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Pumping is Hard Work #breastfeeding

I’n happy to say my daughter has been nursing for 8 months. This has taken work to maintain, but she’s been nearly exclusively fed at the breast this whole time.

So what does that have to do with pumping, you ask?

Well, it means I don’t pump often so when I take that rare night away from my precious princess… it’s hard work. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying it’s harder than moms who exclusively pump or pump a lot at work. What I am saying is… It’s hard for me and I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like for them to regularly pump.

It also means you need the right tools for the job. There are a few different types of breastpumps: hand pumps, single pumps, double electric pumps, etc.

I own two pumps: a hand pump and a double electric pump.

Before I gave birth I had it set in my mind that I needed a double electric pump. It seemed like the most efficient way to pump, especially if I was going to return to work. I’d read and been told in class that I wouldn’t need a pump right away. That after breastfeeding was established and/or a few weeks before returning to work is when I should start pumping.

Well, now I know better. When Rissa had some latch issues I needed a pump ASAP to relieve my enforcement and feed her. That’s when I got the hand pump. The next day I bought the double electric because I was concerned I might end up pumping exclusively.

After nursing resumed, I didn’t really need to pump unless I was storing milk for an upcoming time away from Rissa. I continued to pump regularly for a bit, but sadly all that milk expired.

Our date nights in January and February were easy for me to pump for. It seemed like I had a hefty supply and pumping twice in the morning for a few days beforehand provided at least 2-3 feedings worth.

Just last week I left Rissa with her gramma while I went to the Cars 2 screening. I tried to pump once a day for four days.

I only had enough for half a feeding.

As you can imagine, I was worried.

What happened to my supply??!!

I had to remind myself that Rissa is

  • eating solids now so overall she takes in less milk
  • more efficient than my pump
  • signaling my body to make the perfect amount just for her

Despite these reminders it makes me wonder if I should start pumping regularly again? Should I be expressing breastmilk for her to drink from her cup? Should I be banking it to help transition her to cows milk after she turns one?

It makes me very nervous about leaving her with anyone for too long. When we went to the movie I nursed her before we left and she still had solids to eat for dinner yet plus her bottle. She doesn’t nurse much more after dinner until around midnight. What if I need to leave her during the day though?

What have your experiences been with pumping?




Wednesday 6th of July 2011

Thank you for sharing with us this week! Pumping isn't easy, but worth when you need the extra supply. :)

mel: Never a Dull Moment

Friday 1st of July 2011

Thank you for this post! My LO is almost 11mo and you just reassured me, we nurse often but i'm gone 6.5hrs a day or so and when I pump I get maybe 2-3oz (see my post)...

but thank you!

Newest follower and blog hopper!

The Slacker Mom

Friday 1st of July 2011

I was sooooooo happy to stop pumping. It is hard, and once I started staying home there was just no reason. I was happy to cheat with formula (don't take my breastfeeding card!) if he needed to eat when I wasn't there.

Jen - Life With Levi

Friday 1st of July 2011

Heck yeah it's hard! It doesn't matter if you pump frequently or infrequently, it's still tough.

You're so awesome for keeping up even when you're away from Rissa!

So good to see you "hopping" again - hope you'll join in next week for Breastfeeding & Body Changes.


Thursday 30th of June 2011

I am with you - it's HARD work and I didn't enjoy it. Other than relief from my engorgement, I just found it so inconvenient! (that's what I wrote about in my hop post!). But I was happy to have it for relief and for the FEW times I was away from my son. if you're worried about supply I'd recommend 2 things. Drink more water. Get some "mother's Milk" tea from Traditional Medicinals and drink 4 cups a day for a couple days and your milk will probably SOAR! :) I had a similar problem after being sick for a few days - I felt like I was drying up and I did that and was totally back to normal! :) But yes, you'll also probably be producing less b/c she is starting to wean onto solids. :) Good luck!!!