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Setting Goals

4I’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

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Today Is A Good Day

I have another post planned for the end of this week, but I was too excited not to share some good news.

I’ve been pumping for about four months now, and for the first two months I always made just enough to keep up with Peyton – a “goldilocks”. Then in December, my supply dipped. I think it was a combination of getting sick, the stress of going back to work in January, and Peyton going through a growth spurt. In January I ate lactation cookies almost everyday and power-pumped as much as I could, but I wasn’t seeing an increase. It was hard enough leaving Peyton everyday to go to work, and the added stress of not producing enough milk was overwhelming. She was quickly going through my entire frozen stash, which wasn’t much to begin with.

Reluctantly, at the end of January I decided I had to supplement with formula. In the breastfeeding community, formula often gets a bad rap. But babies have been fed formula for years, and when they grow, it’s impossible to tell the difference between a breast fed baby and a formula fed baby. It’s unfortunate that those of us who have to use it have to tell ourselves over and over again “It’s ok. There’s nothing wrong with giving her formula. Fed is best.”

At the same time, I realized I needed to reach out for more help if I was going to meet my pumping goals. I found a Facebook group for exclusive pumping moms, and it was the biggest relief in the world. It’s hard not to get emotional as I write this. (That’s being modest – I’m totally crying right now) Most breastfeeding groups don’t offer much support for long-term pumping moms. Most moms that directly nurse just don’t have enough pumping knowledge. In the EP group, I found moms who offered real solutions. They taught me that pumping doesn’t have to hurt or be uncomfortable, and it doesn’t have to consume your life.

Today, one month later, I have enough milk in the fridge to last Peyton all day, and it’s not even 10am. I have more milk in the freezer than I had before my supply dipped. Today, I don’t have to make a bottle of formula.

I’ve got a long road ahead if I want to keep pumping for Peyton’s entire first year. I know there will be times that my supply will dip again, and I know I might not be able to get it back next time. But today, we are celebrating. Today is a good day 💗

P.S. I’m writing this from home on a weekday because I am so sleep-deprived that I had to take a day off from work. Ah, the never-ending ups and downs of life with a baby!