The journey of breastfeeding looks different for every family. Certain circumstances require moms to pump more often, or place of, skin-to-skin feedings. If you find yourself in this boat, we share words of wisdom from your collaborative fellow pumpers:
“’Pumping exclusively’ is not a phrase I ever heard while I was pregnant, but it is exactly what I found myself doing after my daughter was born. The combination of her being in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for the first few days of her life, as well as latching issues (tongue and lip tie), made the choice for me. Bless the lactation consultants. They tried their best to help baby and me, but it just was not in the stars for us to breastfeed in the traditional sense. I was determined to provide breastmilk for my new little one and set out to research all I could about pumping exclusively.”
“I needed to return to work after my maternity leave. I wanted to provide as much breastmilk as possible for when I was away from home. In order to prepare, I would pump after I breastfed even when at home. Now I take regular breaks to pump at work and have skin-to-skin feedings morning and night.”
Here are a few factors that have made their pumping and breastfeeding journey easier:
- A good bra! We all know that a good bra can be life-changing, but when you’re breastfeeding, it is essential. Consider purchasing a pumping bra so you can pump both sides at the same time hands-free.
- Whenever possible, invest in a pump that is hospital grade. Be sure to call your insurance company to see what type of pump they provide. Most insurances provide some type of pump-free, through the Affordable Care Act. WIC clients also have options for obtaining breast pumps.
- Many times I’ve been able to pump right at my desk. With the right pump and clothing, this can be discreet and comfortable.
- I also recommend getting as many pump parts as possible. Trust me, when you realize at 3 a.m. that you need clean pump parts, you’re going to wish you had that extra set! Extra parts have saved my sanity many times.
- Get a battery pack for your pump if it doesn’t come with one. The battery can be used when you need to pump in the car, either because you are traveling to and from places, or when you’ve waited too long to pump/nurse and need relief, or for road trips. Be sure to get a cord adapter that connects to your car’s auxiliary power outlet.
- A manual pump works well if you pump one side at a time, or to collect let down while skin-to-skin feeding on the other side.
- Find your people. There is a lot that goes into being an exclusive pumper. Not only do we have to pump, but we have to wash parts and bottles and still feed the little one. However, if you have a group of people who understand what you’re going through, fellow pumpers who you can vent to or bounce ideas off of, it is amazing. I love exclusivepumping.com. It is a great resource for everything pumping.
o Call Labor of Love for dates and times for New Parent Group and La Leche League mommy meet-ups at 505.727.7677
- Set up a pumping station! My sweet husband set up my rocking chair with an old nightstand to hold all of my items. I have my pump, spare parts, snacks, water bottles, lubrication, blanket, roller, massager and a heating pad to help with let downs. Having this all together is so convenient and helps me be comfortable while I am pumping, which is important for as much time as I spend pumping!
- Have pics and videos of your babies nearby when pumping. It really does seem to give a bigger letdown and a larger amount of milk.
Whether you’re exclusively pumping, breastfeeding the traditional way, or a combination of both, please know “You’re doing a great job!” and that however long you are able to do so is a win! For further questions and assistance, please call Lovelace Lactation at Women’s Hospital 505.727.6797 or Lovelace Westside 505.727.2383.
Blog submitted by pumping moms in your community.