One of the great things about this blog is that you get to hear different stories and perspectives that can inspire you to make changes in your life. After I had my second son, complications with breastfeeding arose and I made the decision to exclusively pump. I don’t think I would have had the courage to do so if I hadn’t read, It All Comes From the Same Place: My Journey Through Pumping, which was published a few months before my baby was born. As I prepared to return to the workplace, I also found A Mother’s Guide to Pumping: Tips and Tricks very helpful as well.
Exclusively pumping can be very challenging. It’s like the work of breastfeeding and formula feeding combined. Just like when I was breastfeeding, I ate lactation energy bites to boost my supply. I cut foods out of my diet to help my baby be less fussy. I’ve had plugged ducts. I’ve pumped around the clock to mimic the schedule of a newborn. And just like I was formula feeding, we wash bottles constantly. We bought two boon grass drying racks to hold all of our supplies. We tried a variety of different nipples to help with our baby’s latch.
My husband and older son have had to make some adjustments as well. One of the perks of pumping for me is that my husband can help out more in feeding the baby. This means he can take over part of the night shift so that I can get more sleep.
One of the perks of pumping for my son is that he gets to watch a TV show whenever he’s around me pumping. As a 4-year-old with limited screen time, he’s taken it upon himself to encourage me to pump as much as possible.
I’ve also enjoyed the solitude of pumping. Over the holidays, we were around a lot of family members and it was nice to have a legitimate excuse to step away for 20-30 minutes and recharge. I’ve had more time to read or watch movies when I pump.
Another perk of pumping is that I am in control. I get to decide when I pump and for how long. When breastfeeding my first son, I was always at the mercy of his schedule. I never knew when he would be hungry next. I would stress about his nursing strikes. I would be sore from cluster feedings. When I switched to exclusively pumping, part of me felt empowered.
As someone who loves to have control, it was nice for me to know exactly how much milk my baby was drinking. The doctors were initially concerned about his weight gain and it was great to have numbers to prove he was eating well.
I know that pumping may not be for everyone, but it’s been the best fit for me and my family.