Let me take a moment to give myself a giant pat on the back. After battling a tongue and lip tie that caused a painful latch and my ever-fluctuating supply, I did it! I met my goal and was able to provide my daughter with breast milk for her whole first year!
The first time I hooked up to my pump, I was terrified. I had no idea how the pump actually worked, or how much I was supposed to produce, and emotionally I was a wreck. Aside from the newborn sleep deprivation, I just felt like such a failure as a mother and as a human being – that I couldn’t provide my daughter the one thing I was biologically programmed to give her.
Although I immediately felt physical relief after switching from nursing to pumping, coming to terms with this decision is still something I occasionally struggle with even a year later. Read more ›
When I first started pumping, like a lot of first time moms, I had no idea how often I was supposed to pump to get a good supply. After doing some research, the answer was actually pretty obvious: pump [approximately] as often as you would nurse.
A set pumping schedule isn’t mandatory to successfully pump, but it’s usually helpful. Personally, I love having a routine. Especially now with a baby, if I don’t schedule a task, I’ll never do it (never mind that I planned to organize our bedroom over a month ago and it’s still a mess 😏).
But if you are the type of person who can’t or don’t like to stick to a set schedule, that’s ok! It’s more important to pump the same number of times each day than it is to pump at the same times each day.
Below is an example schedule you can use as a guideline. Read more ›
I spent almost three months holding my flanges in place every time I pumped. Three months! Six times a day! What was I thinking?!
Well, I was thinking that I don’t have a battery powered pump so it’s not like I’d be moving around while pumping, so what difference would a hands free pumping bra make?
Finally I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I’m a pretty conservative shopper; I don’t usually buy things unless I’m absolutely sure I will like it or use it. So I looked around a bit before finally purchasing a pumping bra. Luckily, another mom in my EP support group had a tank top hack in the meantime:
Pull the tank top down below one breast and up over the other. Do the opposite with your bra to create an “X”. This will hold the flanges in place while you pump.
I’ve never been a big fan of setting goals. I groaned a little writing the title of this post. I guess I just don’t like the pressure. I don’t want to feel like a failure if I set a goal and don’t reach it.
But even I have found that it’s important to set goals when you’re pumping (or breast feeding of any kind) because, let’s be honest, pumping sucks. Whether you’re just pumping at work, or exclusively pumping, it’s a lot of work, it’s frustrating, it’s exhausting, and it’s just overall a pain in the ass! There will be plenty of times when you’ll want to quit – and if you do decide to quit, that’s ok! It takes a lot of time to regain a feeling of normalcy after having a baby, and in my limited experience, pumping delays that even further.
But if you’re like me, you might be a little impulsive, especially when you’re emotional, and you end up making decisions that you wouldn’t have made with a level head. When I was debating whether or not to try to continue direct nursing, my sister told me “never quit on a bad day.” While you can easily apply that to anything, it’s definitely true about pumping. Although it’s not something you can just quit overnight, I don’t want to hastily decide to start weaning before Peyton and I are ready. Setting goals has helped hold myself accountable in those moments when I’m overcome with frustration.
It’s a good idea to do some research before you set your own pumping goals. You are more likely to stick with your goals if you have a reason behind them, rather than just an arbitrary timeline. The World Health Organization recommends giving babies breast milk for at least the first six months, when most babies can begin to eat solid foods. Breast milk has so many benefits for babies though, so it’s a good idea to give it as long as you can, even if it’s just a few ounces a day.
Around the same time that I was desperately trying to build up my supply, I started to get really sore when I pumped. Granted, this was partially because I was using my pump settings backwards for three months (oh that’s what the wavy lines button is supposed to do! 😏). Still, when I started playing around with the suction settings, I was still in pain and just emptying slower.
One of the main inspirations I had for creating this blog was seeing a lot of exclusively pumping (EP) moms being treated like formula feeding (FF) moms. This is not at all a formula-bashing post. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using formula, whether it’s exclusive or just to supplement. The two methods are, however, very different. As a member of several Facebook mom groups, including breastfeeding groups, I saw a lot of EP moms asking questions, and most of the answers (except in the EP group) seemed more more applicable to FF than to EP.
For example, I saw moms being told to dump their unfinished bottles after a couple hours. That breast milk is a precious commodity! We work hard for it, and it is a legitimate crime to waste even a single drop of liquid gold! Read more ›
Let’s start with the basics. Becoming a mom in social media means entering a whole new world of terms, acronyms, and abbreviations. Below is a list of common terms I’ve come across in the mom and pumping world. I’ll update this as I discover new ones. Please feel free to leave a comment with any terms you don’t see here.