Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why I Choose to Exclusively Pump

Sometimes I feel guilty for quitting breastfeeding.  Really guilty.  After all, a woman's body was designed to breastfeed her child.  I wasn't having any problems latching.  I had no thrush, mastitis, or pains of any kind.  All three babies were gaining adequately.  So why did I decide to completely stop the intimate bond of nursing and instead commit myself to a machine?

When I was breastfeeding,
  • it was taking well over an hour to feed all three babies, even with tandem feeding.
  • the babies were eating at least every two hours.
  • the babies always fell asleep at the breast and woke up hungry.
  • the babies would often choke on my forceful letdown.
  • I could never get the babies on any kind of schedule.
  • I questioned if they were getting enough milk, and often supplemented with one bottle of formula a day.
  • I was solely responsible for the majority of the feedings. 
  • I still had to pump multiple times a day to maintain supply and get a few ounces of milk for Jesse to help with nighttime feeds.
  • I never mastered tandem nursing in public using a cover.
Now that I am exclusively pumping,
  • I know exactly how much milk each baby consumes and never wonder if it's enough.
  • family, friends, and church nursery workers can bottle feed the babies. 
  • feeding in public is easier.
  • because the babies stay awake and eat 'til they are full, they are satisfied longer.
  • we have been able to space out feedings to every three hours during the day and only twice at night.
  • all three babies receive 100% breastmilk (no formula whatsoever). 
  • I am attached to my Medela Pump in style for 20-30 minutes every 3 hours during the day and twice at night.  I have learned how to pump while feeding a baby, loading/unloading the dishwasher, folding clothes, etc.  At night I pump while checking Facebook and blogging.
  • I can feed all three at the same time during the day by bottle propping one or more babies.
  • feedings take 30 minutes or less.    
If I choose to bottle prop I am always right beside them the entire time.

Of course I hate pumping.  My back hurts, even though I use a hands-free bra.  I get tired of cleaning parts.  There hasn't been a single night at 2 a.m. where I haven't wanted to just give the babies a bottle of formula for the next feed rather than pump.  I feel silly toting a pump around if I know I'm going to be away from the house for more than four hours.  Still, I feel very blessed to still be able to offer each child exclusive breastmilk.  Pumping is the best option for our family and I don't intend on stopping as long as I have the supply.

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