Breastfeeding is easily one of the most popular topics I have ever addressed. Each person’s experience, advice, process, and outlook is different, and because it’s such a difficult thing to do I can see why others are intrigued by this. I can’t make this up when I say I’ve received 100’s of messages asking me why I don’t just feed straight from the boob! SO, here’s a full post dedicated to all the commonly and frequently asked questions about my decision to exclusively pump.
Why I exclusively pump
There’s a few reasons why. First being we like to know exactly how many ounces Walker is consuming. We did the same with Capri and it helped us get her on a schedule since we knew she was fed the “right” amount for her weight. It was never a guessing game like it was when I actually did nurse her (and later found out that after almost 20 minutes she only consumed about an ounce). Basically knowing that they are full eliminates hunger as a reason why they might be crying or fussy.
In terms of nursing, I attempted with both kids. With Capri she was so small (born 5 pounds, 13 ounces, a week late) that eating from my boob was just too much work for her. The flow is slow and she just didn’t have the strength to suck when she was hungry. She would get really frustrated and cry, which stressed me out and made it super unenjoyable. With Walker, I nursed him a few times in the hospital until he started to chomp! Could be because we introduced a pacifier to him very early, but the biting was NOT happening on my boobs, sorry!
Honestly, breastfeeding is SO difficult. I was never good at guiding them to a good latch and couldn’t figure out a comfortable position to hold them. This might sound ridiculous, but I feel like because both babies were so small at birth that it was hard to hold them in the right position to feed them. Regardless, I tried. As long as they are getting the nutrients and antibodies from my breast milk for a few months that’s all I care about. I know formula is just as good and have no qualms about feeding them formula in addition to breast milk.
Which pump I use
The first time around I used the Medela. Never again. That thing was the bane of my existence. So many parts, it leaked, it needed to be plugged in, etc. I HATED it. I do feel like it’s efficient and holds a lot of milk but no thanks! Right now I’m using the Elvie. It’s a hands-free pump that is cordless and operated via Wi-Fi. I LOVE it. Here’s my list of pros + cons:
+ No cords = you can pump anywhere, not just by an outlet.
+ Doesn’t leak milk all over me because it’s suctioned to me.
+ Their app tracks your pumps and ounces, making it easy to stay on schedule and get an idea of your milk production.
+ Minimal parts involved = less parts to wash 23734249787x a day.
+ Quiet and concealed = can pump really anywhere and be discreet.
+ The part that holds the milk caps out at 4 ounces per boob, so if you have a large milk supply you’ll have to swap out the part if you want to pump more than 4 ounces per boob.
+ At first the squeeze / pump is a little painful.
+ The pumps go inside your bra, which can stretch out your bras. Not the biggest deal but I do have to wash and dry my bras often in order to shrink them back down so it holds the pump up.
+ You need to charge the pumps probably once a day. Also not a big deal but don’t forget to do so!
My pumping schedule
My aim is to pump every 4 hours. Because waking up in the middle of the night sucks I do try to stretch it a bit, but I wake up with rock-hard boobs that are leaking. So basically pick which evil you prefer: leaking painful boobs or waking up in the middle of the night to pump. I usually pump f0r 20 minutes, but if I’m trying to work out a clog I can pump for up to 30 or 35 minutes. Typically I produce 8 ounces of milk at each pump and I have a freezer supply starting. Here is the schedule I’ve been following for the past month:
How I produce so much milk
I will say, I think it’s genetic. My mom had a ton of milk for all 3 of us, and I’ve been blessed with a plentiful supply for both of my kids, too. I truly don’t take anything special (aside from my Ritual postnatal vitamins) for my milk supply, nor do I adjust my diet. Since Walker has been pretty gassy and fussy after feedings I’ve tried to pay attention to things I’m eating to see if there are any irritants that might be causing that, but it’s a very hard thing to figure out without doing an elimination diet. Since he acts the same with formula I’m pretty sure it’s just his newborn belly – he needs to develop his digestive system so he won’t be quite so uncomfortable.
How I drink wine while pumping
I get this question A LOT and to be honest, I just try to space and time my consumption with the pumping schedule. Essentially I pump then drink wine. I’ve used the alcohol strips to detect any traces of alcohol in my milk before and the only time it ever detected anything was after a FULL day of drinking champagne. So I feel comfortable having 2 small glasses of wine and still giving my milk. And just to be clear, I’m not drinking too often right now since I’m still recovering so it’s not like a nightly occurrence. It’s also miserable to drink and have to wake up in the middle of the night to pump so I’m keeping it to a minimum at the moment.
How I deal with clogs
Pump, massage, pump, massage, repeat. Basically lots of massaging and then pumping a little extra to release the clog. They say extreme heat compress helps too but that doesn’t ever do it for me. It’s kind of sad but I’m so used to the pain and dealing with clogs daily that I’m not even phased by them anymore.
If you have any other questions regarding my exclusive pumping situation feel free to leave them down below in the comments!