When I had told my friend who is also a mom that the baby had a weak suck, and thus nursing could not be the primary form of eating for her, she empathized with me and told me that she had a couple of friends who were exclusive pumpers and had done this for over a year with their babies. So she would reach out to them to ask for their advice to share with me. They had a couple of pieces of advice for me: dark beer, brewer’s yeast, oatmeal, and joining the exclusive pumping mama‘s Facebook group for support. Most people do not understand the life of an exclusive pumper, including those moms who exclusively nurse, and so the support that we needed was a bit unique. A lot of people do not believe that exclusive pumping moms are breast-feeding their children, as stupid as that sounds, because their babies are eating from a bottle as opposed to directly from the breast. And so, in the exclusive pumping mamas Facebook group, one of the rules is that you cannot discuss nursing or latching; one tiny violation of this, and you will be banned for life. This group is solely to support women who pump and particularly those who exclusively pump to feed and nourish their babies.
I had not even thought about joining a Facebook support group, and so when my friend suggested this, I immediately applied to become a member. Hours later, I was excepted, and there I entered into a world of support and resources that I had not had in the last couple of months that I really would’ve benefited from in retrospect. During my middle of the night pump overnight, my pump time came and went so quickly because I was so engrossed in reading all of the posts that people wrote. I related so much to the mental stress and anxiety that people expressed over their milk supply, particularly those who are under suppliers like me. I thought I had it bad when I was only pumping around 200-300 mL per day for my baby in the beginning when there were women who were only able to pump 10-20 mL per day. I actually felt seen and heard in this group of women who I had never met. I even responded to a few posts and questions, and I also posted one or two of my own questions. And people were so willing to respond and so willing to cheer everyone on. Everyone understood each other’s journey here and why we all pumped. We all understood and did not need to explain to each other the importance of breastmilk and why we wanted our babies to have as much breastmilk as possible. It felt really good to read through all of these posts because it was like these were my peers I was conversing with.
I am always making references to the pumping mamas Facebook group when I talk to Chris. It’s like some thing that I mention at least a couple of times every single day, and I’m sure he thinks it is a little annoying. I told him that with this Facebook support group, I finally feel seen. He had a quizzical look on his face and responded, “What do you mean? I see you every day!”