I started out my pregnancy just like everyone else…confused. Perfect strangers would come up to me and ask me 100 questions about how I would raise my child. These strangers made me feel like I HAD to Breastfeed, cloth diaper, baby wear and do everything else that “the perfect parent” would do. It was completely frustrating to me but I decided to try to research as much as physically possible to make the best decision I could.
My husband and I attended Breastfeeding classes and I became increasingly confident that I could do it! My husband is one of those people who read everything the experts say and thinks we have to do it EXACTLY by the book. This is something I find incredibly annoying and incredibly beneficial. Ha Ha. Let me follow that by saying, if my husband was not so adamant and supportive of my Breastfeeding I would have given up on day one.
Our daughter is the laziest baby ever. Even in the hospital, with the lactation consultants help, I struggled to get the proper latch and was in a lot of pain. We went home on a Friday and by Monday morning I was dreading feeding Myla because it hurt so bad and was so miserable. When those nosey strangers tell you that you HAVE to breastfeed they don’t tell you how incredibly hard it is. It’s like they forgot or something, I don’t know, but I’ll never forget.
One morning I was feeling Myla and pulled her away to find blood all over her mouth and face. Screaming for my husband, I was thinking I somehow killed our baby, until I realized that it wasn’t her that was bleeding… It was me. I was so raw that my nipples had actually begun to bleed. It was awful. That day just so happened to be Fathers Day. I decided that as a present to my husband (and myself) that I would pump and let him feed her for the first time. I fumbled with the pump and hoped I was doing it right. For the first time, I wasn’t dreading feeding my child. She drank the bottle so well that I decided to exclusively pump from then on out.
There are many reasons some moms choose to exclusively pump for their babies. I chose to do this because traditional breastfeeding was not working for us. I was miserable, and Myla was hungry. “If mommas not happy, no one is happy.” That is the best advice I ever got and I totally agree!! There is almost no information or support for exclusively pumping mommas out there so here’s how it works!
You pump just as much as you would feed your baby. At first, I pumped about an hour before she would be ready to eat. You pump, on a pressure that is comfortable until the milk stops flowing. It takes awhile at first but your body will get the hang of it. I would then pour the fresh milk in a bottle and let her chow down! She ate so much better this way, and actually started gaining weight like she was supposed to! YAY! I was blessed with “over production”, meaning I produced more milk than Myla needed so I had a wonderful stockpile in my freezer! Fresh milk only lasts a couple days in the fridge so every 3 days or so I would pour my fresh milk into the freezer safe bags with the date and lay flat in the freezer. What is great about a freezer stockpile is that when your little one starts eating cereal, you can thaw and use the milk in the cereal instead of water. Double the nutrients!
Once Myla got older and my body got used to the pumping I could go longer without pumping and not have to pump as long. I got down to as little as 3 times a day and only pump for 20 minutes or so. The downfall for all this for me was I could not go longer than a week without getting clogged ducts. If you know what these are you know how painful they are! I would spend almost an hour in the super hot shower trying to message them out so I could sleep at night. Then Myla and I got Thrush. Thrush is basically a yeast infection on your breasts and the baby’s mouth. Its terrible. So So terrible. At around 5 months I had decided that I had enough and it was becoming more of a pain. Hubby and I own our own business, so our schedules were crazy!! After attempting to pump in a moving car one too many times I knew that my lifestyle wasn’t cut out for this. Once again the thought popped into my head, “If mommas not happy, no one is happy!”
I started weaning myself off the pumping. I need to express how important it is to go as slow as possible because you can get so many infections and pain from doing it too quickly. It involved a lot of Advil and ice packs, and could never be described as fun!
Once I finally got dried up, Myla had maybe 2 weeks worth of milk left in the freezer that I continued to give her. Once I got down to about a week left I started mixing in the formula. We started out with Similiac Supplementation, which is meant for breastfed babies. This tastes the most like breast milk so it was an easy transition. At first she would drink 2 oz. of formula and 4 oz. of breast milk. Every couple of days I would up the formula and decrease the breast milk.
Myla was officially a formula baby. While part of me is mad at myself for not sticking it out, I am ultimately happy. I wish I loved breastfeeding as much as some moms do, but I hated every second of it. Formula actually improved Myla’s well being. She wasn’t going #2 any more than 2 times a month. The formula and the introduction to cereals helped her become more regular. The doctors were incredibly concerned with her bathroom habits and were on the verge of recommending some drastic measures. I could not be happier with my decision to give her formula.
This is Myla now. She just had her first birthday and could not be a happier (and more ornery) girl in the world! If you are feeling lost like I was for almost the whole first year of her life, just keep in mind you are not alone. Also, look at the picture above. Myla is healthy, happy and couldn’t be more perfect! Whatever you chose to do for you and your little one is the right choice. Either way, your baby will be happier if you are happy. You don’t have to torture yourself to make your children happy. They are going to be happy if you are!
If you would like to see what my ESSENTIALS for Exclusively Pumping are, you can check out this post from my personal blog, Myla Moo Review!
It has been wonderful sharing my story with the Fluff Bum crowd! Thank you so much Amanda for inviting me to do this entry! -Jess