Pumping exclusively — is this really possible??
Are you pregnant and worried about the possibility of not being able to nurse your child and want a back up plan?
Exclusive pumping is not a myth and many moms from different backgrounds and situations choose this method to nourish their baby.
Here is my journey and some tips on how I was successful in pumping exclusively for 6-11 months!!
Happy World Breast Feeding Week!!
July 27, 2007 my oldest entered the world!! I was so excited and just knew that I would not have any problems breastfeeding. I had done my research and told myself that “my body was built for this.” A couple of days later, things were not going so well, so I pumped… and pumped… and pumped.
Fast forward to May 22, 2011. My second baby girl made her debut early in the morning–she latched right on! “WOOOOHOOOOOO,” I thought! I got home from the hospital, only to end up back in the hospital that same day due to complications and was prescribed a medication that the doctor explained that I would not be able to nurse while taking. So, I prayerfully asked God what to do and I was led to pump and discard milk for 2 weeks and then try to re-latch after the medication was out of my system.
Well re-latching did not go well AT ALL! I cried, my poor husband tried to help and I had my mind set on giving her exclusive breast milk for at least 6 months!!!
So I thought back to 2007, when my oldest daughter was a baby and remembered how successful I was with pumping exclusively for 6 months. I also reminded myself that formula is okay too!!
I decided that I would exclusively pump for as long as I could and guess what?!? I made it through eleven months with my second daughter! Eleven months of exclusive pumping with a good hospital grade pump.
Here are some pointers that helped make my pumping journey a success:
Don’t stress — Easier said than done, I know; however keeping my stress level down increased and maintained my supply. When I would get stressed my milk supply would decrease.
Establish milk supply — In the beginning, I pumped 8 times a day and made sure that I pumped enough to match my child’s intake. I also reminded myself, that I could use formula as back up if I didn’t pump enough. (I didn’t need to but this is totally fine as long as you find the best formula suited for your child).
Develop a schedule — When it comes to my children, I need a schedule! I have never been an on demand mommy, but if I was, I still would have had a schedule for pumping.
This helped me to maintain my milk supply and avoid engorgement. In the beginning I pumped 8 times a day, but after 2.5 months I decreased to 5 pumps a day. Then, when my youngest turned 6 months I dropped down to 4 pumps a day and managed to pump 35-43 ounces a day for the first 10 months. (With my oldest daughter, the pump I used allowed me to finish pumping in 15 minutes and with my second daughter, I pumped 20-25 minutes because the pump didn’t have the strongest suction and pull.)
Don’t be hard on yourself — “Oh no, I am 20 minutes late to pump!!” This happened a few times to me, although this can be painful, I did not find that this decreased my milk supply if this only happened occasionally.
What was your breast feeding experience??
More tips to come in Part 2!