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!