A Journey in Breastfeeding: My love/hate with the Breast Pump

When I thought about Breastfeeding Madeline I knew there would come a time when I had to return to work and that meant I would need to pump.  I never imagined I would need to use my breast pump much in the months leading up to that though. Yet again I’ve realized everything you think you will know about being a parent, you don’t. It seems like every day I find something I was sure about ends up turning out differently for me. Pumping was no exception.

There’s something about the act of pumping that just makes me feel like a dairy cow. While I’m so grateful that when Madeline is fussy at 3:30am, Mike can feed her, it doesn’t mean my pump and I are best friends.  I did a lot of research on pumps prior to ordering mine and decided a Medela Pump In Style would be the best for me. From what I’ve read they are the most durable and convenient. I knew I would want a double pump for convenience but at this point haven’t used both sides at the same time.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to feeling “full” but it is not what I was thinking! So after two days of breastfeeding, I broke out the pump. Pumping is first and foremost painful. It’s a sensation that is much stronger than breastfeeding and even on a low power setting it is uncomfortable. Lanolin is your best friend, trust me. Pumping is also time consuming, watching the milk drop into a bottle drip by drip is excruciating! But the reward at the end of an ounce or two of milk is like liquid gold!  On top of that there are so many parts that need to be washed and sanitized and put away after each pumping session.  I am so glad that it turned out we only needed to pump once or twice for the first few days until we got our groove settled.

Part of the problem I realized later on was that the shields/flanges that come with the breast pump were too small for my larger breasts/nipples! Once my sister pointed this out I ordered new ones and pumping became much easier and less painful. Also I got twice as much milk! It really does make a difference so if you’re not sure if they’re the right size, google what a proper pump latch should look like or see a lactation consultant – it’s very helpful!

I know that soon enough I will need to start pumping on a regular basis to prepare for when I return to work. I am not looking forward to it but we tackle it one step at a time!

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