We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Like many moms, I planned on exclusively breastfeeding my baby once she was born. Boy was I wrong! Right after my baby was cleaned up, they gave her to me to nurse. I thought I was prepared. I took the breastfeeding class. I researched breastfeeding tips on Pinterest. I got breastfeeding tips from friends. Breastfeeding should have been a breeze!
Then I gave birth to the most perfect baby girl and realized I had no clue what I was doing. She would not latch on and man did it hurt! After trying for a while, the nurses said they would send lactation specialists to help me. A little while later, the team of specialists walked into my room, saw my boobs, and asked, “What happened?!” Apparently my poor boobs looked as bad as they felt.
Now I was scared! I tried nursing my baby again. Still not a good latch. She needed to be fed, so I was hooked up to a breast pump and fed her with a dropper. Not at all what I had imagined my first hours as a mom would be like.
Once the pediatrician came in, everything made sense. Little did I know, my sweet daughter was born tongue tied. You know that little stringy thing that connects our tongues to the bottom of our mouths? Hers went all the way to the tip! The pediatrician was able to clip it a little, but because it was so severely tied, we would have to go to a ENT doctor to have the rest clipped.
In the mean time, I had to exclusively pump. I HATED IT. It was the end of October and had just turned cold where we live. I had just lost all my insulation. I would sit in a chair freezing my butt of while this annoying machine made that stupid sucking and beeping sound. Every time I tried to pump, my baby would need me. Outings were planned around my pumping schedule. On top of that, I had just had a baby and was recovering from that while adjusting to being a first time mom. Ugh. I feel icky just thinking about it.
Long story short, we were able to have her tongue fully clipped about a month later. It took a few months, but I ended up being able to breastfeed. During those months, however, I mastered the art of pumping-particularly making it a little more enjoyable. I was not going to spend multiple hours of my day crying because I hated pumping so much. Here are a few things that helped get me through it and will help you too!
*Find a good show to watch, and only watch it when pumping. I went through the entire Gilmore Girl series on Netflix while pumping. It gave me something to look forward to when I knew it was time to pump. I highly suggest getting the Netflix app downloaded onto your phone. That way, you always are able to watch your shows, even when away from home. It wasn’t fun to have to slip away from get-togethers with friends for such a long period of time, but at least I had Lorelli and Rory to keep me company!
*Get a heating pad. A friend made me one of those seed pillow things you pop in the microwave for Christmas a few years back. I would have died without it! I would heat it up, warm up my boobs, AND warm up the pump parts that would touch my skin. This was a life-saver during those cold months. If you don’t have time to make one, just buy one like this!
*Pump while your baby sleeps. You are literally tethered to this thing for a half an hour at a time. Nothing is worse than your baby needing you right in the middle of it. Do yourself a favor, do it during nap time. Think of it as a way to force yourself to sit down and relax. Your messy house can wait.
*Soak the parts when you can’t wash them. It’s super annoying to wash all those darn parts, but it’s even more annoying to wash them after the milk has had time to harden and get stinky! If you don’t have time to wash them right away, at least soak them. Have a tub of hot, soapy water to throw them in. This will make washing them much easier when you have the time.
*Get a manual pump and an insulated lunch bag. No, it’s not fun to manually pump, but I would rather do that than have to pack up my whole electric pump whenever I go somewhere. Plus, if you have a long car ride to go on, you won’t have to stop somewhere to pump. Just do it in the car (as long as you’re not the one driving)! This is the one I had, but I’ve heard from friends that this one is great too.
Place breastmilk bags in your freezer in order. Breastmilk only lasts frozen for 5 or so months in the freezer. Have your baby drink the milk in the order you make it. That way, a bag won’t expire and go to waste!
Get a hands free pumping wrap. That way, you can hold your phone to watch a show, read a book, or browse Pinterest. 🙂 They have super nice ones to buy, but I just used the DIY version the lactation ladies gave me. It was basically a tube top with holes cut where the pump parts connected.
Have a designated spot for pumping at home. 95% of the time I was home alone with my baby and hubby, so I would just pump in the kitchen. It was near the microwave to heat up the heating pad, near the fridge/freezer to store the milk, and near the sink to wash the parts. Wherever you decide to pump, make it work for you. You should have anything and everything you could need within arm’s reach. This could include:
- Pumping Supplies: Have them clean and ready to go as often as you can. Make your hubby help!
- A Comfy Chair: Make sure you can sit up in it easily. Pumping really gets messy if you lean back too much.
- Water: Have a few water bottles ready. Pumping makes you thirsty, plus more water=more milk!
- Lanolin: You pretty much need to have these everywhere anyway.
- Blanket/Robe: If you are pumping during the cooler months, stay warm. The comfier you are, the more relaxed you will be, the more milk you will produce!
- Space Heater/Fan: Depending on what season it is, use a fan or space heater to stay comfortable.
- Picture of Your Baby: They say this helps produce more milk!
There you have it! These tips helped me survive pumping until I was able to breastfeed. If you are struggling with pumping, hang in there girl. It will get a little easier every time you do it. Remember why you are doing it! You’re a great mom with a blessed little baby. Hugs!! 🙂