Yes, I exclusively pumped for a year and survived to tell about it. I willingly pumped six times a day (at least) for a year and often once in the middle of the night. Every. Single. Day. Many people thought I was crazy. OK, everyone thought I was crazy. Heck, I thought I was crazy.

But you know what else? I am also proud I did it. 

I am a first-time mom who was just trying to do the best for her baby. I always wanted to nurse but because of latching issues, it didn’t work out.

My doctors all told me I pretty much had two options: go to extreme breastfeeding classes where they use weird gadgets and gizmos to try to get your baby to nurse properly, or switch to formula. None of them even brought up pumping exclusively. In fact, when I did, I was told it wasn’t sustainable. 

I’d be lying if I said the last year wasn’t hard though. 

It was hard when I woke myself up at 5:30 a.m. to pump. It was hard when I had to pump in public bathrooms at baby showers and weddings—especially when I got strange looks from other women.

It was hard when we drove eight hours to visit my family and I had to juggle all the pumping equipment in the car, trying not to spill anything.

It was hard when I pumped at work, the intern walked in on me and then ran away mortified (although, it’s safe to say he learned a valuable lesson about knocking that day).

It was hard when people didn’t understand why I made this decision. 

It was hard when I took a press call with Amazon while pumping at home and just hoped no one would ask me what that noise was.

And it was hard on days I could barely keep my eyes open because I was up every few hours with a baby and wanted to sleep instead of pump. 

But I didn’t quit. Because even though it was hard, I’m an idealist and can be exceedingly stubborn when I set my mind to something. 

I get it, It’s HARD. I had to make a lot of sacrifices. It was often an inconvenience for my husband, family, and friends. Physically, it is exhausting. Nursing and/or pumping take a toll on your energy. And you always need to be near a plug when you go out or rush home every 2-3 hours to make sure you can pump. 

But to any moms considering it, it’s not impossible, especially if you have a little support. I’m not here to tell any mom it is the best option if breastfeeding doesn’t work out. Fed is always best. But for those considering it, it is a very viable option and if I can make it, you can, too. 

I had a year-long goal to provide what I decided was best for my baby and I did it.

Turns out, I more than survived.

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Sarah Althouse

Sarah is a Buffalo transplant living in Washington, D.C. with her husband Josh and cat Squeakers. By day she work as a Communications Director for a Member of Congress; by night she dreams of being Martha Stewart. She also loves pigs, peonies, politics and peanut butter. Follow her at http://prettysimpleideas.com/