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Pumping Buddies

By Shawndria Avery
Hampstead NC USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 15 No. 3, May - June 1998, p. 88

We provide articles from our publications from previous years for reference for our Leaders and members. Readers are cautioned to remember that research and medical information change over time.

My second child is now eight months old. I knew when he was born that I would breastfeed him since I had already breastfed my daughter successfully. When my daughter was born five years ago, I knew LLL existed, but never contacted the organization. I had the support of my mother, who encouraged me to breastfeed, and she was wonderful in answering my many questions. Without her help, I would have given it up after the first week home. The only problem with Mom was that she was 500 miles away!

When I was pregnant with my son, a woman I work with, Renee, was due two weeks after me. She asked questions about the benefits of breastfeeding, whether or not it hurt, and about pumping after returning to work. I told her that I nursed my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed our time and experience together. I continued to nurse her even after I had returned to work, pumping during my break time in the ladies' room. Since we had our babies twenty days apart, we both returned to work at about the same time.

We hadn't really been friends at work, just co-workers. We worked together for eight years, but we never really knew each other. We saw each other away from our place of work only if there was a wedding shower or a social event of that nature. But when we came back to work after our babies' births, all of our shifts seemed to coincide. So we were alternating turns to take our breaks and pump. Renee suggested that we take our breaks in an unused locker room downstairs, since there was more room, a table to place our pumps on, and lockers where we could store our snacks. (This locker room and lounge became our lactation station.) One afternoon, she had a question about how to produce more milk and have more let-downs during pumping. I told her I would come downstairs to help her solve the problem she was having. Since she was a first-time mother who was just learning to pump, I told her I would give her any tips that I thought would help.

One afternoon, Renee suggested that I attend an LLL meeting and ask a couple of questions for both of us. I'm so glad I did. It was great knowing there was a support group out there for nursing mothers - something I didn't take advantage of with my first child. It also gave me the freedom to discuss openly and honestly the "womanly art of breastfeeding." Renee and I decided to start taking our breaks together, and this offered us time to read the information from the LLLI Web site and gave us the opportunity to talk about our children. This in turn gave both of us more let-downs, and we found that we both produce enough milk that we don't have to supplement with formula.

I want to say thank you to Renee for introducing me to LLL, and we would like to thank LLL for providing us the opportunity to become friends. New mothers don't have to lock themselves in a closet to pump while at work. Hiding only discourages other women and causes them to think that breastfeeding is a very private thing you don't talk about. I want to encourage all mothers who have to return to work to find breastfeeding friends at work and encourage other mothers to breastfeed, too. I hope that bottlefeeding will become taboo in the future. Thanks again to LLL for helping us new mothers overcome difficulties.

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