Friday, November 11, 2011

Breastfeeding Series part 2 - The Pumping Experience & Supply Abundance

4 days old, nuzzled up
When I set out on my breastfeeding journey, I never thought I'd be pumping much. I am a SAHM, with no real need to bottle feed. I planned to simply nurse our baby she was hungry.

Enter our first 72 hour breastfeeding fiasco. Because healing my breasts was of the utmost importance to our success in breastfeeding, we needed to have a pump at home so that we could continue the routine we had in the hospital.
  • Nurse on one side for about 10 minutes or until the pain was unbearable.
  • Feed G pumped milk (about 2 oz) in a bottle
  • Pump on both sides.
  • Repeat at the next feeding, but nursing on the other side.

manual pump I use now, love it
Prior to G's birth, I had bought a small manual pump for occasional use (which I use now, about 3 times a month). That was not going to cut it, because I needed to pump multiple times a day. So we paid $50 to rent the same type of pump we had used in the hospital (a Medela Symphony). The rental was for a month, as we weren't sure a week rental would cut it. We really had no idea how long it would take for me to heal, G to get her latch better, and us to be on our merry breast-only way. Turns out, we did need only a week, but better safe than sorry. After that week, I was healed (mostly) and G's latch was better so I cut out pumping.

Pumping, especially with a double electric pump, wasn't that big of a deal. I think that if you have a fussy baby, pumping may be a bit tougher. For me, it was easy to lay sleeping G in a Rock & Play next to me (or to her daddy if he was there) while she slept and I pumped. In retrospect, the worst part was cleaning all the parts. While I was doing it, the worst part was sitting there bored for 10 minutes. Oh, what I would give for 10 minutes of "boredom" now!

Moms have different reasons to pump. Some moms pump so that they can return to work but keep breastfeeding. Some pump to build up a freezer supply, in case they "lose" their milk, or something drastic happens. Some pump to feed other babies. Some pump so that they aren't "tied" to their baby. And then some moms pump for physical reasons, like her baby's latch is too painful. That was me for the first little bit, and boy am I glad I had that resource available to me. (When renting a pump, make sure it's from a reputable place, and is hospital grade so that only your accessory parts can get milk in them. Personal use only pumps have the likelihood of getting milk in the internal parts that may spread infection.)

if you look to the top right, you can see the Symphony
I used that corner as pumping command center
I did feel kind of "tied" to the pump, but not so much that I hated it. I would much rather be "tied" to a physical baby (but that does get old sometimes too, as you'll read in a later post)!

As for the transitioning off of pumping multiple times a day... I never really noticed a difference in respect to milk supply. What I had been pumping and bottle feeding to G, she was now eating straight from me. I had an "overabundance" of milk in the beginning, so the hardest thing was letting my supply even out without wanting to pump out the extra that left my breasts feeling pretty engorged. Pumping a lot to "relieve" full breasts isn't a great idea because it 'tricks' your body into thinking you need to produce that much milk, when you really don't. If you want your supply to regulate with your baby, you really need to let your supply settle on it's own.

Somethings I did:
Deal with the pressure until baby nurses again (you kind of get used to it), make sure to have on absorbent breast pads because you're sure to leak
Stand over the bathroom sink until my breasts leaked out what they need to feel a bit less pressure
Take a warm shower (sure to trigger a 'natural' let down that relieved pressure)
Self express a little bit to relieve pressure (never very successful)
Pump only a tiny bit to get by (last resort)

For more on engorgement, check out resources at Kelly Mom.

Disclaimer: I am not a lactation consultant, nor am I formally educated in breastfeeding. I am simply writing from personal experience. Check out La Leche League's website.

1 comment:

  1. I did a lot of pumping with my daughters. It is a lot of work and very time consuming. I was blessed with an overabundant supply in the beginning, but pumping also helped me keep up my supply later, when I did extra pumpings.


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