Dabbling Babbling Mommy

Archive for the ‘Breastfeeding’ Category

This was originally a guest post on www.mommakesmilk.com a number of years ago, which unfortunately is no longer available. I dug it up because I am in need of some pumping motivation, and thought I’d share!


Those plastic horns stared a hole right through me. And as I stared back, I couldn’t help but resent the fact that in about 30 seconds, my body was literally going to be attached to this machine that I had grown to loathe.

At first, I didn’t mind pumping so much. I was confident that I was making the right choice for my son and I by continuing to provide milk despite the fact that I had to be separated from him during the day. I got a slight thrill every time I pumped more than I needed to and was able to fill another freezer bag. I was fortunate enough to never have a problem with pain or irritation; I had a private space at work, and a supportive employer.

But after about six months, I was over it. Picturing my son and imagining his cooing had gotten really old, and I began to dread every upcoming session. My motivation was completely gone.

So what’s a mom to do when the only thing standing between her and her breastfeeding goal is a lack of pumping motivation? When she wants to keep going, but just can’t stand the thought of pulling out that machine one more time?

Research has shown that we are motivated both internally and externally, with the former being more effective. In my case, I was internally motivated for a while, knowing that I was doing the right thing, confident in myself and my decision, and wanting to push forward simply because I felt strongly enough to keep going. For a lot of moms, this internal motivation can be powerful enough to sustain them through their goal of pumping for six months, a year, or more. I tip my hats to them.

But for moms like me, who get overwhelmed and often times live on the brink of giving up, continuing to pump requires effort. How you choose to motivate yourself will depend on your personality, so I definitely suggest that if you are “living on the brink,” you seek out ways that will work for you. Sometimes, a “quick fix” will be enough to jumpstart your motivation, so here are a few suggestions to get you started:

 Find a pumping mentor

Finding someone who has been through a similar situation can help by providing advice as well as support. Maybe you have a coworker or friend who has pumped that you can turn to. If not, online support can be an invaluable resource. Try searching on parenting website discussion threads, or for #breastfeeding on Twitter. My “online friends” are some of the best mentors I have.

Make a chart

If you only have a short time to go to reach your pumping goal, figure out about how many ounces you need per day and create a chart or calendar where you can give yourself a sticker for every day you reach your goal. It may seem elementary, but for some women, getting a “gold star” for the day can make all of the difference!

Find a support system

Attending a Le Leche League meeting or mom’s group can be a terrific way to connect with others who are trying to overcome breastfeeding hurdles. Again, if an in-person group isn’t feasible or comfortable for you, the web can be a great place to find support. A Google search for “breastfeeding support groups” yields results for both live and online groups.

Try new “stuff”

I am a sucker for novelty, and getting something “new” will almost certainly buy me a few days of motivation, no pun intended. In this case, I would recommend going practical. Buy a hand-free pumping bra, or a digital picture frame so you can have pictures of your little one rotate throughout your session. If buying isn’t your thing, create a new “do not disturb” sign for your office door (if you are fortunate enough to have one), make a photo collage, or a playlist of motivating music.


Find ways to remind yourself why you are pumping, so that when the going gets tough, you can reflect on the positive. Keep a journal of feeding memories, write down motivational quotes and stories, or create and recite a “pumping mantra” to keep your spirits high.

As with everything else related to our children, this time is temporary. Keep moving forward, keep making the best choices you can for your family, and know that while becoming discouraged is natural, you can overcome it!

Have you ever hit a pumping wall? How did you overcome it?


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Dabbling Babbling Mommy

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