* Disclaimer time. This post is about breast pump recycling. This post is NOT about choices regarding how one feeds one's child(ren). Everyone who is parenting or caring for a child or children will be faced with determining how best to feed them. This may be breastfeeding, formula feeding or pumping to express breastmilk. This may involve using baby-led weaning or using purees. This may involve using only organic foods, locally grown or not. Etc., etc., etc. The point is not how you choose to feed, but the fact that you are feeding your child, making sure they have access to nutrients required for health and growth.
On August 15, 2014, I pumped breastmilk for the Beats for the very last time. A month earlier, due to HMFD, they had both weaned themselves and I was left pumping to fulfill their need for milk. Following their first birthday and on the heels of their transition to the toddler room, if was clear it was time to start transitioning them to cow's milk. And with that transition can the clear signal that it was time to hung up the pump.
Since August, my breast pump has lived in a box with me wondering what to do with it. Some suggested selling it, but seeing as the portable pumps are meant to for a single user it didn't seem like a good option. That and they only place I had seen pumps listed was Craig's list, which seemed a bit sketchie. The other option was simply tossing it into the garbage, but it seemed like such a waste.
Finally today, it dawned on me that I'm unlikely to be the only person facing this dilemma, I contacted the company that manufactured my pump to enlist their help.
Rather recently, breast pump recycling has become an option. Companies like Hygea pioneered the idea of recycling with their "No pumps in dumps" campaign. More recently, Medela has also started a pump recycling program, collaborating with the Ronald McDonald House Charities to support the donation of breast pumps to mothers staying with them while their babies are in NICU. Granted, they only want the pump unit, leaving the owner with trying to figure out how to recycle tubing and other parts. But the idea of supporting a charity that is helping new mothers with babies in NICU is very appealing.
Tonight I printed off a label to return my pump to Medela. Tomorrow I will be dropping off a box at my local post office so that this pump can return to Illinois. The tote that housed this pump will be donated to the local LLL, for someone who is in need of a travel case.
As I unpackaged the pump unit from the tote and prepared it for shipping, I had flashbacks to those 2 am pump sessions when I would drift in and out of sleep while extracting milk. Of having to tote the pump with me to work daily, sneaking away every 3 hours to drain. All of it was exhausting, but I also knew my efforts were feeding the Beats and those 30 min sessions did provide me with some cherished alone time.
Farewell my dearest breast pump. Your tubes and wires will not be forgotten.
The past week
14 hours ago