A tired mama on her exclusively pumping journey

You Don’t Have to Be a Perfect Mom. It’s Okay to Be a โ€œGood Enough” mom.

I had to remind myself that, each and every single day for the first few months after giving birth. My baby girl Yuval was born 13 months ago.

Her birth was so empowering and beautiful, more than I could have prayed for. I prepared very well for her birth. Starting from a Hypnobirth course with my husband, practicing meditation and breathing, a lot of mental work and nutrition.

I wanted it to be the total opposite of my first (still)birth with her angel brother. And I did everything I could to make it happen.

When she arrived to the world, I knew everything about labor and postpartum but not one thing about breastfeeding…

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A few hours after giving birth

She was born so tiny, 2.4Kg, with neonatal jaundice. As a consequence she was too weak to latch. We tried and we tried, we went to a bunch of nursing consultants, breastfeeding support groups, spent so much money on breastfeeding accessories but it did not work. My baby girl had a weak, flat latch and the milk was not coming out.

The hospital nurses suggested I will start pumping right away to maintain demand for milk and to keep my milk supply high, so that when Yuval will grow and get stronger she would latch and the milk will start flowing. That’s exactly what I did. On the next morning of giving birth I started pumping, the first pump session were very frustrating. No milk came out, it hurt and of course being hormonal did not help.

How often should you pump as exclusively pumper and how many ounces did I pump?

We got out of the hospital 3 days after birth and kept trying to nurse, while Yuval was asleep I would pump. On the first week I managed to pump around 300ml in total out of 8 pump sessions per day.

As the weeks went by, my milk supply went up and continued to grow, so that two months postpartum I was able to pump 1 liter of breast milk a day! I continued with 8 pump sessions until we reached three months postpartum and then slowly reduced pump sessions, very slowly in order not to harm my supply.

I always offered the breast but over time when the breastfeeding tries did not succeed I kept pumping more and more and eventually became an exclusively pumping mama ๐Ÿ™‚

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Yuval’s very first bottle of breast-milk

3 months postpartum I came across a question online about a lip and tongue tie and there were photos attached, I noticed that Yuval’s upper lip was looking exactly as seen in the photo. We went to an oral healthcare MD who specialized in breastfeeding issues related to babies mouth structure and she diagnosed Yuval with a lip and a tongue ties. I was shocked that it was missed from all the professionals we saw since I gave birth.

Sadly, at 3 months old, Yuval got used to bottles and refused to latch, even though we decided to untie her lip and tongue. I finally accepted the fact that traditional breastfeeding will not happen for us.

During the pumping journey, I got a lot of strength and motivation from the amazing Facebook group of theย Exclusively pumping mamasย and a lot of technical information on how to survive that challenging period.

My pumping schedule

0600- morning pump, 20 min session (that should be one of your most

0900- 20 min session (after breakfast and 1 liter of water)

1200- 30 min session, as we get towards noon the supply is decreased

1500- 30 min session (after lunch and 1 liter of water)

1800- 20 min session, you will notice that towards the evening you will pump more milk

2100- 20 min session (after dinner and another 1 liter of water)

1200- 20 min session (and a good night sleep)

** additional pump at 0300- if you want to increase your milk supply, a pump session between 0100-0400 would be a great boost for your supply.

How long I managed to exclusively pump?

I got back to work after 6 months and continued pumping for my baby girl 2 more months. After 8 months I decided it was time to let go, Yuval already ate solid food and the bottle was mainly a comfort for her. I am proud to say that she was drinking my milk, and my milk only for 8 amazing months!!

It was such a roller coaster of emotions, I went from feeling ashamed not being able to breastfeed my daughter, to a proud (but tired) pumping mama. I’m still not sure if this was a non-breastfeeding journey or a breastfeeding one but I know she got the best I could give her, only in a bottle…

If you are an exclusively pumping mama I strongly recommend you join theย Exclusively pumping mamas, for moral support and a lot of technical support on how to survive this challenging period of time. Especially if you are a first time mom.

Pumping gear

The most important equipment you will need it a pump. To maintain your milk supply high (it is all about demand) you will need a strong pump that can empty you fully on each pumping session. I used a great pump which became my BFF for that time, my queen, my amazing Spectra S1 pump!

When going out on a trip or to the mall, a manual pump would be the best option. No need to plug it or charge it. It’s compact and quiet. I found my Avent Manual pump to be very useful with removing mastitis as well.

If you are using Medela bottles you will need theย Backflow Protectorย adapter to fit your spectra pump.

I always pumped one side at a time, I was used to squeeze my breast to get more milk out and it fit me more. I always had one breast leaking while the other was being pumped and it was frustrating to loose that milk. If you are like me thisย Silicone bottle to avoid drippingย ย is absolutely the best. You just use it as a vacuum on your other breast and it collects the drops of milk.

Using breast milk bags is an every day routine for the exclusivey pumping mother, I foundย Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags – 100 ctย to be the most durable bags, even after 6 months of deep freeze.

 

I hope you liked this post and it was helpful in any way, please contact me if you are dealing with the same issues and have any questionsย ๐Ÿ’–

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