Friday, August 19, 2011

Pumping while Breastfeeding

I knew from the day I found out I was pregnant that I wanted to breast feed. Since I was only getting 8 weeks of maternity leave, pumping was going to be something I would have to do. I was not sure how long I was going to be able to do it but I was bound and determined to do it. So I was very fortunate to buy my aunts breast pump for super cheap. I decided that I was going to be one of those weirdo’s and bring my pump with me to the breast feeding classes at the hospital. I had no clue how to use it. I had them help me set it up and explain all the parts and how to use it. I was so happy I did that. It made me feel a little more comfortable with pumping. 

So June 21st 2010 came and my son Kellby was born. He latched right away and I thought we were going to have the best nursing relationship. That was not what happened. Towards the end of our hospital stay, he decided he did not want to latch. Nursing him had turned into a huge battle. The lactation specialist came in to help with our non-latching problem and to show me how to pump. She had me pump for about 10 minutes to see if my milk supply had come in and how much I was getting. She said I had a great supply and from the looks of it, a big one too. 

The next day, we left the hospital. Kellby would not take the breast no matter what I did. I knew that I could not give up so quickly and had to think fast on what to do. I decided that I was going to pump and bottle feed him. For about 2 weeks we did this. Every time it was feeding time, I would offer the breast but he would just cry. I felt so helpless. Thanks to pumping and my fast thinking we survived this bump. He finally figured out that if I just take the breast I do not have to wait to eat. It was smooth sailing after that. Someone told me to pump after each feeding to help build up the supply. So, I thought I would give it a try and it seemed to help. I think the pumping after feedings really helped build the supply I have today. I would not get much more than an ounce on each side but I was satisfied with that. I did that until I had to go back to work. I had made a pretty decent stock pile of frozen breast milk in that time. So something had to have worked.

My 8 weeks of maternity leave flew by. It was time to go back to work and I was a little afraid of how pumping and working full time was going to work. I was so lucky to have such amazing and supportive co-workers that any time I needed to pump they would let me. I kept myself on a timed schedule…when Kellby ate, I pumped. It equaled to be every 3 to 4 hours. I would pump for about 10 to 15 minutes. I am not going to lie; sometimes it was hard to get in more than one pump in at work. And my breasts would let me know. I leaked through so many shirts it is unreal. I kept on that schedule until he was about 6 months old. As he got older, I just pumped on my breaks. I found that I could go a little longer and I would not lose my supply. I tried to set a goal of milk bags home, as silly as that sounds. I wanted to replace whatever Kellby had eaten during my time away from him. Most of the time it worked out that way but some days it did not.

Now Kellby is 14 months old and still breast feeding. It does not seem to be stopping any time soon either. I still pump while at work on my breaks and it has worked great. I think if you have a company/work place that is supportive of pumping that is awesome. If you do not, I would say just try your best to pump when ever you can. I thought if I had to, the bathroom would work or in a corner somewhere. I am so thankful for the bond that my son and I have through breast feeding/pumping. I would not change it for the world.

By Katy Petit

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