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Breastfeeding and Pumping for Beginners, a Mother’s Journey

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My Breast Pump, My Best Friend

Who thinks about breastfeeding and pumping? Before becoming a mom, I didn’t know the two went together. That changed quickly…..

The Beginning

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I told myself that I wanted to breastfeed my baby. In my mind, breastfeeding was the natural route and it’s free! Prior to giving birth, I did a little research on what to expect when breastfeeding, but I convinced myself that it couldn’t be that bad because our bodies are made to feed our children.

After giving birth, I realized I was wrong!

My daughter had a perfect latch and healthy appetite and according to the hospital lactation consultant, was doing great breastfeeding. What I wasn’t expecting was the irritated and painful nipples and the marathon feeding sessions that occur during the initial weeks of breastfeeding. Those sweet nurses totally minimized what sore nipples and latching your baby really means to an exhausted new mother.

Where is my Milk?

During my daughter’s initial doctor’s appointment, concerns were raised about her weight gain. At the time, I thought that my milk had not come in. I had been told that when my milk came in I would know it! What I did not realize was my milk was actually in and that I would never feel the sensation of being full or needing to pump.

Exclusively Pumping

Since my doctor was concerned about her weight, I was advised to supplement her feedings with formula. Once my daughter experienced the bottle, she no longer wanted to feed from my breasts. I literally had to fight with her to get her to latch, but she would refuse and cry.

She rejected my breast

I was exhausted and felt helpless. Finally, I decided to use my pump to at least give her the breast milk by bottle. Eventually, I grew tired of fighting with her and my poor nipples couldn’t take it anymore. So, I decided to exclusively pump and feed my daughter by bottle.

I didn’t know my milk was in!

Looking back on this time, I wish I was better educated about what to look for to tell if my milk was in. Or, at least tried the pump sooner so that I could see that I was actually producing adequate milk for my daughter. I also would have not supplemented with formula. I would have pumped, and gave her the milk via syringe or bottle.

My baby will receive breast milk

It was at this time that I made a commitment to myself that my daughter would continue to receive breast milk for at least her first year. I started off pumping every couple of hours around the clock until I had adequate supply. Ultimately I was able to pump enough during the day and did not have to pump overnight.

I was pumping all of the time

By the time I returned to work, 12 weeks after giving birth, I was pumping 6 times a day.
Within a month of starting back at work, I was able to pump 5 times a day, and after her 1 st birthday, I cut it down to 4 times per day.

My breast pump has become my best friend.

I have to carry it everywhere I go and my day is planned around times I have to pump. Needless to say, I have found myself pumping in the most interesting places. Overall, I have found that people are accommodating to my need to pump.

My job allows me to schedule my pump breaks and store my milk in a refrigerator. I also found that pumping in my car saves me a lot of time at home.

The mom guilt was challenging

I struggled with the guilt of being hooked to the pump and not being able to interact with my baby. By using a pumping bra, and pumping while driving, I’ve been able to allow more
time for me to interact with my baby.

Can I really do this?

When I transitioned to exclusively pumping, there were many times that I asked myself if I would be able to be successful with my breastfeeding goals. There have been many times that I have wanted to throw my pump out of the window, especially at night or early morning when I would rather be asleep.

Pumping eventually became a part of my daily routine.

Once I made the commitment and necessary adjustments to allow myself time to pump, I became less stressed and looked at pumping as another daily chore that has to be completed. Whether you breastfeed the traditional way or by exclusively pumping, it takes work and commitment to be able to be successful with your goals.

How is your breastfeeding journey? What are your biggest concerns? Are you exclusively pumping? 

 

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