When I became pregnant with my first child, in 1989, I was (and I still am) employed full time outside the home as a Systems Engineer. I had to travel on frequent business trips, and I knew I would have to continue to do so without my infant, following his birth. I did not even consider breastfeeding, because I did not think it would be possible without resigning from my career. At the time, there were not any breastfeeding support groups in the area (that I was aware of), and I did not know anyone who had ever breastfed an infant.
Unfortunately, my first child, Ryan, had 33 ear infections during his infant and toddler years, and he required his first ear surgery at the age of 2-1/2. During my second pregnancy, I was frantically leaving the office to pick up my first son with an ear infection and a 104 degree temperature, when a friend of mine stopped me and said "You ARE going to breastfeed this next baby, aren't you? Haven't you heard that infants who are breastfed have significantly fewer ear infections than formula-fed babies?"
When I asked her how I could possibly breastfeed while working full time and traveling without my child, she explained that I could easily breastfeed my baby if I planned ahead to express my breast milk whenever separated from my infant during the workday or on business trips.
After these encouraging words, I was committed to nursing my second infant for a year, but I then made the mistake of purchasing a completely ineffective battery powered breastpump from a discount department store. I had called a Medela rental station and inquired about rental prices, and had come to the conclusion that I could purchase a battery pump at a department store for the cost of one month's rent. I did not realize that there was a significant difference in the performance and quality of the Medela breast pump compared to the department store battery breastpumps until it was too late! From a cost standpoint, I discovered later that I would have saved a huge amount of money by investing in a Medela breast pump, compared to the cost of the infant formula I had to purchase when my milk dried up prematurely!
When I returned to work with my "bargain breast pump", I discovered that it took nearly an hour to express a tiny amount of milk, and this added to my stress level, both at work and at home (which was the last thing I needed!) I had read in books that "double pumping" was the recommended approach, but I completely missed the point that the "double pumping" should be accomplished with a hospital grade Medela Breast Pump! I was actually foolish enough to purchase yet another cheap department store breastpump and attempted to provide enough breast milk for my daughter by "double pumping" with two, completely inadequate, department store breastpumps.
I had major plans to nurse my daughter, Tiffany, for an entire year, and cried when my milk dried up early due to lack of stimulation from the "cheap" breastpumps. The pumps were not the "bargain" I had expected them to be!
Not much later, I delivered my third infant, Brandon, again with intentions to breastfeed for a year. I still didn't know any better, and I returned to work with even more of the common battery powered breastpumps (the original ones had broken and I had bought new ones several times, during Tiffany and Brandon's early years.) It was then that another co-worker offered some of the best advice I've ever received.... She saw me washing my cheap breastpump parts in the sink and inquired if I was "out of my mind" for even attempting to try to work and continue to breastfeed my infant without a MEDELA BREAST PUMP!
My friend persuaded me to obtain a Medela Breast Pump, if I wanted to continue to nurse my last infant for a full year (which is now recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics ... see my "links" page for the AAP revised statement on breastfeeding!) Back then (1994), I had to drive nearly an hour to acquire the Medela breastpump, but it was well worth the time. I made the trip and was able to nurse my third baby, Brandon, much longer than I ever anticipated!
Just prior to Brandon's first birthday, he was diagnosed with multiple food sensitivities and eczema (a skin rash related to his food allergies). Brandon's dermatologist was excited to hear that I was still breastfeeding him (at 11 months of age), and encouraged me to continue to nurse him for as long as I possibly could. He explained that breast milk is ideal for infants and toddlers who have so many allergies.
Fortunately for Brandon, and with the assistance of the Medela breastpumps, I was able to continue to provide breast milk for him throughout his first year and beyond, even though I still had to leave town without him on frequent business trips. Whenever I traveled, I would request a refrigerator in my hotel room and then bring the expressed milk home on the airplane with me to be frozen and fed to my son during the next business trip.
So far, my eldest son (who was never breastfed) has had ear surgery twice, and my daughter (weaned early due to the ineffective breastpump), has just had her third ear surgery! The youngest child, who was breastfed long-term, has never had a single ear infection in his life! I thank Medela for giving me the ability to provide the BEST nutrition for my last child, while continuing to maintain my challenging career in engineering. I only wish I had heard about the benefits of the Medela breast pumps with the first two children!