If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you probably didn’t see my short post about finishing my pumping journey. Although this post won’t be relatable to many, I thought it was important to document my thoughts and feelings.
I exclusively pumped for 1 year and 4 months. My journey ended last month & I couldn’t be more relieved and thrilled. If you don’t know what exclusively pumping is… I used a breast pump to get my milk, and would bottle feed Eloise. She never nursed directly from my breasts. Why? Because it just didn’t work out that way.
A little background: when I was pregnant, I never gave breastfeeding much thought… other than knowing I would breastfeed Eloise. I had NO idea how hard breastfeeding was, ha. I had NO idea what was in store for me!
After Eloise was born- November 30, 2018… our breastfeeding journey “began”. I had problems from the very beginning. I had no fucking clue what I was doing! It came so unnatural to me- looking back. Which is fine, because these are things that you learn! I saw a breastfeeding consultant in the hospital, and she was nice, but Ellie just wasn’t getting a good latch. After leaving the hospital, I was on my own! I had a manual pump, because I was producing so much milk! My milk supply was never the issue, it was her latch. Well, to make a long story short, I was in SO MUCH PAIN with each feeding… not to be TMI but my nipples were just torn up. I was bleeding, and crying of the pain with each feeding. I was so frustrated, exhausted, and I felt like a total failure. Defeated.
I really only “nursed” Eloise from my boobs less than two weeks, really. I just couldn’t take it anymore, things weren’t getting better. I ended up getting mastitis (OUCH- google it). The hospital issued me an amazing breast pump- and my pumping journey began!
I swear, this journey has been all trial & error. I have had to learn my body, and know when I was “empty” so that I wouldn’t have mastitis again. It was many many hours of being tied to that pump! Early mornings, and late nights. In the beginning, I was pumping every 3 hours. Constant! As Eloise got older, my body adjusted and at the end tail of my journey I could go up to 6-7 hours without pumping. There was a time when I got a huge abscess on my boob, but I pumped through that. It was the most painful experience (worst than mastitis, in my opinion) and I almost quit! But I didn’t.
I sure will NOT miss taking my pump (and it’s parts) EVERYWHERE! If we wanted to have a fun day out, my pump would always come along. I’ve pumped in my car a million times, I’ve pumped at airports, in public restrooms, etc. It was a hassle, for sure.
I don’t mean this post to come off like I’m whining… but being an exclusive pumper is no joke. I HATED IT! It’s a TON of work! But I did it! I surpassed my goal of ONE YEAR! I’m beyond proud of myself and all the sacrifices I’ve made for my daughter.
This post is for all the mamas out there, who’ve felt defeated like I did! Being a mother is the hardest job EVER! If you breastfeed, exclusively pump, have to supplement, or completely have your baby on formula- YOU ARE AMAZING. Every mom’s situation is different. Every mother’s experience and journey is different. No one is better than the other. I think mother’s don’t get enough credit!
If I’m able to have another little bundle of joy, maybe my next journey will be different! At least I know what to expect & know what I’m in for! haha. Being a first time mother is SOOOOO overwhelming! But man- I’m so lucky to have a great partner by my side. All those late nights I’d have to get up to pump, Dexter was by my side bottle-feeding Eloise. I couldn’t have done it without such a patient, loving, & present partner.
I DID IT! YAY!