Dec 18, 2014

Exclusively Pumping, Momma's new journey

They never tell you how hard breastfeeding is. You buy the bras and tank tops -- and read all the different articles you can find online and you think you're prepared. But then it's 2am...and you're paging the nurse again because the baby won't nurse and you're exhausted because you just had a  baby and you can't believe they expect so much of you ALREADY...Can I get a break? And then the nurse tells the baby has lost more weight than expected and asks you to supplement and you're exhausted so you say screw it, give her the bottle. BUT then she reacts to the formula and is super gassy - which makes the day so much fun. So then you get a new nurse and a new lactation consultant and they give you totally different advice from the nurse on the previous shift and you're having this W.T.F. moments.

So it's checkout day...and you still feel confused but you do it. You leave and you get home...and it's a nightmare. The baby won't nurse and you call your mom in tears and ask can they please come up and help. And you can't remember why you wanted to become a parent.

Finally it's day break and you're engorged because your beautiful little girl won't nurse. Magic...."Sara, what about the pump?" "Jason, you're brilliant...set it up."

And your life changes.

Can I do this full time? Will I make enough milk? Am I the ONLY person who does this? Shit man, am I going to not bond as much with the baby?...And a million other awful thoughts about what the hell this does to my life, my body...and my baby.

So I started to talking to other moms -- and well, I was lucky. "As long as she's getting breastmilk" was my overwhelming response. A lot of moms are met with resistance and frustration. So after a few posts, a couple of moms pointed me in the direction of a few groups for just women who exclusively pumped or "EP" for short. I was blown away. The one group had over 3000 women!! So I was like I can do this. I started researching and discovered that there was so much more information and options and way more support to do this than I thought.

So what was my plan? I bought flanges that fit better. I bought more bottles on Amazon at an amazing price and I started asking all these moms what I should do. I struggled for the first few weeks, getting my supply up. Dealing with having to pump every 2 hours religiously but I was rewarded when my supply kept going up and up. I was able to start freezing some bags away and able to make bottles for the day, the next day and the day after that. It became a mental savior. I still had plenty left to learn - but I was on a happier track. I filled my freezer so we had to get a deep freezer but I was so happy to have learned about this fantastic option. Almost 10 months later, I've been able to donate 2,100 oz and save 2,000 and now am able to wean off the pump and go solely off of frozen milk to get A to her first birthday

Some women will claim you cannot get a bond with your baby like this but that is very wrong. My daughter and I have plenty of mommy/daughter time. She loves to fall asleep on mommy - and well hey, look at the grip below on my arm when I feed her.

I am very happy with my choice. Sometimes I feel like a cow but I know in my heart I made the right decision for myself and my family. People think its weird "have you tried to get her back to the breast" no! "why not just formula?" Oh, are you paying for it? But I am so lucky - my husband stands by my side and tells me all the time how proud he is of me. Frankly I'm proud of me to.

Now here is how I did it.

If you have any questions please feel free to comment below or email me!

So you want to Exclusively Pump?

Here are some tips, a shopping list, the names of some Facebook support groups, sites to check out and some other general information. Please note that you may not need all the items on the shopping list for the entire duration. For example, I stopped taking Fenugreek about two months into my pumping journey. There are also other supplements that you can use to increase your supply; however, I am only comfortable relaying what I personally used. 

disclaimer: there are teas and supplements on this list. please consult a doctor before taking anything

Shopping List:
  • Breastpump (per Obamacare, insurance should cover the cost of a pump)
  • Mother's Milk Tea (2-3 times a day)
  • Fenugreek
  • Lactation Cookies 
  • Extra Medela bottles -- OR whatever brand bottles of the breastpump you use 
  • Breastmilk storage bags (brands include: Nuk, Honeysuckle, Lansinoh)
  • Container to store milk in, in the refrigerator 
    • I bought a glass mason jar at Michaels and I have a Nalgene bottle for travel. Make sure whatever you choose seals and is BPA free
  • Enough bottles for a few days (don't go out and buy a ton -- buy one pack or borrow from a family member or friend and try it out) 
    • We currently use Playtex Drop-Ins after initially starting with a different brand. I really like these because they use drop-in liners so they are easy to buy used. I bought a huge pack off Craigs List and just sterilized and purchased new nipples!
  • Boppy 
    • I use the Boppy to feed A at the same time I am pumping, sure there are times where it's not needed but I am definitely glad we got this 
  • Fisher Price Sit Me Up
    • Personally a lot of moms believe this is better than the Bumbo due to recent studies that have come out (do your research kids) however, I found that when A wasn't having it to just chill while I pumped or did over things, she LOVED this. I now recommend it to all my friends

Facebook Groups:

  • Exclusively Pumping Mamas
  • Exclusively Pumping Moms Private Group
  • Exclusively Pumping: Breastfeeding without nursing
  • EP Trading Post (where you can buy/sell/trade for various items)
    • And various others...simply search "exclusively pumping" and most of these should populate. I should note that some of the groups allow part-time pumpers or moms who only pump at work. If you are looking for an ONLY EP group, the second group is the one to search for

Also check out KellyMom it has a ton of information on all sorts of topics

my little award, 10 months of actual pumping, 2 months (hopefully) of frozen milk

Pump on ladies, pump on.

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