Don’t feel bad. Don’t feel bad at all! It’s an option and your baby still gets the milk they need, and it’s breast milk!! People talk about it being time consuming but personally it seems no different than breastfeeding. It actually gives more freedom with the pump.
I hate that I had to move to the pump with this baby but that is just how things seemed to go. My nipples were so bloody and scabbed. We saw multiple lactation consultants who all said we had a good latch. Got her checked for lip and tongue ties. Went to La Leche League meetings. Nothing helped, my nipples were just worse and worse everyday. No matter what I did, the flipple technique, the hamburger, my nipples still came out rubbed and crushed.
I was slipping into panic attacks with postpartum depression. Once I would get through the pain of one feed she would be crying for another. I never had a chance to breathe. I have broken a few bones, got lip injections, given birth, BUT still have to say that toe curling, writhing nipple pain from the initial latch was a full on 11.
How to do it?
1. Get yourself a nice breast pump, and supplies.
If you can, call your insurance ASAP, because most insurance companies will hook you up with a free breast pump. Click here to see if you qualify right away. If you are not covered with your insurance and are in the USA, WIC will set you up with a badass breast pump. Click Here for their website.
Honestly, as much as I was pumping I ended up burning up my initial breast pump motor from my insurance, replacing it, and then renting a pump through WIC because it’s hospital grade. This is the one below.
I used the one I got from my insurance as my portable one because it took batteries as well. Then my hospital grade one for at home.
Also, get bags. Usually, they will include a good amount to start pumping but if not then I recommend these here. Do not go super cheap with breast milk bags, because the cheap ones explode in the freezer and you lose all that good breast milk. Plus, you can wash and reuse the good quality ones, and you want the self standing ones as well.
2. Get the Dr. Browns, Options Vent bottle here along with 2 preemie nipples here off Amazon.
They have been great! Even if you have a baby that chokes on the bottle, the preemie nipples are a lifesaver.
Funny thing is the bottle nipple was slower than my breast. If you have to bottle feed because of work or any other reason, you do not want to have a bottle that has faster flow than your breast. That is why the baby actually ends up rejecting the breast. Not because of actual nipple confusion, but because they get spoiled with the faster flow. Also, come to find out that maybe she was crushing my nipple because of my fast flow. She did always choke on my breast.
2. Aim for pumping 8x every 24 hours.
If you don’t pump the full 8 a day it’s okay. Hey, that rhymes! If you aim for this and get 6 or 7 in there you will be doing good. My average was 7 a day but some days I would get 9, others 6; just aim for 8. Here is an example.
At first I pumped 20 minutes, each pump session, on both breasts, at the same time. They say to pump 5 minutes after the last drop to increase supply. So sometimes it was 15 minutes, others 40.
I would try to distract myself and just pump, constantly. Watching TV, pump. Reading a book, pump. Grocery shopping, pump.
At first my milk supply was just enough. I didn’t know how to use the pump to get the most milk, but everyday I got more efficient at it. I used an app to calculate my pumping amount along with time of day and how long. I’m telling you it became 2nd nature. I woke up 2-3x a night to pump when my baby woke. Then throughout the day felt the fullness of my breast, or the prickly feeling, and knew it was time. I naturally did it every 2-3 hours for the relief.
3. Massage, Massage, Massage.
This is what they tell you when you get your boobs done, but this saying also goes for breast pumping. Massage them until they feel like deflated balloons. Massage starting from the top near the armpit, and move down. Depending how engorged, use two fingers and slide them down towards the nipples.
4. Set up a pumping spot.
I had taken over the couch, and I didn’t care. Set up a little side table next to the couch and just keep your pump set up there. Then every night make it really easy to take it to the bedroom and put it on the nightstand next to your bed. If you don’t have a nightstand then set it on the floor, make it work.
Breast milk was down my nightstand, on my leather couch, the kitchen counter, just everywhere.
5. Get a pumping bra here.
This is probably the most important thing, besides your boobs, the pump, the bottles. Okay, so it’s not the most important thing but it makes life hell of a lot easier.
You don’t know how many times I was in a rush and it was time to pump but we needed to get where we were going. I would pack up the car, throw on my pumping bra, and had the pump going before I left the driveway.
Many people in Arizona saw my nipples being stretched into plastic cones going down the freeway, and they know they loved it!
Make sure you get the strapless ones. That way anytime you can just put it around you without having to pull down straps or take off your shirt. You lift up your shirt, unsnap your nursing bra, wrap it around you, and you’re done.
Not to mention when you are home you can throw your pump in a purse and clean the house while wearing it. Just don’t forget, then bend over too far and have liquid gold pour down the front of you.
Whoever said don’t cry over spilt milk, must have been a man.
6. Stock up on Brewers Yeast tablets here, Mothers Milk Tea here, flax, and steel cut oatmeal.
All of these increase production of breast milk! Take them all, it helps! Breast milk production is also said to increase with eating fennel, alfalfa, garlic, and ginger. I would also mix fine cut flax into my oatmeal. You can’t even taste it and it helps with production.
Just be careful not to overdo the weird tasting stuff because baby tastes what you eat through your milk.
There is no such thing as eating and making too many oatmeal cookies at this time. Try to sneak above ingredients into the cookies as well. I found that made it easier to get them in daily.
Avoid peppermint, sage, high levels of caffeine (obviously completely is impossible), and smoking. These are known to decrease production.
7. Download this App.
If you have Apple, download the app above here. There a few different apps for breast pumping out there but I found this one to be the easiest to use and have the best FREE features.
If you have android search breast pumping in the play store. I honestly haven’t used the android app, but make sure you try the free ones before buying anything. You get everything you need in the free versions.
I never could have breastfed from the boob with this baby. I mean my daughter ate multiple times a day, taking about an hour each time. That’s 8 hours each day. I just wouldn’t and didn’t have time for anything else. Plus the fact I don’t know how much milk you can get through a bloody scab.
*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, but believe in those products and have bought them for myself.
If you have any questions or comments about being an exclusive pumper let me know below or email me. I’m always here to help.
Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write on my site something like that. Can I implement a part of your post to my blog?
Thanks for the comment! Yeah, if you want to quote me as a source with a link back to this article that is fine. Just do something like “Alanna at Diary of a Real Mom in her post 7 Ways to Master Being an Exclusive Breast Pumping Mom (link) states….”. You know what I mean?
Let me know if you have any more questions.
XOXO Alanna 🙂