Crying Over Spilled Milk

Mona Hickey

Posted By: Mona Hickey

I went back to work at eight weeks. The biggest fear I have is that my milk is going to dry up. I can't stress out because it zaps milk supply! How do I keep zen about something I have become obsessed with?

This week I cried over spilled milk. Well, it wasn't crying, it was more a grimace. I grimaced over spilled milk. And the milk hadn't spilled, exactly, but rather leaked through my breast pad and through my shirt.

I was on a phone call and I hadn't pumped. I expected that I would have to pump right after the call, but it ran long. There were topics that needed to be discussed, issues that needed to be addressed. But what was done was done. My pumping schedule was thrown off and there I was, at my desk where I casually brushed my forearm across my chest—a trick I use to measure any dampness—and suddenly I knew what was happening to my body.

I had to pull together a James Bond strategy quickly, that is, if James Bond tackled reverse cycling instead of wooing sexy women and killing bad guys and their cats. I could pump over the phone but how would I explain the loud mechanical woo-wah-woo-wah in the background? Could I really just place the call on hold so I could strap on the breast shields and plug in the tubing?

I had a moment of being frustrated at everything. I was frustrated that the call ran long which led me to being frustrated that I was at work which led me to miss my son which also made me upset that I had to pump because my milk supply was low and I couldn't breastfeed, etc. It was just one bummer after another and my colleague was still yammering on.

Then I pulled the parenting card and pretended that my cell phone was ringing. "That's my daycare on the other line, I have to go." I tried to quickly tie up the conversation, ensure that I would be sending some emails and more follow-up and I hung up the phone, unbuttoned my shirt and assembled my pump more quickly than a solider puts together a rifle before heading into battle.

My pumping schedule is routine, everything else is not. I have people who ask me questions right before I have to pump. Calls that overlap my session times and people whom I need to feign a ring from the daycare to get off the line. But that's what it is in my office, a world where I get to have a career during the day and come home to two wonderful kids at night. There are brambles in parenting and pumping and I take it as it is, glory, grimace and all.

9:26am on Wednesday October 13
1 comment


4:12pm on Wednesday October 13

I have never cried over spilt milk, but I did get quite teary the day I discovered that I'd left 15 ounces of pumped milk in my lunch bag over the weekend. An hour of my life wasted! All that milk down the drain! It's rough to get all the pumping routines down in the midst of all the job and life chaos.

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