She is super easy-going, a decent sleeper, and remarkably tolerant of her older brother and sister being in her face some of the time. I also got lucky this time as nursing has been working out really well. The first few days were a bit painful, as it was a struggle to get her to open her mouth as wide as I needed to her to in order to avoid a shallow latch. But after that, it was pretty smooth – and now I’m back at work and am becoming very well reacquainted with my pump.
(I also pump at home in the mornings before work, and my four year old is obsessed with it. How it works, how much I pump, when am I going to feed her the milk I pump, can he wash the bottles, etc. I think it is sort of cute how obsessed he is with pumping since he was the baby I exclusively pumped for!)
Milk supply has been okay. Like a lot of mothers, I don’t have any problems with my supply when I’m with her and nursing, but I am struggling a bit with pumping enough. My baby eats 20 oz of milk each day at daycare, and it’s hard to keep up with that. I’m taking my own advice and am currently trying oatmeal (it does seem to help; I might do another experiment), and I’m going to give fenugreek another shot next week.
Also, I finally got myself some Pumpin’ Pals, and I am a huge fan so far.
Pumpin’ Pals are breast shields with a slightly different design, which you can see below (the Pumpin’ Pal is on the left and the Medela flange is on the right):
I did a few pumping sessions with one breast in a Pumpin’ Pal flange and the other in a Medela flange, just to see how they compared. Overall, I found the Pumpin’ Pal breast shield to be more comfortable in a few ways:
- The nipple is gradually eased in to the Pumpin’ Pal thanks to the wider, rounder design, whereas it’s a bit more “stuffed” into the Medela flange. (I thought about posting a picture of my nipples to show you what I’m talking about, but then I thought better of it. You’re welcome.)
- Pumpin’ Pals have an angled design, making it possible for you to lean back in a chair while you pump. (I tried leaning back with the Medela flanges too, and while it could theoretically work it’s a lot more likely you’ll spill than with Pumpin’ Pals.) All you need to do is lean forward again before disconnecting yourself.
- Because the flanges encompass more of your breast, it’s much easier to hold onto them (if you’re not using a hands-free bra). Also, when you hold onto them, the rounder bottom means that the edges don’t dig into your hands.
About the only negative that I had with the Pumpin’ Pals is the price – they are $35 for three sets (one of each of the three sizes). I have conflicting thoughts on this – I had to buy four different sizes of Medela flanges to figure out what was the right size, so it was nice to have them all to try at once (and this cost less than the four separate Medela purchases). However, now that I know what Pumpin’ Pal size I need, I’d like to be able to just buy a few extra sets in just that one size, but they only sell all three together. (Although, looking at the website, they say that most moms can use two of the three sizes, so I’ll have to try that.)
However, if you’re an exclusive pumper, you’re going to be spending enough of your time with breast shields on your breasts that it probably makes sense as an investment, particularly if you have nipple pain related to pumping. They also have a 100% money back guarantee if it doesn’t work out, so that’s nice.
The other thing that has been a little weird for me is that you can’t really massage while pumping with these flanges, because they cover so much more of your breast. The website says that that is a feature, not a bug – you shouldn’t need to massage because the flange is doing that work for you. I haven’t been able to get used to that, though!
(EDIT 3/18/17: More information! One exclusive pumper emailed me to let me know that she called the company for a refund when Pumpin Pals weren’t producing as much milk as her old flanges did. She talked to the owner, and said:
When I told him the shields weren’t working, he explained that since I had been pumping for two months w my other shields, I was probably too accustomed to my old shields and needed my old shields as a stimulus. He said when we breast feed our babies, everything has to be just right for our bodies to release hormones for the letdown. It was very interesting and insightful speaking w him. And I think he’s totally right cause I rented a hospital pump with not a lot of luck, and I ordered new shields that fit just a tad better and those aren’t working out for me either. It’s like my body is set in it’s ways at this point. Just thought I’d share. The guy was incredibly helpful and super nice.
It sounds like they have great customer service!)