So, breastfeeding is hard to get used to. Then add pumping. Oh boy.
I decided I wanted to breastfeed until Zane is a year old. I was so frustrated when we were first starting out. I couldn’t get him to latch very well. At some point something just clicked for us and the painful feedings became something calming and so so sleepy. I enjoy these bonding moments with my son. He’s ten months old and doesn’t really like to do it as often anymore, which makes me both happy and sad. Happy that he’s growing up, but sad because I just don’t really feel ready for him to start growing up. Motherhood is strange like that.
Before Zane was born I got a Medela Pump-in-Style through my insurance (https://aeroflowbreastpumps.com). It was very overwhelming trying to figure out how to use it correctly. When you first start using it, it can be painful. Have that nipple cream ready, I promise it helps! I used MotherLove because it’s Organic, but I really liked it. It worked better than the straight lanolin. As a first time mom I was trying to pump pretty early and struggling. My OB told me not to worry about pumping until two months. That made me feel a lot better and after two months it was a lot easier.
Going back to work was a struggle with pumping. Workplaces are required to provide a private space for nursing moms. No, you do NOT have to do this in the restroom. If you’re being told to do this is the restroom, look up your state’s laws on this. I work in IT and we have a locked room where we keep all of our equipment. They put up a sign for me to flip from Vacant to Occupied when I was in there and not to be disturbed. It was cute. But pumping at work is both boring and stressful starting out. My supply is good, but it’s not overflowing with oceans of milk like some moms’ seem to have. I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit envious of that. I struggle to keep up with what my son drinks every day. I sometimes have to pump at home after feedings to keep up. He’s a hefty eater.
There are a lot of different ways to keep your supply up to par, like pumping an hour after each feeding, lactation recipes (see my cookie recipe! They are delicious!), drinking tons of fluids and eating a lot of iron rich foods (I’ll post a super delicious shake recipe later this month that has protein and iron, great for pre or post partem). It can be so stressful pumping every day at work. I know a lot of women who gave up after a few months of it, it takes a lot of work and is very difficult so I really don’t blame them. But I’ve been doing this for seven months now and I have no plans to stop until August.
My only advice for the moms that are able to breastfeed and don’t want to formula feed their babies, is to keep at it. Believe me, I know it’s hard. I know that the distractions of work can make you forget your pumping schedule. I know the stress of leaving your breastpump at home on accident and having to deal with the pain of not pumping. But keep at it! Don’t give up! It gets easier, it really does. It becomes like second nature, and it gets easier. You just have to get to the point where it gets easier, and I know a lot of moms get too frustrated to get to that point. Again, I don’t blame them, but keep at it. I believe in you, you should believe in you too!