing (see, there I go again…). But it was there. And the price was right.

I’ve never been so conflicted about something.

On one hand, I loathed the pump and my general inability to escape it once I went back to work after my babies were born. On the other hand, it’s kind of nice to be able to afford to feed the other people in my house, and I wasn’t sure how to do that and also buy formula.

So here’s where I’ve landed:

  • I’m not putting any pressure on myself this time.
  • I’m still pumping, for now. I was pumping three times a day at work, but that got to be too time-consuming and, frankly, annoying, so now I am only pumping two times a day.
  • I’m not stressed if my son has an occasional bottle of (daycare supplied) formula if I’m short on milk for the day.

Guess what? So far my son is doing just fine.

And if I decide that pumping is too stressful or is giving me anxiety, or if I feel myself slipping back into the guilt that contributed to my PPD—I will kick that pump to the curb and not look back.

So, pump. I love/hate you. You’re a total frenemy. But you’re safe.

For now.

In This Article

    14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

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    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

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    Detective set

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    Sand play set

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    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $100

    Mini golf set

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    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

    Vintage scooter balance bike

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    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Wooden rocking pegasus

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    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

    $100

    Croquet set

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    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

    $45

    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

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    Wooden bulldozer toy

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    Pull-along hippo

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    Baby forest fox ride-on

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    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

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    Balance board

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    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

    $75

    Meadow ring toss game

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    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $30

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    This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

    One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

    If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

    Stylish storage cabinet

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    White board calendar + bulletin board

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    Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

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    Bamboo storage drawers

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    Laminated world map

    I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

    Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

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    Letterboard

    From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

    Expandable tablet stand

    Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

    Neutral pocket chart

    Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

    Totable fabric bins

    My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

    Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

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