If women logged hours on a breast pump the way pilots log hours in airplanes, I'd be doing long-haul flights to Beijing by now. Seriously. By my rough estimates, at this point in my nine-month-old's life (and this is not math I recommend doing), I have pumped at least 3,000 ounces of breast milk for her and her older sister, neither of whom have been given formula. That's a whole lot of hours hooked up to the milk machine.
From hour one, I loved nursing—the closeness, the convenience, the feeling of being able to provide exactly what my baby needed, whenever she needed it. I also loved my job, and the benefits it provided—like, you know, food to eat and a roof over my head. So, like most over-educated mothers who waited probably until they should have known better to have babies, I spent a lot of time reading everything I could about how to pump milk for my baby once I went back to work.
There's no shortage of advice about what works, and that's great—get all the advice you can. But having been through this a couple of times now, I've learned several things that are the opposite of everything I read about successfully giving a baby breast milk without the breast. Here's the advice that no one gave me.