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Exclusively pumping means you provide milk to your baby by way of pump or hand expression (OUCH) instead of your child eating straight from the breast, even if you supplement now and then with formula.
I’ve been exclusively pumping for 8 months and still going strong. Our first month of breast feeding was difficult, painful, and both physically and emotionally draining but I felt like we were making progress. But at my sons 1 month check up he had only gained 4 0z. Cue the water works. I was heart broken but I wanted what was best for my son so I supplemented. He slowly lost his latch (turns out he had a tongue and lip tie…more on that in a future post) and I began pumping more and more to keep providing him with the milk I was able to make and he was actually GAINING! Fast forward to 6 months when we added solid foods and we were able to drop the formula supplementing completely. Now I am able to provide 100% of the milk he drinks! AWESOME!
It has been the opposite of easy. There’s been moments where I’ve questioned my sanity and wanted to give up. But I persevered and I’m so happy that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It wasn’t easy finding information about pumping because majority of moms only pump to build a little bit of a stash, not to exclusively feed their baby bottled breast milk. I’ve learned so much along this journey and I really want to share it with anyone going through what I went through. Without further ado, here are my must haves to make things easier on you if you decide this is the route that’s best for you and your family.
1. Double or Single Electric Pump
For the first 6 months I used a manual which was time consuming and a pain in the butt! Save your sanity and start your journey off right with a good electric pump. You can buy them used (make sure you sanitize!) and if you buy new, they have amazing resale value! I use the *Medela Pump In Style Advanced.
2. Manual Pump
There will be times you want or need to leave the house for longer period of time and your breast will either start leaking, feel like they are going to explode, or both. Having a manual pump in your diaper bag or in the car for emergencies is great. I use the *Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump and it’s very comfortable and easy to clean!
3. Nursing Tops & Bras
Just because you aren’t breast feeding, doesn’t mean these aren’t extremely handy. I don’t leave the room to pump when my family is around because why should I? But I still don’t want to have to take my t-shirt off so I opt for button down tops, cardigans, and nursing tank tops.These *Milk Nursing Tops are great for discrete pumping sessions, (not that you can really be desecrate with an electric pump). A nursing bra to go with this is imperative. Easy access will make your life a whole lot easier.
4. Snappy Snacks
Snappy Snacks is a line of lactation snacks that can help you increase your supply naturally. There are many reasons for a dive in milk supply, especially when you’re pumping. You can read my full review on Snappy Snacks here.
5. Support From Family
This is huge. My husband would wash my pump parts and bring them to me in bed and he would feed baby while I pumped. Otherwise, you spend a half hour feeding the baby and a half hour pumping. By the time you get back to sleep, it’s time to get up and do it all over again! His support was critical to our success.
PRO TIP: I think one of the most important things is to remember you are feeding your young. Take care of your self. Drink plenty of water, eat lots of healthy foods, and get sleep while you can. Don’t start any new diets and don’t over do yourself! Please be gentle with yourself.
Where are you in your breastfeeding journey? Do you exclusively pump? Let me know what made your journey easier.
PS: I’ll be sharing this post on these lovely blogs