“I am going to start pumping tomorrow.”
I said this for 3 days in a row before I finally hooked myself up to my milk making machine. I don’t know why, but it was hard to bring myself to set up the pump and get started. I was either overwhelmed or too tired…if I had to guess. But I did it, I finally started pumping.
BTW, pumping feels and looks super weird and it makes me feel like a zoo animal.
It’s important for me to start pumping and building up my supply while I continue to nurse. I need to start stocking up before I go back to work. I also want to start introducing bottle feeds while I am home to help with a smooth transition to our impending work/daycare grind.
I am no expert on lactation, but from what I have read/heard on the “how to feed your baby” subject, breastfeeding is better. Apparently, it is better for bonding, increasing milk supply and providing immune fighting antibodies. These reasons are why I will continue to nurse multiple times per day while also attempting to build up stock via the pump.
But, I will bottle feed, additionally. And everyone will be fine.
In my opinion, which is really the only one that matters, a growing baby and a happy mommy is the best feeding approach. And for me, alternating between breast and bottle feeds makes the most sense for my lifestyle and my family.
Reasons I am pumped to pump:
- I will know exactly how much breastmilk my baby is consuming. When you breastfeed, it is impossible to determine how many ounces are consumed. Technically, you can weigh the baby before feeding (dry weight) and then after (wet weight) and find the difference. I tried this a few times. (Yes, I bought a baby scale. Listen, I am dietitian, I can’t help myself!). But, because it is hard to keep an infant still, the measurement is not reliable.
- My husband can help. When I told my husband I started pumping, he immediately asked, “can I feed her?” I love that my husband is so involved. He changes diapers, swaddles like a boss and watches our baby so I can nap/shower/grocery shop (lucky for me, he works from home!). But, he can’t feed her. Introducing the bottle allows him to fully participate in nurturing our daughter. That makes me happy.
- The convenience factor. If I want to leave the house or attend a social event, I can do so and stay longer than two hours knowing that my baby has a nutritional meal to consume in my absence.
So far, my pumping journey has been tolerable. It’s definitely not fun – I don’t jump up and down in excitement before plugging myself into a milk vacuum. But, I am committed. My days revolve around making milk > nurse, pump, clean/steam, repeat. It’s draining (pun intended).
For me, the hardest part about making milk is making enough. Even though I just started pumping, I am disappointed in my supply. I am only getting about an ounce per session. Hopefully, I will yield more milk the more I pump/nurse. I’d really like to get closer to 4-6 ounces per session.
A lot of lactation articles suggest that consuming Mother’s Milk Tea, fenugreek, flax seeds, oatmeal and beer may help increase supply. I will definitely try these suggestions, even without a copious amount of scientific evidence to support the claims. If it might help and it definitely won’t hurt, why not? It’s about balancing the risks versus rewards.
My pumping essentials:
2) Nursing Pads
3) “The New Yorker” Breast Pump Bag by Charlie G – Mother Inspired and Designed Tote w/ Bonus Dust Bag