This mom’s photo shoot shows the “beauty in the struggle” of exclusively pumping
There is no easy way to feed a baby. Breastfeeding, formula, supplementing, exclusively pumping — all of them present their own fair share of challenges. One mom opened up about her relationship with the breast pump, and it’s heartwarming and brutally honest.
Mom and exclusive pumper Jaque Hines shared a gorgeous photo shoot and accompanying post on her Facebook page, and her words can easily resonate with moms everywhere.
“This is for the mom who always dreamed of nursing but couldn’t,” she begins. “This is for the mom who’s feeling like 10 min connected to the pump is an eternity. This is for the mom on a first name bases with the lactation clinic staff. This is for the mom who feels like she can’t leave the house because by the time she pumps, showers, changes the baby, feeds the baby, and takes the dogs out; its time to pump again.”
There are a million articles and blog posts about formula and breastfeeding, but exclusive pumping is an experience that often gets overlooked. We always see those beautiful, ethereal, Pinterest-worthy photos of moms nursing their infants, so why shouldn’t moms who pump capture their own experience in a photo shoot?
The photos, shot by Images By Charity photographer Charity Williams, show Hines looking as beautiful as any new mama, but her pictures come complete with breast pump.
“This is for the mom struggling with the pain of mastitis. This is for the mom pumping in her car wishing she had tinted windows. This is for the mom who absolutely has to try that oatmeal stout beer because it might be the secret to opening the flood gates but really its just to have SOMETHING for herself,” she writes.
Not all moms are able to breastfeed their babies. Because breastfeeding is hard. Whether it’s due to a painful latch, under supply, or any one of the multitude of issues that arise when trying to successfully nurse an infant, exclusive pumping is a form of feeding many women subscribe to.
In her post, Hines talks about the isolation of pumping: in the break room at work, in a spare bedroom during family gatherings, feeling like you aren’t bonding with your infant in the way nursing moms do. It’s hard. Emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Hines, who tells Scary Mommy she stopped attempting to nurse after three and a half months due to an incredibly painful latch, says she was able to feel confident about exclusively pumping thanks to an online support group. She hopes her photo shoot brings awareness to “EPing.”
“I had no idea that exclusively pumping was a thing much less something that you could for extended periods of time,” she says.
“I have had this shoot on my mind for months and months,” Hines tells Scary Mommy. “Because pumping is hard, so so very hard, and I though we needed a tribute just like nursing moms.”
“So I decided to do my version on a nursing shoot, to show all my pumping moms the beauty in the struggle, to inspire them to have a pumping shoot too, and to let them know that they are so not alone in this wild ride.”
In her post, Hines urges pumping mamas to celebrate their journey. “Know that you’re beautiful, know that pumping is beautiful, know that you’re doing your best, know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE, know that; no matter what, YOUR BABY LOVES YOU!!!!”
While Hines supports any form of feeding, she says, “This was just my experience, and one that I hold dear to my heart. But at the end of the day no matter what form you choose, we are all supermoms.”