Why Exclusively Pumping?

Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE! This is one person’s PERSONAL experience with exclusively pumping. I do NOT have any type of medical degrees or certifications! ALWAYS consult a lactation consultant or doctor for assistance with providing breast milk for your child. 

I wanted to share a little about Caden’s birth story and why I ended up choosing the exclusively pumping route.

I was induced, so labor was EXCEPTIONALLY long. Sean and I have different blood types, so although no one mentioned it, I really believe there was some type of Rh+/- thing going on between us. Caden had trouble staying latched. I was in severe pain. There could have even been a lip/tongue tie issue, but I didn’t really hear much about those until I was in mommy facebook groups after we were already home. Caden was jaundiced (although he didn’t look it, his bilirubin levels were high!). We had to keep him in the incubator box with lights shining on him. I wanted to be able to take him home as quickly as possible, so I was afraid to take him out to feed with all of the issues we were having. I knew eating a lot was the best way to flush the bilirubin out of his skin. We had tons of lactation consultants and nurses practically forcing me to latch Caden, even though I was balling my eyes out in pain and fear. I BEGGED for a pump. I wanted to try one before we left anyway just to be sure I was using it correctly. (PS: Definitely use the pump in the hospital, since then you get lots of extra pieces to take home if it’s the same pump you have at home! It’s also SUPER powerful!) The lactation consultant on duty was kind of discouraging. She told me that I probably wouldn’t get anything. I got 10mL! PERFECT! We fed it to Caden through a syringe to keep him in his little light box. I would occasionally take him out to try latching, but I felt comfortable knowing that I KNEW he was getting so much from pumping.

We had to stay an extra day in the PICU. The nurses were awesome, but we were so exhausted and just wanted to get home. I continued to pump and latch occasionally with great success.

Funny-ish Side Note – When we were released, Caden still had elevated bilirubin levels, but we just had to go get bloodwork daily/every few days to watch the levels. The one day in particular they were higher than anticipated. They told us to put him in a window to get some sunlight since that is supposed to help. We set him up in his rock-n-play under our sunlights. He sat there for about two and half hours. Then, I asked Sean if he remembered the doctor saying anything about how long we are supposed to have him in the light for. I call back to be sure he’s fine still in the light. Her response….. “About 10-15 minutes. Most babies won’t be comfortable and will begin to whine when they want out anyway.” Whooooop!

When we got home, it was just easier to pump than to struggle with latching. I was producing over 3 ounces at that point, so it was going really well! I only had 3 weeks off, so Caden was going to have to get used to a bottle soon anyway. We used Dr. Brown’s bottles and had great success. We rarely (maybe once?!) struggled with any type of tummy trouble or gas and that one time was when we started solids!

Exclusively Pumping Life

Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE! This is one person’s PERSONAL experience with exclusively pumping. I do NOT have any type of medical degrees or certifications! ALWAYS consult a lactation consultant or doctor for assistance with providing breast milk for your child. 

 

 

I knew I wanted to provide breastmilk for my little one from the moment I realized I was late. I had heard time and time again how beneficial it is for children. It helps them get over illnesses quicker, it helps produce antibodies to avoid getting sick, etc….. I was still nervous though. I am super sensitive, so it petrified me. I knew I would have to go back to work quickly, so I made sure to have all types of pumping supplies on dock for when that time came. We had some trouble with jaundice at birth, and I knew I only had 3 weeks home with Caden. This led us to the pumping life.

What worked for me!

-I pumped every 2 hours at the beginning. Yes… even through the night. At about 3 weeks when I went back to work, our super star was gaining weight fabulously and sleeping through the night (yes, we were EXTREMELY spoiled!). I was still pumping every two hours through the night at that point. Since I was back to work, I desperately needed more sleep, since naps during the day were not an option. I decided to stay every two hours (or as much as possible at work) during the day and every 3-4 hours at night. Sleep is very important for mama’s, so I think that sleep just helped me produce even more milk. From 3 weeks to about 4 months, I pumped at 12:30-ish am, 5am, 7am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9:30-ish pm when I had work and 12:30ish am, 5am, 7am, 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9:30-ish pm when I was home. It was a lot, but it helped build my supply. Around 4 months I had a freezer FULL. I decided to drop the 12:30ish am pump and let myself go 3-4 ish hours when I needed to if we were out and about. This meant I got a full night sleep and could leave my house again. I did wake up soaked occasionally (sorry, Sean!), but I was pumping out 15-20 ounces just in the morning. After about 5 months, I started to drop a few pumps each month. I didn’t really have a rhyme or reason when I started to drop. I mainly just dropped the ones that annoyed me the most and were the most inconvenient. Around 9 months I was at just 2-3 pumps a day. My period returned and my supply dwindled. I had a lot of upcoming events, 5+ months of milk left in the freezer, and decided to throw in the towel. Sometimes I get annoyed that I didn’t continue because I know fresh milk has SO MANY benefits, but for my sanity I couldn’t keep missing out on the fun to be hiding in our bedroom pumping.

-Supply wise – drinking LOTS of water is was helped me the most. I drank well over 100 ounces of water a day! I also snacked very often throughout the day. I did not diet or try to watch calories. Pumping (and breastfeeding) burns so many calories that it is actually recommended to eat over the daily recommended calorie count! I have heard great things about oatmeal. I LOVE Ben & Jerry’s oatmeal cookie ice cream. I didn’t do enough research into whether it actually helped my supply, but it did seem to at least! Whenever my friends ask about any supplements (fenugreek or special teas), I tend to suggest they leave those to a last resort. A lot of my research into those products show that they have varying effects for everyone. I know lots of people whose supplies dropped because of those products. Power pumping is huge for triggering your body to make more milk. I would avoid doing it TOO often though because it can damage your nipples.

-Items that made my life easier –

#1 – A partner who would wash pump parts and bottles! This was such a big relief, since I spent so much of my day pumping as it was. I had no desire to then have to wash said items.

#2 – Freemies. These things are LIFE. I was able to use these are work to pump and respond to emails, grade tests, and type up assignments. They are cups that hold 8 ounce each, connect to your pump, and slip right into your bra. There is a learning curve, so practice with some water in them first, but they are SAVIORS!

#3 – Lanolin/Bamboobies Organic Nipple Cream – Pumping can be just as painful and damaging to your nipples. You need something to keep them from chafing and rubbing on the pump. It definitely helped calm my pain!

#4 – Wet bags – I would put my pump parts in the fridge between uses. This is NOT recommended by medical professions. Definitely don’t do it with any immune-compromised babies. For my overall healthy kiddo, this was an easy way to lessen the load.

#5 – Dr. Brown’s Bottles connect to Medela parts. Pumping right into the bottle you will feed from saves extra dishes to wash!

Happy Pumping! ❤

 

Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE! This is one person’s PERSONAL experience with exclusively pumping. I do NOT have any type of medical degrees or certifications! ALWAYS consult a lactation consultant or doctor for assistance with providing breast milk for your child.