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.
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.
- 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.
- Have two sets of everything so that you don't have to wash your parts after every pump.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.