Below is Shani’s story about exclusively pumping after her baby was in the NICU. You can read more exclusive pumping stories here. Thank you Shani!
Why did you decide to exclusively pump?
After my emergency c-section, my daughter spent a week in the NICU. She was not allowed to feed orally until the day I was discharged from the hospital, so I began pumping the day she was born.
The hospital used my milk to bottle feed when I wasn’t there for middle of the night feeds. This introduced a bottle so much earlier than I had planned! My daughter would nurse, but it was a struggle. She strongly preferred the bottle, but it was important to me that she have breast milk.
How did you make exclusively pumping work for you?
I set up the pump on the couch so that I could pump and watch TV while she slept, in the early days. I also pumped in bed after middle of the night feedings.
I bought a car adapter so I didn’t feel like I could never be out of my house for more than a few hours at a time. Even though I haven’t used it often, the option made me feel less tied to a wall outlet.
What was your biggest challenge exclusively pumping?
The time involved has been my biggest challenge. When you exclusively pump you are both breastfeeding and bottle feeding and it’s a lot of time! I would heat up a bottle, feed the baby, pump, then clean everything. It felt like it took twice as long as nursing.
How long did you exclusively pump?
I have been exclusively pumping for nine months. My goal is now a year. A year seemed daunting at first so I broke it down into smaller goals. Initially I told myself I could feel accomplished if I made it 6 months.
What advice would you give a new exclusive pumper?
I would pass on the breastfeeding advice I received when I was pregnant: don’t quit on a bad day. If it’s not working for you, then stop, but don’t make that decision because of one bad day.