Exclusive pumping can be HARD. It’s challenging to manage your baby while you pump, middle of the night pumping sessions are exhausting, and your pump can feel like a ball and chain. Here are six pieces of exclusive pumping encouragement to remember when you’re having a rough day!
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Exclusive pumping is something to be proud of, not ashamed of
Exclusive pumping might not be what you would have chosen, but it’s not something to be ashamed of.
When my pumpling was a baby, I HATED the question “are you breastfeeding?”
I always felt compelled to go into a long explanation about how my baby wouldn’t latch well, so I was pumping all the time and feeding breast milk from a bottle and here are some details about my pumping schedule!
Then the random stranger at Starbucks would back away slowly.
I think the reason I did this was because I didn’t feel like I could just say yes. Maybe I felt like it would be overstating what I was doing? Or claiming to have succeeded at something that I thought I’d failed at?
At the time, I felt little bit of shame about exclusive pumping.
If you feel this way, too, you have NOTHING to be ashamed of.
Breastfeeding is not something that is completely within our control. You found a way to breastfeed your baby in spite of all of the obstacles. That’s something to be proud of.
Your baby loves you the same whether you pump 5 drops, 5oz, or 50oz
It’s easy to feel demoralized when you don’t pump as much as you’d like.
Try to remember that your baby thinks you are a superstar no matter how much milk you pump. (And he or she is correct!)
Just by being YOU, you are an awesome mom. How much milk you pump has nothing to to do with that. You’re enough.
Focus on the breastfeeding goals you did meet
It’s easy to get caught up in the things you didn’t accomplish, but try to focus on the things you DID.
Say you wanted to nurse your baby for six months but ended up exclusively pumping for six months.
You breastfed your baby for six months! That’s awesome, and you should be proud.
You are the expert on you and your baby
Sometimes it can be a challenge when other people imply (or outright tell you) that you’re feeding your baby wrong. Like if your mom tells you that pumping isn’t breastfeeding and you should just switch to formula. Or if your cousin informs you that you should really keep trying to nurse because it’s easier.
YOU are the expert what works best for you and your baby. You are the one pumping and bottle feeding your baby around the clock. You get to decide, and you don’t owe family or friends any justification.
Breast milk is important. But YOU are more important.
If you are losing your mind from waking up to pump (or whatever is making life really hard), it’s okay to cut back and supplement if necessary.
A happy, present mom is more important to your baby than a few extra ounces of breast milk.
This won’t last forever.
You won’t be exclusively pumping forever. Eventually you will wean, and eventually you will have a lot more time and freedom.
You can choose to stop at any time, and however long you pump, you are a wonderful mom to your baby.
Hopefully this exclusive pumping encouragement is helpful. Feel free to tell us your thoughts in the comments!