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The One Picture I’ll Never Post

 

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I have one picture of my daughter nursing.

The first four weeks of her life were the most difficult weeks of my life. On top of the usual sleep deprivation, stress, and massive doubt that comes with a new baby, there was the unexpected struggle of intensely painful breastfeeding. I wasn’t prepared for this. Read more

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3 Ways to Drop A Pump Without Weaning

Remember, I am NOT a medical professional, but even if I were, there’s no guaranteed way to drop a pump without losing any ounces, but dropping gradually and trying a few of the tips in this post can help you not to lose a significant amount of breast milk. Even if you’re weaning, dropping gradually will make you less prone to clogged ducts that can lead to mastitis, and less likely to feel engorged and uncomfortable.

I recently dropped from 5 pumps per day (ppd) to 4, so I’m using my own recent and past experience as an example.

Gradually dropping a pump should take about a week. You can slow the process down more if you start to feel too engorged. On the other hand, you can also drop in less than a week, but you may risk losing more ounces. Also, don’t get overly excited if you pump more in your next pumping session right after you drop. Your body takes time to adjust to the change. It may overcompensate at first, but eventually it will (for most women) even your supply out among your other pumping sessions.

How Do You Know When To Drop A Pump?

To put it simply – whenever you’re ready! Read more

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Hands-Free (part 2)

*This post is sponsored, however all opinions and experiences are truthful and my own

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my experiences with a couple hands-free nursing bras and tank tops. So I was thrilled when Rumina offered to send me their new Seamless Pump&Nurse Bra! Peyton started going through a fussy phase right when I started wearing this, so it got a really good workout! 😉

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Pumping Schedule

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

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The Best Laid Plans…

A couple weeks ago in my Setting Goals post, I mentioned that I would like to drop a pump when Peyton turns six months old. I was so excited about having an extra hour in the evening to spend with her or make dinner (or take a shower, or clean something..).

Well of course, I found out a couple days ago that apparently it’s common to experience a drop in milk supply around 6mpp (months post-partum). I’m anticipating a drop in supply from either dropping to 4ppd (pumps per day), or starting to exercise (haha), but I’m not willing to risk a HUGE drop that may trigger my body to start weaning since my most important goal is to give Peyton breast milk for a full year. So there goes my original plan!

I’m following my own advice and giving myself some flexibility. I’ve decided to continue with 5ppd until I’m 7mpp to give myself a full four weeks to see if my supply drops. If it does, I may actually throw in an extra pumping session for a few weeks. In preparation, I’m going to eat lots of oatmeal, drink lots of water, and maybe power pump a couple times a day. Hopefully this will keep my supply from dropping too much, if at all, and I will be able to try dropping a pump at 7mpp instead.

It’s disappointing that I was so close to being one step closer to getting back to a “normal” life. But weighing the pros and cons, I’m not at all ready to give up pumping just yet. So for now I’ll just keep hooking myself up to the pump, daydreaming about the day I’ll finally have my freedom back!

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Look, No Hands!

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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.

It looks weird in the picture, but trust me, it works

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Setting Goals

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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.

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Tips for Goal-Setting

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The Right Fit

Alright. Time to talk about something that’s actually useful and not just my rambling thoughts.

Friday I posted about how I have finally built my supply back up. One of the most effective ways I accomplished that was with the right fitting flanges. When I bought my pump, it came with size 24mm flanges, and I just assumed that was a pretty average size for most women.

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.

Finally I saw this picture:


Taken from the maymom website

Suddenly everything clicked! Read more