Pump Up The Volume

Feeding an infant is a lot of work.

Even when breast feeding, I have always felt this way. Although nursing has been for me the easiest option, it certainly takes up a lot of time.

And when it doesn’t work, it’s even more time consuming.

After struggling these past two weeks with latch issues, I finally started pumping on Saturday. Michael is now 100 percent a bottle baby. He’s getting breast milk and formula, and, frankly, I’m relieved. His does well on a bottle, although even now, he takes his dear, sweet time about eating. Except at 5 a.m., when he wakes up long enough to take about 3 ounces, and then falls right back to sleep.

It’s a lot of work making bottles. I’m pumping every three to four hours (except for night time), which is fine. It’s all the sterilizing and prepping. I have boiled more water in the past week than I did all of last year it seems. And then the bottles need to be warmed before I give them to him — and sometimes, he really doesn’t appreciate waiting! I’m getting about 2 oz. a pump, sometimes more, sometimes a little less.

His last bottle of the day is usually about 10 p.m., then I pump when he falls asleep, and then we usually get up at 5 a.m. (technically speaking, he’s sleeping through the night), I feed him, pump again, and go back to bed if I can. Dan’s doing the morning routine with the girls, which I know is hard for him.

I like pumping and having bottles to go. I was never comfortable nursing in public. I feel like I’m being judged sometimes, even when I am feeding him breast milk, but no one has ventured to say anything to me. I’m doing what works best for us. My pediatrician is extremely supportive. And as I have a now 9-pound infant on my hands, I would say it’s really working out for Michael.

Of course, because he never latched well, my nipples didn’t exactly get used to nursing, and now the left one feels like the pump is going to tear it off. I hope that passes soon!

11 thoughts on “Pump Up The Volume

  1. Put the other people around you out of your mind. You know what works best for you and if you reek of the confidence in that decision people won’t hesitate to keep their traps shut. I nursed in public with both kids and never covered with a blanket. I never once got the side-eye or a comment and I think it’s because I was so matter of fact about it. The kid was hungry and crying. I fed him and he shut up. I never acted like I was nervous or trying to hide something b/c OMG! A BOOB! And people seemed to leave me alone.

    I think the same is true for bottles. If you do it with confidence, no one is going to question you.

    • Thanks, Cari. Confidence is usually my strong suit, and second guessing isn’t my MO. I just think when it comes to parenting and kids, I feel like the world gets to put you on trial. I’m just going to keep my head up and go!

      • Hey, we ALL feel that way sometimes! It’s really hard during those first few months when your hormones just *love* to get the better you, to boot. Usually I just try to tell myself that I have Mama Instincts for a reason and if they’re telling me something, I should listen because they are usually right. πŸ™‚

  2. Pumping is definitely tough, but doable … The same can be said of so much about life with a newborn, don’t you think? All three of mine ended up taking bottles early on, too, and we made it work. Like Cari says, you know what works best for your child. I should have had that tattooed on my arm or something for all the guilt I put myself through!

    And Michael’s sleeping from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.?? Wow!

    • I’m trying not to feel guilty about it. It just caught me so off guard because nursing was relatively easy and natural with the girls. I don’t know what happened with Michael. But he’s eating, growing, soiling diapers, and sleeping — all very well. So there’s no point beating myself up about it. I figure as long as I pump, I’m giving him the benefits of breastfeeding, and if he needs more calories for some reason, formula fills the gap.

      And: YES! I cannot believe how much sleep — again, relatively speaking — we are getting.

  3. Kudos to you for doing both and not giving up (I probably would have). My SIL breastfeeds and pumps but has to supplement with a a bottle b/c she gets so little breastmilk. When I was with her a few months ago when she was pumping, the noise it made sounded like “Linda, Linda, Linda” (to me, anyway). SIL had never noticed that chorus, but it gave her something to smile up. So much so, she sent me an email a week later with that in the subject line. When I realized what she meant, I ended up laughing so hard my stomach hurt.

    I realize you probably needed to be there to appreciate this stupid story, but hopefully you can find your own sound and smile! πŸ™‚

    Good luck, mama!

  4. I cannot believe you are pumping that often! THAT is a huge commitment. Way to go! I get about 2oz per pump too and I find it frustrating, because that’s not even half of a bottle for Audrey. So jealous of those mamas who get 5 or more ounces per pump!

    I’m glad you’ve found something that is working for you- latching issues are SO FRUSTRATING. I dealt with that with Maggie, plus supply & letdown issues (could only pump 1/2 oz at a time, gah) She never did figure it out, even with a nipple shield. Did you try that at all? Good & bad points w/nipple shields. Anyway (I’m totally rambling!) hope things keep going smoothly for you πŸ™‚ Day at a time, that’s my mantra these days!

    • Hm, I haven’t tried a nipple shield. I’ll have to look into it to see how that works, I guess.

      I’m pretty happy with my 2-3 oz. a pump — I figure some is better than none at all! 1/2 an ounce would be frustrating though! I’m keeping up my supply with mother’s milk tea, too; it really helps, believe it or not.

      And, yes, one day at a time. I know that it will get easier and better around here. I just have to wait for it!

  5. Oh I hate pumping. I do it, but I hate it. I totally feel your pain.

    And for me, my left boob is the better producer than my right. By the time Luca was 3 months old, I stopped feeding him from it, because it would just frustrate him. And forget pumping. I’d get a half an ounce out of it. I didn’t have a blocked milk duct, it just rebelled.

    I say drink the tea. I used it and it was great.

    And seriously, if he didn’t latch on, he didn’t latch on. You can’t fix that it’s just how it’s going to be. I applaud you for still pumping. That takes guts!

    • My right boob is EXACTLY the same way. I can pump almost two ounces from my left boob alone. Isn’t that weird?

      Anyhoo, compared to trying to nurse M, pumping is easy. I just need the 10 to 15 minutes every couple-few hours to do it. Sometimes M and the rest of the people in my house cooperate, sometimes not so much. As I said before, I figure some breast milk is better than none!

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