Baby Settler Blog
Pumping. Part One. Pumping Enabled Me to Breastfeed.
Let’s talk about pumping.
If you’re currently breastfeeding (or planning to), it’s very likely you will use a breast pump at some point during your breastfeeding journey. You might be planning to exclusively pump. It might be that you’ve got a baby who isn’t a great breast feeder in the early days due to complications like: jaundice, preterm delivery, weight loss, et cetera. It could be that you don’t like breastfeeding, but you still want your baby to have breastmilk. Maybe you’re planning to breastfeed and bottle feed. You might have wanted to exclusively breastfeed, but your milk supply isn’t fully able to keep your baby full. You can still breastfeed! It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I’m going to give you my recommendations for each of these scenarios, but first, I’d love to share this story with you.
“Much of my pregnancy was spent doing what most first time Moms do: educating myself and planning for what was to come. As a healthcare provider, I knew the benefits of breastfeeding and prioritized this as part of our son’s feeding plan. However, breastfeeding was far from easy, and I was totally unprepared for the emotional and physical challenges associated with breastfeeding. For various reasons our newborn struggled to latch and take enough volume to sustain a healthy weight. As a result, we mastered the art of triple feeding, which involved me offering him the breast which inevitably did not end well- then watching him happily take a bottle from my husband while I pumped and felt like a failure. After a few weeks of this, exhaustion and frustration set in as it started to take an emotional toll on me to not be able to fulfill this very basic need for my child. Most of my interactions with our new baby were tough: picture him red in the face, screaming at my breast, decidedly rejecting the nipple and any/all attempts to help him latch on. As the weeks of my maternity leave started slipping away, I knew we needed to switch course. I was asked a simple question- one without judgement, accusation, or bias, by our amazing lactation consultant (AHEM: HILLARY!) that helped redefine our focus: “What do YOU want to do?” Ultimately, we regrouped on a plan that involved solely pumping and bottle feeding, with the thought of leaving the door “open” to breastfeeding in the future if/when I felt ready to try again. I felt relieved and energized at the opportunity to bond in a positive way with our baby and enjoy our feeds together. One night several weeks later, our son successfully latched on when offered the breast, and we haven’t looked back since. Our journey was tough- full of up’s and down’s, and the biggest learning curve imaginable, but I’m so grateful that we persevered.”
It’s Better to be Over Prepared.
I hope Sarah’s story helps encourage and support you. I wanted to share her story because it’s real and honest. I always encourage expecting Mamas to have a double electric breast pump before they deliver. Most health insurance companies are required to provide a hospital grade electric pump. And I’d strongly encourage you to invest in a hands-free pumping bra (I’ve linked my favorite here). They are a GAME changer, especially when you’re needing to pump often. Most moms don’t plan on needing to pump immediately following delivery, but you can’t control what happens at delivery. It’s better to be overprepared! Throw the hands-free pumping bra in your hospital bag.
We’re just getting started on this topic. To be continued next week!
You’ve got this!
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