Friday, April 18, 2014

Tales of an Exclusive Pumper

I've always held exclusive pumpers in high respect. Why would anyone subject themselves to hours of pumping every day just to give their child breast milk when there is perfectly fine formula? Pumping is not comfortable and the pump never gets faster at pulling milk out like a baby does. There is so much cleaning involved and logistics, so many logistics. You can't pump at the park in an Ergo.

8:42 am I wash my pump parts and bottles. #adayinthelifephotochallenge

When Maggie was a few days old, I told the doctor that I'd give her a month to get better at nursing and that I just couldn't see myself pumping for every feed. And yet somehow, here we are almost 17 weeks in and I pump for every feed. I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. I'm honestly not sure why I do it. Formula would probably be easier. I could pick up a few cans at Costco, pre-mix the bottles at night and not worry about when I needed to pump. But there is a part of me that says, I'm making enough milk for Maggie and breast milk is potentially better for her so I keep on pumping.

4:32 am Time to pump and feed Maggie. Molly is also up and refusing to sleep. #adayinthelifephotochallenge

It is limiting. We can't really go on any long car trips/flights right now because I have to pump. The good side to this is we can't really go on any long car trips/flights right now. We also have to leave playdates before Molly is ready because I have to go home and pump. Molly does not like the pump. I often hear, "Mommy, No PUMP!" It's hard explaining all this to an almost 2 1/2 year old when I can't quite fully explain it to myself.

Maggie usually sleeps through the night and yet I don't. I get up to pump. It's a quiet thing and I've started to enjoy my middle of the night sessions (I might not get much alone time). I'm quick and efficient at 3 a.m. I head to the den where I pump while checking Twitter and Facebook. Then I put my efforts into a cooler and head back to bed.


During the day, I try to pump when Scott is here (in the morning) or Molly is napping (in the afternoon) as toddlers can get into quick trouble when their Mommies are busy. I still usually end up having two pump sessions while alone with the girls as I'm pumping 6-7 times a day.


I figured out the other day that I spend about 4 1/2 hours of my day making milk and cleaning up. That is a HUGE chunk of time! I will admit to looking forward to getting that time back when I pump wean. The funny thing though is that I think I spend less time on milk production with Maggie than I did with Molly. I used to breast feed Molly, pump and then bottle feed her the results. I also spent a lot more time worrying if I made enough milk for Molly. Due to my former breast reduction, I've had to supplement both girls. This time around though I've been producing more milk.


I thought I'd lay out my tips for future pumpers who might stumble upon this post. I've gotten some great support from ex-pumpers and since it helps keep me going, I feel like I need to pass it along.
  1. Get a cooler for pumping in the middle of the night with a re-useable ice pack. In the beginning, you might be pumping 3-4 times a night and you want to be efficient. I pump, put my stuff (flanges, bottles, etc) back in the cooler along with the filled bottle and then go back to sleep. 
  2. Have two sets of everything so that you don't have to wash your parts after every pump.
  3. Alternatively you can keep your parts in a ziplock bag and place it in the fridge after every pump throughout the day. Then give your parts a good wash at night. 
  4. Don't be afraid to supplement. I don't have to supplement Maggie as much as I did Molly which is nice but sometimes Maggie gets hungry and I just don't have enough of my milk to give her. That is when formula comes to the rescue. 
  5. Keep a regular pump schedule. It's important that your body thinks that the baby needs milk. I try to pump as many times as Maggie takes a bottle.  
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