I’ve been told on multiple occasions by family and friends that I didn’t try hard enough to keep my baby latching on to my breast. While I’m pretty good at ignoring other people’s opinions and standing by my own, I’ve found myself upset at being told I didn’t try hard enough.
Many women choose to pump instead of breastfeeding and each has their own, excellent, reason. For me, it was both a medical and a sanity issue. I had breast surgery a few years ago which left one of my nipples damaged, causing my breastmilk to leak out non-stop. Because of this freeflow, I quickly developed an oversupply and forceful letdown. This meant that each time Bebé would latch on my milk would come pouring out of the damaged side. If he was on this breast he would choke and sputter and we would both be soaked through within a minute. If he was on the other I would lose all this milk and be soaked through within a minute. If you’ve breastfed, you know that being covered in milk is sticky and gross. Breastfeeding became a negative experience for both of us. I started to dread feeding times and Bebé started to lose weight. This was why I decided to exclusively breast pump.
Breastfeeding is HARD. No matter how you do it. But being attached to a machine for 30 minutes, 10 times a day, every two hours on top of everything else you need to do for a newborn is grueling work. I considered switching to formula many times, but I had a great supply and didn’t want to give that up.
I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do, even with all the additional work of bottle cleaning and annoyance of blocked ducts. Because I wasn’t able to feed him directly I dedicated myself to building up my supply and starting a freezer stash. As of right now, I have about two months worth of frozen milk. If I keep going to the end of the year, I should be able to give my baby breastmilk well past his first birthday.
It may not be the ideal situation for some people but I’m working hard day and night and pumping has now become a method of relaxation for me. While I’m still dealing with the constant free flow, I’ve learned a lot. I may even be able to breastfeed future children.
I love my #pumpinglife & I’m proud.
Check out the Exclusively Pumping section of this site for my top tips on exclusively pumping.