Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Exclusive Pumper's Experience with Breastfeeding

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to give my daughter my milk and my goal was to provide her with breastmilk for at least 6 months.  I didn't know how challenging breastfeeding would be.  After my daughter was born, my milk didn't come in until after a week.  We gave her nipple ready formula the first week.  I drank Mother's Milk Tea every day 4x a day.  I don't know if it was psychological, but I do think this tea helped me.  I also ate oatmeal everyday for breakfast.

Now the hard part, as if you aren't tired enough with a newborn that wakes up every 2-3 hours, you also have to build up milk supply.  For some women, they have no problems with milk supply.  For me, I had to work for it.  I had to actually breastfeed/pump 24/7 for 13 weeks straight every 3 hours.  I don't think my baby was able to  latch on properly, so during in the second or third week my milk supply was going down.  Because I didn't want my milk supply to decrease any further,  I decided to pump exclusively and just give my daughter the bottle.  This was actually a plus because my MIL and husband would be able to feed her too.  I know some women out there don't like pumping exclusively and say that you should breastfeed, but this is what worked best for me.  I didn't want to wait until 5-6 weeks when my milk supply would be really low and then try to build it up again.

After my milk supply was steady (30-36 oz. a day) I removed 1 night of pumping.   Also, at nights Mr. F1 would give my daughter the bottle while I pumped for 15 minutes to cut down time.  I found the more sleep I got the more milk I made, so Mr. F1 was very supportive at night.  He basically did EVERYTHING at night.  All I needed to do was pump!   I think having a family member that is supportive helps with breastfeeding.  Mr. F1 helped me not to quit.   He knew that this was important to me and would remind me what my goal was during the times I wanted to stop.   His supportiveness helped me not feel alone.

My daughter wasn't fed breastmilk all the time.  Although there is no scientific proof, we found that when she had formula she slept longer.  Therefore, at night we fed her formula to allow us to sleep longer.  I was able to freeze 8 oz of milk everyday.  I  managed to continue pumping until my daughter was 9 months old.  By then, she was on solids already, and I decided to stop since my freezer was full of milk and my daughter was set until she was 1 year old. I am not sure if it is coincidence, but my daughter hasn't gotten sick at all since she was born.  I think it's from the antibodies in my breastmilk.

Going back to work,  I didn't have any problem finding time to pump.  My company provides a mother's room with a sofa, a glider, table, and a fridge.  I was the only one using the room which was a BIG plus!

One thing I noticed is after 6 months some women would be asking me to stop and that I shouldn't be giving my daughter breastmilk because breastmilk doesn't have enough nutrients, blah blah blah....I just ignored these remarks.  My daughter's doctor even told us it is okay.  While reading information about breastfeeding online, I found most women in other countries breastfeed past 6 months.  US women breastfeed the least, I think 3-4 months was the average length of time.    From my view, it may be because US society hasn't really embraced the idea of breastfeeding that much.  It's not that convenient especially if you have to go back to work after your maternity leave.  As babies get older it isn't too socially acceptable. Bottom line: Don't let other people's opinion about breastfeeding/breastmilk stop you or make you quit.

What ever path you choose: breastfeeding, exclusively pumping, formula don't let anyone make you feel bad for your decisions.  It is whatever works best for you and your baby.


  1. Hi, thanks for your comment on Bentobloggy.com! I'm following you now.

    Loved MMT when I was nursing, great tea (tastes kinda funky, but it works!)


  2. Hi Emily,

    Thanks for following us & for your comment! We love Bentobloggy.com. We plan to write about it and share it with our readers. Wow! You nursed for 3 years! That is awesome!

    Urban Warrior Moms