Hey Lil Helper Family! If you’ve been here before, you know we are all about making this crazy parenting journey easier, sharing stories, and building community. Today one of our Ambassadors, Amie, is here to share her experience with exclusively pumping for her little one who was born at 34 weeks. Sharing stories helps us break down the stigma and realize we are not alone. Read on for Amie’s story.
Blood. Sweat. Tears, lots of tears. Feeding a baby is hard no matter which way you choose or have to do it.
My story is about exclusively pumping. My son was born at 34 weeks after a complicated pregnancy. So I started my pumping journey scared and intimidated.
Physical and Emotional Pains with Exclusively Pumping
Immediately postpartum, my emotions were high. I was unable to get comfortable no matter how I sat, because of a tear during labor. Pain was inevitable, add a mask into the mix and it felt like my world came crashing down. I was trying to learn to breastfeed, looking down trying to get the right position. It felt like my view was skewed and I started getting a headache. My son was born on Easter weekend so there was no lactation consultant available. My boobs were so engorged they were larger than my postpartum belly & butt. I remember thinking that the pain was worse than labor.
Time to pump. There I am fumbling with the phalanges trying to get the right position on my engorged boobs so I can get some of that liquid gold. I was mad it was so hard. Looking at the output I just felt defeated. How is it that my body failed me and I gave birth too soon and now its failing me again and I can’t even provide food for my son? To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement.
So I broke exclusively pumping down into parts because I wanted to be able to master it for my son.
Have a Plan, Stick With It
I set alarms for every 3 hours even if it was my husbands turn to feed. Before every pump session I would have a glass of water. I was terrible at remembering to take care of myself when all I could think about was my teeny tiny baby in the warmer, with all of his tubes and wires. Once I got going though, it was as if the gates to Niagara falls opened. I couldn’t stop it. Milk went EVERYWHERE. I soaked the pillow and everything in a two foot radius it seemed. So here I am 3 am leaking all over trying to get the pump to stay on so I don’t waste a single drop.
From then on I pumped and pumped. It felt good to know I was able to contribute something to get my son to where he needs to be so he can come home. We had our own fridge/freezer in our room and each day I kept adding a little container or two to start building a stash. I felt like I was hoarding my milk not wanting to waste a drop. I got mad at my husband for pouring more in the bottle than what the nurse said. But the little man ate it all, so my husband filled the bottle up again for the next feed and he could only eat half. I started to ball. I don’t even think it was an ounce of milk that was wasted and I had over 50 oz stashed in the freezer, but I couldn’t help but cry.
What I learned from Exclusively Pumping
It’s okay to cry over spilt milk because pumping is HARD work. You’re up every 3 hours regardless if your baby is up yet or not. Your boobs get yanked not to mention the pain you feel if you have the wrong size of phalanges on. If I can say anything about pumping, its don’t be scared to ask for help! It so hard, but it’s so worth it to see your baby falling asleep in your arms with a full and happy belly.
About Our Guest Blogger
Amie is a FTM to a 10 month old son who was born prematurely due to a high risk pregnancy. She is a cardiology technologist, and DIY enthusiast. Amie fell in love with Lil Helper after ordering the trial diaper deal, and is now an ambassador for the company.
Lil Helper is so much more than cloth diapers, we pride ourselves on being a community of ultra supportive parents. Looking for more on feeding your little one? Check out this post on switching back and forth from nursing to exclusively pumping and even more stories of different breastfeeding journeys here. Do you relate to Amie’s story? What was your feeding journey like? Tell us about it in the comments!