Thursday, November 6, 2014

One Pump, Two Pump, I Pump, You Pump

Hello out there to all my Mamas! I wanted to have a talk with you all about something near and dear to my heart. Literally! At least once a day, a plastic appliance is attached to my breasts, and I spend about 20 minutes getting intimate with these things. I'm talking about breast pumps, in all of their annoying glory.

I wanted to go a little more in-depth about breast pumps in this post because I got to talk about them a lot today! It gave me some time to reflect, and admit that pumping has grown on me. In fact, there are days when I'm glad to hook up to that machine, sit down, and let the pump do all the work! It's easier than a wriggling 9 month old, that's for sure. Pumps are also life savers when a newborn has nipple confusion, or nipple aversion! We dealt with the latter; once we came home, Isabel WOULD NOT latch. She cried and pushed away from me any time I tried.

First of all, I want to reiterate what I've said. Pump breaks at work are mandatory; the Department of Labor has a nice little page setup for this. FAQs about the Federal Law. Don't ever feel intimidated! You have to stick to your guns, Mamas. Hard, full boobs make it hard to concentrate at work, too. If anyone starts to complain, show them a milk-soaked shirt because you waited too long, and see what they say. (That usually works)

Second of all, I want to talk about types of pumps. The type can make the difference between frustration and elation!
Once the milk came in, we were overflowing!

That pump in the above picture is an AVENT manual pump. It's pretty nice, considering it has the attachment screw right onto the bottle. No transferring, no baggies! However, I had never pumped before, so I was struggling with getting any milk for a good week. This was one of the happiest days I had after giving birth to Baby Girl. But why was it so hard? !

A lot has to do with the fit. When my milk came in, I was engorged, as so many Mamas are. Unknowingly, I was pumping with a flange that didn't fit! I was left with only an ounce of milk after trying to pump for an hour, sore nipples, and aching breasts. I was bawling on skype with a good friend of mine who had a young daughter, 9 months old, at the time. She was my go-to for pumping because she started it once she went back, and was still going. She ordered a single electric pump from First Years. The silicone flange gave me some much needed comfort while pumping, and the electronic suction seemed more effective at drawing out that stubborn milk. Of course, a few days later, Baby Girl decided she LOVES boobies, and latched perfectly.
My Salvation!!
 I had to go back to work after six weeks, sadly, but I had already made my manager aware that I was going to pump because I was breastfeeding. We would make arrangements as needed, but I would need at least 20 minute breaks every four hours to pump. The electric pump made this transition easier, but I needed to empty both breasts during this break, so I pulled out the good ol' manual, and suffered through. It wasn't until I got a rash on my areola that I realized something was seriously wrong. 

After two visits with a lactation consultant, we found out that my nipples were WAY too big for the flange I was determined to use. So, to prevent any further damage to my poor, poor nipples, she suggested we go to the Health Department that afternoon, and get a rent-for-free Medela pump. I found a flange that worked for me.
This monster was HUGE! It was a double electric, which meant I could empty both easily. I bought a handmade pump holder, which the Breastfeeding Coalition made for the Health Department, for $5, and the pump was free! I lugged that thing to work for months. The only downside is the care and cleanup part of my pump break made the 15-20 minutes turn into 30-35 minutes. 

After steadily breastfeeding and pumping at work, my breasts, while still huge, became softer. Because of this, I believe, my manual pump finally fit me. I started taking the manual and miPump with me to work, and stuck to 20-25 minute breaks, which gave me plenty of time to clean up and pump enough for a decent bottle. 
I did the research for you, now all you have to do is click a link below for more information. And remember, Mamas: WE CAN DO IT!
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