I am an Exclusive Pumper, HEAR ME PUMP!

pumping

When people ask do I Breast feed, the answer is: it’s complicated. But then again, because of modern technology and my work schedule it doesn’t have to be.

When I first started my breastfeeding journey with my son I didn’t even know exclusive pumping was a thing. Whenever people asked me if I was going to breastfeed, I would always say that was the plan, making it clear I knew there were no guarantees. I had heard my share of breastfeeding gone awry stories to know nothing was set in stone. That said, my mom breastfed me and my three sisters with no trouble at all and no one showing her how, she tells me. So I figured for me it was a safe bet.

And that’s how it started. I was able to try feeding my little Jonesy moments after he arrived in this world. He did great. The nurses commented that they were hearing all the right noises. I saw milk in the corners of his little mouth. I was pleased. Things continued to go well until about a month out. Then it started to become a big challenge for both of us. He would latch on and go to town, but then he’d come off screaming, milk would be spraying everywhere. I’d try burping him, but he just wanted to get back on. I could hear the chugging, gurgling and gasping. I realized this wasn’t normal. After some serious google searching, I came to the conclusion that I had an oversupply issue coupled with a forceful let down.

Now most people think oversupply is awesome and totally beats undersupply any day. While it’s true for me that I’m glad it wasn’t under supply, it didn’t come without numerous hurdles ultimately leading me to full time pumping and no actual feeding from the breast. When I started realizing what was going on after feedings started becoming a pain in the butt for both of us, I told myself that soon he would develop the muscles and drinking skills to handle my supply and let down. I continued to breastfeed through the tears and the soaked clothing for both of us. I’d have to go off into a private room everywhere we went because there was no way I was gonna get it done under a simple cover. The good thing was that he was gaining weight no problem. Maybe a little too well. I tossed that around in my head a bunch too. Is he eating too much? Gaining weight too fast?

After a solid month of trying I realized there must be a better way. I wanted so badly for my son to have my amazing (at least that’s what everyone and their grandmother thinks) milk. Also my milk was free, another huge perk I didn’t want to part with. I was at a summer BBQ and overhead a friend say casually that she didn’t technically breastfeed she just pumped. She said it so casually I assumed I should already know about it and just went to my good friend google to inquire further.

Basically, I learned that just pumping and feeding only with a bottle is something many women have chosen to do. So many in fact that it has a name and many blogs and websites on the topic. This discovery was a welcome relief. I had been looking in to how to cope with oversupply and a forceful let down for so long with no real solutions. I’m surprised I hadn’t heard about in those forums. It makes perfect sense to me. Now some sites went out about how difficult and time consuming EPing can be.

I imagine that’s the case if you have a normal or low milk supply or perhaps a crummy pump, but in my case it’s perfect. I got a great medela dual pump through my health insurance for free! Since becoming an EPer I’ve purchased a second set of parts for about 30$ through amazon. So it has been cost effective to say the least. It has solved all our troubles. No more messy feedings with milk spraying everywhere, way less gas since he’s not gulping anymore and anyone can feed him anytime. Now don’t get me wrong, this was not an easy decision to make. I struggled with the idea that I was ‘giving up’ on the direct breastfeeding. I didn’t want to lose that special bonding time we had when it was just me and him and I was providing him nutrients naturally. I felt like I was in ultimate mom mode when I was breast feeding. My husband and I finally agreed, however that it was in his best interest that we try something else. I was thrilled that I didn’t have to go to formula, not to knock it, because I know it works for lots of people (my husband was formula fed!).

This was a perfect solution with my oversupply. I only pump every 4 to 5 hours during the day. If I was regular breast feeding, I would be feeding him at those times anyway. It usually takes me about 30 minutes with my strong let down so it doesn’t take up too much of my time. As a substitute teacher I always get a lunch and another 40 minute block of free time. This is just what I need to pump. Washing bottles and my pump tools is kind of a pain but worth it. I’ve discovered tricks from other EPers like storing the pump pieces in the fridge in between uses and just doing a solid washing once in the evening. It even comes with a little humor. Whenever I sit around pumping with my cover at social events (something I couldn’t do regular breast feeding), people always comment on what they think they hear the pump ‘saying’.┬áSo it was never what I pictured when I imagined breast feeding my son, but in the end we’re all happy and healthy! Go exclusive pumping!

If you’re thinking about EPing or want to learn more, here are some very helpful sites:

http://pumpingrules.blogspot.com/

http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/tips-and-solutions/15/exclusive-pumping

http://www.mother-2-mother.com/ExclusivePumping.htm

http://www.babble.com/baby/9-ways-to-make-exclusive-pumping-doable/

http://www.breastfeeding-problems.com/pumping-exclusively.html

About Oversupply:

https://www.llli.org/faq/oversupply.html

http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-worries/fast-letdown/

http://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/articles/oversupply-too-much-breast-milk

Baby Registry Dos and Don’ts

baby-registry

Now that I’m fairly well adapted to this whole parent thing, I often find myself reflecting on what baby and mommy things I use, don’t use, like, love and hate. I remember reading a few posts about registry smarts but it was easy to get carried away with the fun of decorating, furnishing and preparing for baby on someone elses dime. So I put together my own (hindsight is 20/20) lists for new mums and dads.

 

Don’ts:

A fancy diaper pail – They need fancy liners which aren’t nearly as cheap as regular garbage bags. I wish I’d gone with a simple small trash can with a lid you open with a foot peddle. Easier, cheaper and can be used somewhere else in the future.

A changing table – What I’m talking about are those simple ones with basic shelves underneath. At the end of the day all it will ever be is for changing and nothing more. They even have a weight limit that might be reached before baby is out of diapers. Instead a nice dresser would be way more practical. Most changing pads have a strap you can nail to the back of the dresser for more security. The dresser can be used much longer and looks nice.

A travel bassinet – This was a simple bag that opens up into a small sleeping space not much bigger than baby. We put this on our registry because we had delusions of camping with our 2 month old. Needless to say we didn’t end up making the journey. We also thought we’d use it for a week long road trip with our three week old. That we did do! We ended up using the pack and play. It had everything we needed with the changer and bassinet features.

Clothing/Hats/Booties/etc. – This is where the fun comes in. People (ladies) looove shopping for all that stuff. Typically you’ll get plenty of that stuff so that you won’t NEED to step foot in the clothing department for awhile. My little guy is almost four months and it was just the other day I needed to get something, socks. Of course this means I haven’t gone shopping for anything cutesy and fun, but it sure has saved us some money.

Blankets – Oh my goodness did we get blankets. Not only did I register for a pack of receiving blankets, we got a ton of handmade ones. Those are neat but start to lose their uniqueness after the 5th one or so. I actually have this very nice mint green one and I can’t even remember who gave it to us. I’ll have to go find the list of gifts from the shower when I have time…haha “when I have time”.

High Chair – This is a classic registry item, I know. But it seems like there were several other things I wish I had early on. I still haven’t used mine yet but we’ve gone out to get a baby gym, crib, bedding, teether rings, bottle brush, etc. before we’ve even thought about the chair. Some of these goodies might have been purchased instead if the high chair wasn’t on the list.

Breast Pump – If there is only one don’t on this list that you follow, this is it. I didn’t find out until after my shower that you can actually get a very nice pump for free through your insurance! I ended up getting the medela pump in style advanced dual pump. My insurance covered the whole thing, go Obamacare! I had three to choose from and they were all nice and comparable to each other. As an EPer I use my pump alot and it hasn’t let me down yet!

Dos:

Bathtub: I got a lawn chair style seat that you fit across your sink for bathing baby. We recently had to go out and get a basin style bathtub as our little guy has outgrown the chair and we’d prefer to move bathing to the upstairs bath anyway. I wish we’d gotten this basin style bath we picked out first. It can sit on the sink, it came with a sling for newborns, has a reclining position for when they just can’t sit up yet and then a straight back on the other side for later. You don’t need more than one bath item before they’re ready to sit in the regular tube. We got ours from target. Cheap and practical. Love it!

Baby Carrier – This is something you might have to try out to see if it works for you or what type is best. I registered for a Moby wrap because my good friend just loves hers and she looked so cool wearing her wee one. Well maybe I didn’t try hard enough but I had the darndest time getting my guy into the thing. Plus it was summer and too hot for such an ‘outfit’. Since I didn’t buy it I was more than happy to pass it along to another friend who wants to give it a try. We tried out two soft carriers before settling on the Ergo. It’s pricey but worth it for the durability and distribution of weight (our babe is hefty).

Nursing Tops and Nightgowns (if bf or ep) – Mama needs love too. When I got home from the hospital I realized I hadn’t given a thought to nursing gear. Then boom, I needed my milk makers but they were trapped! Fortunately friends and family stepped in to grab me some stylish essentials since I was in no position to shop. By the way, I ended up being an exclusive pumper or EPer but more about that another time!

Swing – This really didn’t start to work it’s magic until the second month but I think putting him in it from time to time helped him get used to the idea. The swing has allowed: us to eat dinner together occasionally, me to pump, and him a spot to nap when it seemed like he’d never sleep anywhere but our tired arms.

Room Decor – Again people like to get the fun, cutesy stuff. I had fun picking out adorable picture frames, signs, a nightlight, etc. They have yet to go up on the wall, BUT that just goes to show how likely I would be to even purchase such frivolity post baby. And it’ll be a nice little project someday.

Stroller – Our stroller was pretty integral to maintaining our sanity early on. Our baby just loved riding around in it and it was the go to thing when nothing else worked. We actually got a nice jogging system that came with the car seat.

And the Car Seat – You’ll need this the day you come home from the hospital in most cases. Having it ahead of time allowed us to practice and make sure we had it in right. That’s right, we pretended a stuffed animal was our baby and took turns fastening him in.

Well there you have it. Golden nuggets of registry wisdom from the oh so experienced first time mom of an ALMOST four month old. May it save you time, money and your sanity.

Finally found a second to blog

MyMomIsBloggingThisHey there! Gosh, it has been sometime since I’ve been bloggin’. Needless to say, my almost 4 month old has been keeping me quite busy! I’m currently ‘typing’ away on my phone while he naps in the swing. Maybe I have 30 seconds or half an hour to blog. Only Carter knows for sure!

It has been an awesome, challenging, educational and inspiring first few months of parent hood. I feel like my husband and I were flying by the seat of our pants in the beginning and we’ve all finally settled into a manageable routine. And it is oh so nice.

For soon to be parents, one big thing I learned is not to sweat the small stuff. In the beginning we tried to have everything just right and by the book. How quickly the book got tossed out and we just went with our gut. It’s much easier and waaay less stressful. Trust yourself, your own common sense and try not to be so attatched to google (another big stresser).

aaand times up!