Being an exclusive pumper is similar to juggling. Underwater. With weights attached to your feet. And pumping for baby #2 with a toddler running around? Add fighting sharks off onto that list.
Okay, a bit dramatic.
But between sterilizing everything more often than actually showering your spit-up-soaked body, it’s almost similar to a full-time job (but the boss you work for is moody and offers no vacation leave).
I thought I’d share some things I’ve picked up along the journey from pumping for my firstborn, and then again my second, in hopes this might help anyone who is willing to embark on the same adventure… for lack of a better term. :)
Invest in a high-quality double pump.
Mistake #1: The first time around I only bought a single pump. Why, you ask?! Mommy brain… lack of foresight… whatever it was, I was chained to that sucker probably 70% of the day, listening to the pitiful wuh-wuh-wuh as thoughts of living like imprisoned cattle began to settle in.
The un-pumped boob would begin leaking like a faucet, filling up nursing pad, bra, shirt, younameit. I only connected the dots after, like, 7 months of torturous single-pumping and invested in a double pump.
Life has never been the same. For a while my husband would say he was surprised to see me walking around and not pumping. It was that bad.
For Baby #2: I went ahead and bought this double pump, and my boobs have never been happier… Pumping went from being almost 30-40 minutes, to now 10 minutes. I set that sucker on it’s max power with maximum suction… leaving me with maximum nipplage (don’t worry! It shrinks back, grossed out reader!)
I found the stronger and more effective the double pump, the stronger and consistent the supply (the added perks of being able to walk around the house and see the family once in awhile are nice too).
Consume what you want.
Okay, don’t start hitting the pub as you read this. Obviously stay away from smoking, excessive alcohol (I just do without entirely), and overly caffeinating yourself (what, you want to keep that baby from sleeping? You brave, crazy soul, you…)
But if you want that bowl of Lucky Charms for lunch with the pop tart, and topping it off with a healthy portion of cold chinese leftovers, no judgement here. I’ve been there. Literally, I have been there many times.
Mistake #1: I remember reading lists of things to NOT consume when breastfeeding and feeling like I was pregnant again (this time without the benefit of people opening doors for my ballooning self!).
I got consumed with that list that admittedly my joy was shrivelling up as my ravenous breastfeeding appetite grew. Not a pleasant person for my husband to be around!
With Baby #2: Screw you, list! *stuffing face with Pop Tarts* … well, not entirely.
Yes, you’re still eating ‘for two’, but there is so much benefit to exposing your babe to a variety of food & flavour! I do still reference that list (on minimal occasions), but I just let my appetite guide me, within moderation (because she’s a wild one and can’t be trusted too often).
I try to eat from all food groups, while being mindful to eat more greens over carbs (*sob*), but I have been known to sneak in a few milkshakes, burger, and what-nots (you’re welcome, baby, for that delicious bacon-flavoured gulp!)
Respect your supply.
I’ve pumped in weird places: utility closets in Las Vegas hotels, in moving cars, in the back of an airplane on the floor by the bathrooms (with a flight attendant holding a measly curtain to cover me from curious/creepy bathroom goers)… basically, anywhere that had a plug, where my rock-hard porn star boobs could be drained.
Mistake #1: I didn’t keep a schedule, and at times waited to feel engorged. BIG mistake. By that time, I’m scrambling to attach cone to leaky boob, while hoping baby safely got both legs through the jumperoo holes.
With Baby #2: Keep as strict a pumping schedule as possible, as it keeps the supply consistent (and the boobs soft and empty. The feeling better than any high, I’m sure). I lost all shame and looked for places to pump before becoming engorged… You’d be amazed at how accommodating people are when it comes to a mom with needs… and with big jugs (haha!) Bring a nursing cover for when you end up in a utility closet like myself, and end up engaging in awkward eye contact with Pedro looking for toilet cleaner.
Do away with any Mommy Guilt. For real.
Mistake #1: With my first, I imagined sitting in my beige Pottery Barn rocking chair, singing lullabies (in perfect key, of course) while baby sucked away painlessly on my teet. And then God laughed. Mistake? Entertaining the thought that that’s what bonding only looked like.
I tried the whole nursing thing. Didn’t mind it, but I loved getting extra sleep when my husband was willing to watch the baby from 3-7 am even more. A happy mommy (who gleefully leaps like a gazelle into her bed when given any chance to sleep… oh, just me?) is a better mommy for those around her.
oh, I’ll bond with baby…. after my long glorious sleep.
For Baby #2: Milk is milk! Getting it from a bottle, boob, or even from a can is perfectly fine. They will turn out fine. If you transition from one to another type, it doesn’t mean you’ve given up, or failed. Heck, it doesn’t even define you as a mom.
Plus, the more relaxed, at-peace & zen you are, the more milk doth floweth.
Save guilt for things that really matter. Like binge-watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians… that’s deserving of my guilt…
I hope this helps any mom in the same shoes or about to enter this crazy, yet oh-so amazing stage of parenting… Pump away, brave mama!
Anything I’ve missed that you’d like to share? Comment below. :) This pumping bovine is off to grab a pop tart… ;)