Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Love-Hate Relationship

I love breastfeeding.  I love the bonding time I get to spend with Ella, I love that I can give her body the nourishment that it needs, and I love the way she looks up at me with her beautiful blue eyes.  I have been blessed that breastfeeding has been a really good experience thus far.  She latched and nursed well from within the first hour of birth, and--as far as I can tell--things continue to go well.

But I hate pumping.  It hurts, it seems so unnatural to be hooked up to a machine, and I always end up feeling like a cow.  Not to mention, it always sounds like the motor of the pump is telling me to "wrap it up, wrap it up, wrap it up".  Ella is a very efficient eater, and I never seem to have that much milk leftover, so it often feels like a futile attempt to pump after nursing (it seems like I'm averaging 1.5 ounces each time).  But I want to build up my supply--both internally and externally.  Perhaps it might be better if we rented one of the higher-quality pumps from the hospital, but for now, I think I'm just going to grin and bear it (and by "grin", I really mean "grimace through the pain but know that it's worth it"). 

Any thoughts or recommendations on how I can make pumping a more enjoyable experience?  Also, I'd be curious to hear about anyone's "system" for pumping, storing, freezing, bottling, etc.  I know that there are plenty of "how-to guidelines" online, but it's kind of nice to hear it from women who I trust.

Today's blessing was having my husband stay home with me.  He woke up with a bit of a headache, so decided to just stay home.  I've noticed that he's been more and more willing to skip out on work ever since Ella arrived, whereas he was previously so diligent about building up his vacation time and not taking a day off for himself.  It was really nice to have him home with me and Ella--he really is so wonderful with her!


  1. I have a post w/the same title about breastfeeding in general. Two things I think its important for you to know. The pumping get less painful & averaging 1.5 oz is a great amount! I would not worry about a more expensive pump. If you check out the LLL website it says 1 oz is average. You are doing a great job!

  2. I hate pumping, too. I have a countdown on my computer for how many pumps I have left - I'm going to start to wean myself from the pump at 6 months.

    When I was at home, I pumped only in the morning. That is when I had my best output and it was actually a relief to completely empty the girls. I saved that milk and froze it and had about 300 oz before I went back to work. Pumping after every feeding would probably make me want to pull my eyeballs out. You are awesome for doing that. I still pump every morning. I still hate it.
    I think I'm going to work on a post about my pumping/freezing style so I can remember what I'm doing for the next time...
    And yes, it does get less painful, but I don't think it gets any less akward.

  3. I got a kick out of your "wrap it up - wrap it up" comment. I felt the same way with my machine, like it was talking to me rhythmically. :)

    My son was a great eater too, so it often felt futile when I pumped following his feedings - I never seemed to get much. But this was the method recommended to me by my two older sisters who had both successfully BF for substantial periods with each of their kiddos - they advised pumping until you are completely empty after feedings. One sister swore that doing this for every feeding for 2-3 days would give me more milk than I would know what to do with. In all honesty, I don't think I was diligent enough about it to reach that level. I think I also waited too long into my maternity leave to do a good pumping routine - my frozen stash seemed to vanish all too quickly when I went back to work (even though I kept pumping on my breaks). So its great that you are doing a pumping routine already. Way to go! You could also contact your local LLL for more tips on pumping.

  4. Oh, did this bring back memories. My pump was a plastic bottle with a bulb that created suction when you squeezed it. Kinda looked like the bulbs that honk a horn on a bike. Funny little contraption, but it worked. But your friends are right, 1 1/2 ounces is great.

    I wondered what pumping by maching would feel like. Whatever the means, you were worth it, baby girl. And Dad had milk to give you when I went back to work. Mom (and now Grandma)

  5. I agree with everyone else - 1.5 oz is a great amount! I have nothing more to add except...

    If it is truly painful when you pump, you may need bigger boob flanges (obviously not a technical term). I only recently learned they were out there. I think the basic size that comes with your pump is 24 mm and you can go up or down from there. I ended up with 30 mm and think even still could go up one more size. They say it can increase your pumping output with the correct size. Medela has a chart on their website (sorry I don't have the link in front of me but it's pretty easy to find!) about how you know if your flange thingy is fitting properly.

    You are doing great! Keep it up!

  6. I agree with what the last person said. The basic ones from the store and from the hospital is 24mm which is not the correct size for most. My co-worker was using the wrong size at first because that is what the hospital gave her and with the correct size your output should increase and should not be so painful. Most need 2 different sizes as most people’s breast are not the same size. All my friends use the more expensive machines from the hospital because it does not take as long to pump and it increase the output for some people. Hospitals need to education and asses women before the leave. My one co-work who was currently breast feeding got a serve case of mastitis and had to stop breast feeding because she had been using a breast shield that was too small for 5 months.

    Here is some good information on how to tell if the breast shield is too small…….
    Observe how the nipple is sucked into the tunnel of the breast shield, while the milk is beginning to be expressed from the breast. The fit of the breast shield should be comfortable and not extremely tight or loose around the nipple and areola. The nipple should not be rubbing against parts of the tunnel of the breast shield. Observe to see if any small pieces of skin are in the breast shield tunnel. If there are, this means that the breast shield is too small. Look for the areola moving with each pump of the breast pump. If this does not occur, the breast shield is too small. Observe to see if there is any pain on the outside of the nipple or in the breast after pumping. The nipple pain will only occur on the outside and not the tips, if the breast shield is too small. Breast pain will occur if the breast shields are too tight, and the milk is not being released from the breast properly. With breast shields that are too small, the milk ducts are not correctly being pumped, which causes milk to remain in the breasts. Milk remaining in the breast can be harmful to the mother because the breast may become infected or the mother could develop mastitis.
    Sorry I wrote so much....Hopefully that helps you out...Good Luck

  7. The more expensive breast pumps really are worth it...they work so much better and hurt a lot less. I also pumped only in the mornings because that's when my supply was at the highest. Also whenever she would drop a feeding I would try and pump during that time just to help my supply. I was fortunate enough to stay home with Lucy so I really didn't have to pump very much...I got in the habit of doing it every morning just so we would have some in the freezer for outings or emergencies.

    How is babywise going? I did babywise and swear by it...I plan on doing it again with our next one


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