Pumping Questions I Had as a First Time Mom
While I didn’t have any preconceptions about breastfeeding and how I’d feel about it, I figured if I got it all to work, or even if I didn’t, I could try pumping. I thought pumping would be a breeze and would be pain-free and simple. I had so many pumping questions.
Boy, was I wrong about pumping being easy-peezy.
For me, pumping was painful at first, even worse than breastfeeding. Maybe I was just lucky in terms of breastfeeding and unlucky with pumping… I came up with a list of seven questions about pumping that I had as a first-time mom.
How does pumping work?
Nobody prepares you for knowing how your pump works. Figuring out how to turn it on is easy… maneuvering the strength of the suction is east. Measuring to make sure you have the correct flange size? That’s the hard part. The pump I got (Medela Pump in Style with MaxFlow) came with 24 mm flanges. I tried to use them for three days and felt like I was getting sharp paper cuts on my nipples while pumping. That’s when I knew something was wrong.
How do you make it less painful?
I started by googling why pumping hurt my nipples… That search led me to find out I had the wrong size flange. Then, I started searching for how to find the right size of flange… To my surprise, I was shocked to find out that big breast size does not equal big nipple size. My flange size was way too big, and I had to order smaller flanges. I had the most success measuring after pumping, as my nipple was enlarged and as it would be inside the flange. I ended up needing a 21mm.
That helped with the discomfort but didn’t take it away completely. I bought a Bamboobies lubricant but ended up using my Earth Mama Nipple Butter for the best results. I also was originally using the Medela bustier as a pumping bra but preferred the Momcozy pumping bras I ordered much more.
Is pumping still breastfeeding?
The worst part to me isn’t the discomfort. While I’m pumping and connected to the wall, I can’t be holding Sasha. While I pump, she either hangs out with my parents or in her crib and I feel hopeless since I can’t help her if she cries. This was the cause for so much guilt for me during my mastitis. I wanted to spend time with her but was basically stuck in her room. I knew I had to do it though, because I wasn’t ready for my breastfeeding journey to end, and it’s important to me to pump before she goes to bed.
Why pump before bed?
I pump before Sasha gets her last bottle of the day. The milk from this pump is then fed to her via bottle. This way I know she gets at least 4-5 ounces. I then give her the breast (not a habit I’m proud of) to get her to tire out and fall asleep.
How is pumping different for single moms?
As a single mom, it’s hard to justify the time spent away from my child. There’s no second parent who would benefit from getting to bond with her while I’m pumping. However, due to my situation, this is time she gets to spend with her grandparents. Not every kid grows up with their grandparents so involved in their lives, so I am so grateful they are able to help so much.
What does exclusively pumping mean?
Exclusively pumping moms replace whenever they would feed the baby with a pumping session. The baby is then fed breastmilk from a bottle. Some moms start this in the hospital, while others transition to it later in their breastfeeding journey.
How do I know if I should exclusively pump?
I don’t have the answer to this question… This is the question I’ve been thinking about for over three weeks. I don’t know how to decide whether to exclusively pump, continue with what I’m doing now, or quit breastfeeding all together… not now, but in the future.
I’ve been thinking about possibly exclusively pumping, but if I choose to I’d definitely consider the hands-free pump options that fit inside your bra, like the Willow and Elvie. They seem like a great alternative to being attached to the wall, and getting to spend time with my baby while still providing her with breastmilk.
I keep having this thought that I will regret switching from breast to bottle, that I’ll miss that time and bonding experience with my baby. I don’t know what the answer is or how I will decide that it’s time to switch up what I’m doing, but I’ll be sure to share the journey with you.