But not really.
Okay I take that back, in the first few weeks this post would have been called I HATE to pump it pump it. Now that we are a few months into it, yes, I love to pump it pump it!!
If you exclusively pump you know what I’m talking about here. You know, that annoying and overly exhausting every two to three hours getting up from whatever you are doing whether that be eating, sleeping, catching up on that good TV show, playing with your new little one, or whatever it might be. The sound of the pump is always in the background. I always have to turn the TV up or even better, it’s always in the background when you go to record a video of your little one. The noise has turned into a white noise and actually makes my son fall asleep now, worked out in our favor I guess! Oh and don’t forget all the company that comes over in those first few weeks. Which is a love/hate relationship because you’ve been stuck in your home for weeks with no grownup talk but also feel the need to clean the house and comb through your rats nest – don’t get me started on applying makeup. However; having to leave the room when the in laws come over or putting a cover over your already uncomfortable body which then begins to sweat profusely. Side note – nursing covers also make great pumping covers but also makes for a sauna in the Texas heat. I will share what I use later in a post!
Okay, okay it’s really not that bad..
The first few weeks are a little foggy to remember. I remember sitting at the counter holding a double electric pump and just waiting for time to pass. I couldn’t use my hands and I thought how in the world am I going to ever get anything done having to hold these up for 15-20 minutes every two to three hours!? Well I will tell you there is a glorious thing called a hands free pumping bra. Game changer. This first time mom had no idea. So I grabbed one of those bad boys, came home and put it on and it would not zip. Are you kidding me? No, seriously my husband had to zip it for me every single time because I could never get it to zip when I was full and needing to pump. The girls did not want to cooperate!! Don’t worry that problem has been fixed, I became a big girl and learned how to zip my own pumping bra. You would think you would get sent home with a manual being a first time mom but no, they kick you out into this cold world and now not only do you have a newborn but you have to wear a little something called a diaper (basically) for a few weeks.
Back to the topic..so then I ran into another issue of finding the right flange size. I had no idea there was such a thing. It clearly says this in the instruction manual, but who reads those? Well, my husband does thank goodness so he saved my nipples from falling off. I’m telling you, having the wrong flange size hurts like no other!! This can also decrease your milk supply so be very careful! There is a great picture that shows you how to measure to figure out what size is best for you if you click on this link it should take you to the medela site. https://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/article/143/breast-shield-sizing:-how-to-get-the-best-fit
If you are wondering, yes my husband pulled out his tape measure and determined I had the wrong size. You grow so close when a baby comes along, so many laughs! I had to order a different size because they only sell certain sizes in stores. Thank goodness amazon has everything but even the whole two day shipping for prime members seems like a lifetime when your pumping with the wrong size flange. So now I am pumping with my hands free pumping bra and the right size flange. It still takes awhile for your body to get use to this. This is normal! Your nipples will hurt. I started to use lanolin cream around the nipple because the friction of your nipple on the flange can take some time getting use too. I remember dreading it every single time it came time to pump again. It was just uncomfortable for me at first. I began to settle into a routine and started freezing milk to store a stash. I would pump every two to three hours around the clock for at least the first 10-12 weeks. My husband would get up with me and feed my son while I pumped so we could both go to bed quicker that way. Sometimes I would do both, feed and pump because I love the extra snuggles. There is something so sweet about 3 AM baby snuggles after they eat. Now that my son is a little older I will try to pump every 3.5-4 hours during the day and go a little longer at night. Yes, I still get up at night to pump because my boobs will kill me if I don’t. Now, some women do not have to get up and pump during the night. I know you can train your body *to an extent* to go longer during the night. However, I do make a lot of milk and have gotten mastitis twice so for me I still get up at least once during the night to pump because mastitis is not fun!
Here is what I did in the beginning.
At first I remember my left side making more than my right and thought it was so weird. Then my right side began to be the money maker! So if this is happening to you it’s totally normal! I have since then had mastitis twice in my right side so now the left is back in business.
I remember when I first started to pump I pumped 6 oz, then 8 then 12 oz and then it was like an oz a minute for however long. I am just getting over mastitis so i’m trying to play catch up right now.
I would pump every two-three hours around the clock. You MUST treat the pump as if it was your baby eating. In the first few weeks, well honestly the first 12 weeks, you have to make sure you pump 8-10 times a day because this is how much a baby should be nursing. I know that sounds like a lot but this is required to establish a good supply! Now, every baby is different and you will fall into a routine of how often your baby likes to eat and it will become easier to manage.
Sometimes at night time if my son went 3.5 hours I would let that slide but I was usually very religious about pumping every 3 hours. When we travel I do this as well! I set my watch with a pump timer to remind me or I leave my stopwatch on my phone running so I can look and see if its almost time to pump. Now don’t get me wrong, traveling and trying to pump is hard work. We might be out shopping and I have to time it right where it will match up with his bottle of breast milk. So if my husband is with me he will feed him while I pump in the car. It’s like a game when you are shopping and you spend an hour in a store and then go eat lunch and head to the next store and you think “oh man I only have 30 min in this store before my boobs start to explode, should I risk it?” It does get better being out of the house and pumping. When the feeds start to space out a bit longer like 4-5 hours it makes it easier to be out longer. However I still don’t like to go longer than 4 hours during the day.
I have now mastered the art of driving and pumping, another game changer!! It takes skill let me tell you, especially when you start to overflow, but it makes life easier when it’s just you and your little. Or, when you are stuck in traffic and your boobs are again, about to explode.
I made a pumping bag that i take with me when we travel and this is also what I take to work with me to pump. I will share more on pumping and some good information and (funny) lessons learned with exclusively pumping in my next post!
**If you have questions or just need someone to talk to about this please feel free to reach out to me. I know this can be overwhelming and very hard to do. You can email me, find me on Instagram or Facebook at the links below.**