Monday, June 23, 2014

Tips on Exclusive Pumping

My first experience breastfeeding was wonderful. It was a beautiful moment I shared with Little Monkey in our hospital room, he was the perfect latcher! The nurses bragged on him, the doctor was thrilled, and I couldn't believe how easy breastfeeding was for us. All those hours spent at the breastfeeding class had paid off! 

Then we got home. 

Gone were the nurses who brought him to me all bundled up. Gone was that nice woman who would pop him on just right. Gone was the sweet baby who cuddled up to me so easily. 

In his place, was a screamer who wanted nothing to do with me or my terribly sore chest. I e-mailed a friend from church for help, we talked about the various holds and then I visited a lactation consultant 45 min away from our small town. Once again, Little Monkey latched on perfectly and for 30 minutes nursed like a champ! 

Then we got home. 

The tears I have shed over this is ridiculous. There is nothing more heartbreaking than your child screaming at the site of your many attempts to feed him. But guess what?! Pumping is still breastfeeding! He still gets all the nutrients! 

So I continued to pump. I pump whenever I think about it (every 3-4 hrs) while at home on the weekends, and during my work week I run home for my dinner break to pump some more. I was told at my checkup for my rheumatoid arthritis that I'm in remission as long as I continue to breastfeed. Just another awesome benefit for both of us. 

5 Benefits to Exclusive Pumping

  1. Your husband can feed the baby, whenever. This includes other family members too! Once you have enough stored in your fridge, anyone can grab an already made bottle and warm it up.  
  2. Your baby is not super traumatized when you leave for work or a social gathering. I have heard horror stories of mothers nursing their babies while on maternity leave and then when it is time for them to return to work, their baby cries the entire time they are gone. Some women don't have the ability to stay home (another post for another day), so see if pumping is something you want to try. 
  3. A bottle stays good for 5 hours. This is the best. If you see me a church, it is very likely I have 6 oz of ice cold breast milk in my bag, ready to go for when Little Monkey is hungry. Unlike formula, which has to be finished within an hour of making it, breast milk stays fresh for a full 5 hours at room temperature!  
  4. More sleep, sorta. When you are breastfeeding whether pumping or not, you will have to wake up during the night to either feed or pump especially in the first 3 months to increase your milk supply. But, once the baby starts sleeping through the night you can skip that 3AM pump session too.
  5. Freezer storage! Once your milk supply comes in, make space in your freezer for the massive amount of pumped milk you will accumulate. I think every mom can understand the relief I feel when I open our freezer and see a shelf filled to the brim with frozen breastmilk. 
Tips for Long-term Pumping 

  • Get a handsfree bra. I spent the first 2 months pumping without one, because I kept hoping things would change for us. With the handsfree bra I can play with my baby, pop his binkie in his mouth, clean, watch tv, or blog! It will make pumping so much easier. 
  • Ask for help when needed. Sometimes I am so tired from work, I ask ahead of time for The Big Dawg to set up my pump for me. Ask for help cleaning bottles too!
  • Get a car adapter or battery pack for road trips. We travel for shopping from our small town and it is really convenient to pump in the backseat while playing with Little Monkey.
  • Use this tray. I was given a bottle set at my baby shower and never understood the tray... Once again, 2 months went by before I started using it and it will make your life so much easier! 
  • Try to stick to a schedule, but don't freak out if it doesn't work. If you have it in your head "I'll pump every day 12, 3, 6, and 9PM". That's just not realistic.  My first two months I was a stickler for keeping to a schedule, but I was also at home with a newborn and didn't have any other responsibilities but to keep him and pump. Life is back to normal now and there are dinners to make, events to plan, places to go, and work to do. Just keep an ongoing schedule in your head of when you need to pump next. Sometimes I've gone 5 to even 8 hrs over, and it will be OK!!!! Your boobs might not be... but it will be ok. Just make sure you pump for a long time (like 30 min.) when you do miss a session. 
  • Drink Mother's Milk herbal tea it will help you with your supply. And drink tons and tons and tons of water. Seriously tons. 

Here are some great resources:
For questions on proper care and storage of breastmilk go here:
For more pumping tips and tricks go here: 

Exclusive pumping is tough, it's like bottle feeding and breastfeeding all in one. Bottles are a pain!! I've been so lucky to have my husband and mom there to clean bottle after bottle, we've all done our share in trying to make this feeding thing work. 

Which leads me to...
Breastfeeding is even harder. A support group is needed if any woman is going to survive breastfeeding her baby. So get your husband on board, give him ways he can help you, and yes, be prepared to let out a MOOOOO to make him laugh about the awkwardness of the situation. Take it one day at a time! 

And to those moms who couldn't breastfeed for whatever reason. Let your guilt go. My favorite thought from another blog I read about breastfeeding is:
Formula is not poison. So move on from the guilt and go love on that sweet baby of yours! 


Erin Elizabeth said...

I love a good infographic!

Giggles said...

Breastfeeding that first week for us was just horrid. And it didn't get much better till over a month later. Our little one has a slight tongue tie, but it isn't enough to interfere with her breastfeeding. Her reflux, however, was another story. And I had vasospasms in my breasts for the first two months or so as well. My husband has admitted there were times he didn't think I was going to keep going with it. But his support is a HUGE reason why we stuck with it. Having the right support system when you have a baby, no matter what you do, is crucial.

Kelley @LoveLikeCrazy said...

Headed here from Casual Claire - I love this post!! Breastfeeding is so hard! We had just gotten past the 'my boobs no longer feel like they might fall off' phase for her to decide she had enough. I didn't know about the tray!! We have a little storage thing in our fridge with three compartments, so I used those to remember - but the tray would have been helpful. This is great - you should link up now that Claire made it a link up!