Status

I Breastfed My Daughter For One Year Without Nursing

img_9041Let 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

Chat

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

Chat

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! 😉

Read more

Chat

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

Status

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!

Chat

Look, No Hands!

5

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

Read more

Chat

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.

img_6036

Tips for Goal-Setting

Read more

Status

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!

Chat

Not All Bottle Feeding Is Created Equal

8

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