Monday, November 21, 2011
So I've had a lot of questions reecntly about why I exclusively pump, or how I manage. It normally starts out like " How is breast feeding going" and then I go to explain that Ethan never would properly latch and we decided to exclusively pump instead of switching to formula. Then I get to hear "wow that must be really hard on you, I couldn't do it etc etc". Well yes it can be done. Many people, including those who have no difficulties breast feeding, don't really understand the emotional toll that EP can take. And some people who formula feed don't understand why people who EP don't just switch to formula if breast feeding isn't possible. Yes pumping all the time can be a pain, its a personal decision that if your willing to try can work. So in honor of that, I've decided to post all about exclusively pumping ( I know I know, very exciting, calm down.....). And if you have any questions feel free to ask me, I'll try my best to answer them all.
So why pump?- Well my options were pump or switch to formula. I was insistent that I would give Ethan breast milk even if that meant pumping all the time. People exclusively pump for multiple reasons. Personal preference, unable to breast feed or in my case a baby who is stubborn and wouldn't latch. Not because I "wanted to take an easy way out", because trust me this isn't always easy. I worked with 3 extremely qualified LC's, but even with my struggles with breast feeding none of them really mentioned EPing as an option. To them ( and to many other LC's I've since spoke to) breast is best. Not just breast milk, but breast feeding. Therefore thats what they tend to focus on which leaves women who can't breast feed without a large support system and without significant resources. Did making the decision to pump crush my spirit a little? Yes but seeing myself being successful and able to still give my son breast milk makes the decision so much easier
So how do you do it? I mean doesn't it take up all your time?- No.... Does feeding a baby any other way take up all the mothers time? No. Yes it may take alittle more time but its not like I'm strapped to my breast pump at all times. You need to pump enough to maintain your milk supply, thats its. For me thats about 6 times per day, for 10 minutes each time. Thats it. So I basically spend an hour of my day pumping. Really not that much time. Get a good quality breast pump ( I use the Avent Isis Duo and LOVE it) a comfy location to pump ( like your rocking chair or glider) and a little bit of time. Thats all you need.
So you have tons of bottles in your fridge?- No way! I have enough for 24 hours in my fridge. Everything else gets frozen in 2 oz increments using Lansinoh storage bags. Which in my opinion are the best ones out there ( and trust me I've tried lots of bags). Plus the bottles in my fridge are 11 oz bottles, so I fill them up completely before starting a new one, then when I need a bottle I pour out what I need, oldest to newest into a smaller bottle.
** FYI there is conflicting data on whether you can add fresh pumped milk to milk already in the fridge. Most reports say its fine. Thats what I do and we've never had any issues.**
But what do you do about traveling- Now this was one of the harder parts to figure out. 9 hour trips to visit family requires atleast 1 pumping session ( normally more). So if you've read my post about our first trip to Kentucky then you know its possible.
But don't you hate it? Do I hate providing my child with breast milk? No. Do I hate pumping? No. I mean its frustrating at times when I'm half asleep and trying to pump. Or when I forget my manual pump ( I seriously recommend anyone who is thinking of doing this to get a hand held manual pump to keep in your little ones diaper bag, just in case). But for the most part pumping is just another part of my day as a mommy. Nothing more, nothing less. Its not for everyone but it can be done.
Regardless of if you breast feed, EP, or formula feed do whats right for you and your baby, not what others think you should do.
So there you go a quick start guide to exclusively pumping.