Today we have another exclusive pumping story! (You can read other exclusive pumping stories here.) Brooke is exclusively pumped for her son after he was born a few months early.
I have been exclusively pumping for 8 months. My son was born 2 months early and was in the hospital for a month where he was getting most of his food by tube. I immediately started pumping after he was born, and I gave the hospital staff my milk and they gave it to him. He was only getting a few milliliters at first; I think by the time he got home he was only eating about 30 ml 8 times per day. He was 3 lbs when born and is now over 13 lbs so I think it’s working pretty well.
My son got used to eating from the bottle at the hospital and his mouth was too small to latch properly, plus he just screamed bloody murder with my nipple in his mouth. That is how I made the decision to exclusively pump. Plus it was more convenient for my husband to feed him in the night this way and I liked being able to pump more on my terms. I was not one of the people that feels they are missing out if they don’t breastfeed, but I did want him to have my milk.
I used a Medela Pump in Style Advanced that I got from my husband’s cousin. It was hard at first and pumping really hurt my nipples so much that even water in the shower touching them caused pain.
Because he was too small to eat a lot, I had a surplus for a long time. I built up stores in the freezer that he started to go through once he was getting bigger. It is now 8 months in, and I have taken 4 courses of Reglan to help me produce more for a while (more info here). I tried Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle and oatmeal and they didn’t help, which is why I turned to Reglan. Reglan made me sleepy and out of it but I knew I was doing it for my son. Without medication, my supply has been going down so that I really only produce maybe 20 oz a day.
He is eating real food now too, but my freezer supply is almost gone so he will have to get some formula soon.
But I am proud I lasted this long. It was/is a pain of a lot of washing pump parts and bottles, plus I went back to work after about 6 weeks so I was bringing pumping supplies to work for many months. I had a lot of help from my husband. I have to say I will be glad when I can wean off the pump but there are a few months left still to go! My goal was a year.
You can do it and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Not everyone wants medication but the Reglan did work for me. I felt like I would be failing him if I wasn’t able to give him only breast milk, but recently I have accepted that some formula is not a big deal!
Thanks to Brooke for sharing her story – and awesome work on making it this far!