I’ve went back and forth with this post. To do or not to do? And then I remembered the whole point for this one- to reach out to those in need. I want to be a voice for those who are struggling with issues that they may not know that others have been through and seen the other side.
Before Emma was born, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. It was such an exciting time of preparation and I couldn’t wait to share this bonding moment with her. A few minutes after her birth, Emma nursed for the first time. And it was everything I dreamed it would be. I even had an amazing consultant help me along the way. We went home from the hospital embracing this new life and gift God had given us.
A few days later, I started noticing some pain and discomfort. I attributed it to the normal “wear and tear” of being a new nursing mom. When the pain increased and didn’t subside, I knew I had a problem. I went to a consultants and doctors like it was going out of style. I was so frustrated with the situation and not knowing what was going on. I tried every suggestion and nothing worked. I was at my wits end. I had a desire to nurse my baby girl and slowly that dream was disappearing. With all the strength I had left, I managed to go to one last consultant. I traveled down to the YMCA of Bristol for a La Leche Meeting to speak with a consultant who I was told had dealt with a similar issue. When I got there, she watched Emma nurse and explained to me what others could not. Emma had a posterior tongue tie. This was Greek to me. When we were in the hospital, Emma had her tongue clipped and I thought that was the end of it. Not true. We went to see a good friend who is an orthodontist and he recommended us to an amazing Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist, Dr. Gurley. After only a few seconds, he determined her tongue tie was the issue and it needed to be cut again. Ouch. For Emma. For mommy and daddy. Let me tell you, watching your baby girl have her tongue cut is heart breaking, however, Dr. Gurley made it so quick and had us have her bottle ready to make the pain subside. After a few minutes, she was back to normal like nothing had ever happened. This happened when Emma was over 2 months old. We went home ready to nurse again and unfortunately, we learned it would take more than a day to heal and repair itself. So what was this mommy to do?
Here’s where I get to the advice that I started this post for- YOU can nurse without nursing. What? You heard me. YOU can nurse without nursing. And I’m here to testify that I’ve done it for 10 months now. Has it be easy? No. Has it been worth it? YES. Let me give you some tips, despite your reason, on how to nurse without nursing:
#1- Gather the troops. You will need friends and family to support you in this battle, including your spouse. There will be days you want to give up. You might even give up. And you need friends that SUPPORT you no matter what the decision is that you make.
#2- Rent a professional grade pump. This is truly what helped me get going, so to say. There is nothing like a baby when you nurse, but this is the next to best thing and will get your producing more milk than any other route. It will cost about $60-$80 to get started and only $40 a month after that. If you need a place to rent, let me know.
#3- Buy a GOOD pump. I bought a Medela Single Pump when I thought I was going to pump on occasion. I learned real quick this was NOT the best route to go for me. I ended up buying the Medela Pump & Style Advanced. It cut down the time I pumped by half and also was just better quality for someone exclusively pumping.
#4- Learn how to take care of your milk and how to store it. Do you need to produce more milk? There are several different methods for doing this. I did several sessions of power pumping (once every hour). There are natural items you can use, too. I DO NOT recommend Reglan. It may work for some people, but this prescription is not mainly intended for this (it’s regular use is for stomach issues, heartburn, etc) and has several side effects, including depression, nausea, drowsiness, etc. I had an extreme effect of drowsiness where I couldn’t function. It’s the most scared I’ve ever been. As far as storage, keep track of how long milk keeps. For example, in the fridge you don’t want to go over 7 days, in the freezer, you don’t want to go over 6 months, and in a deep freezer you can go up to a year. Also, get recommendations for storage bottles and bags. I have found that I really like this brand of storage bags for the freezer. It pours out best and doesn’t cause a mess. Also, when thawing out milk be sure to put it in a bowl if you’re going to let it thaw in the fridge. That way if it busts, you won’t lose it.
#5- Prepare and be ok with the strange looks and those who just don’t understand. Let me tell you, this doesn’t make sense to many people. And you will wear yourself out trying to explain it. I get asked at every doctor’s appointment for Emma, “Is she breast or bottle fed?” and at this point it’s just easier to say, “breast” rather than go through the “yes, no, yes, no” explanation. What matters is YOU have made this decision and that’s the only opinion that counts.
I read an article the other saying that most mom’s don’t make it to their goal when it comes to breastfeeding.This broke my heart. My goal is a year and I’m two months away and praying fervently that God continues to give me the supply I need to make this happen and would appreciate your prayers, too. I pray this has encouraging others and reminded you where there’s a will, there’s a way. What I love about God is that he DOES give us our heart’s desire, sometimes we just have to be willing to see it in a different way than we had planned.
What is your advice on exclusively pumping?