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Breastfeeding: A Preggos Thoughts

So I’ve spent a couple of days swooning over fancy baby bedding, I guess it’s time to get serious.

I wrote a guest post about breastfeeding for Blacktating and I guess it was just want I needed to motivate me to research, and think more about the topic.

First, there’s choices, plans, decisions. I’ve thought a lot about breastfeeding not just since I’ve been thinking about having children and since being pregnant, but during my marriage. I don’t remember how it came up but my husband had insisted I breastfeed. His thinking wasn’t even on affordability but on health.

Now, my mind changes on a lot of things… A year and a half ago I wrote out my master plan for vacations for the next 5 years… An African safari being the big SHABANG in something like 2013. Well, needless to say, plans have changed. So I imagine my thoughts on breastfeeding will also continue to evolve as I continue my research throughout pregnancy, and of course once Spawnie gets here.

Since I am a journalist, I’m very into research. But I don’t like just throwing things out there or taking people’s word for it. So while I ask for recommendations, know I’m fact checking everything you tell me. I’m going to try to do my best to back up facts I learn with links and sources!

I sat down at my computer and for five solid hours I looked up information on breastfeeding pumps, looking into how long women should breastfeed, how to prepare for breastfeeding, and just thought a lot about how it would work for me. I spoke with a lactation consultant at my local hospital I’ll be delivering at and was given a few tips. She first asked me how old my baby was…
“Umm, I’m a little early,” I told her.
“Oh, you’re still pregnant!” I heard her smiling through the phone.
“Yea I’m just trying to be prepared.”
“Ok, when are you due?”
“Umm.. June.” I left out the part about it being the END of June.

I was worried she’d hang up on me or tell me to call back in a few months but she was nice and gave me information about classes for about $20 a couple. She recommended we take it at about 35 weeks. She also told me they don’t recommend I start pumping for 2-4 weeks after birth. I also asked about rental pump prices, and theirs are $75/month.

I also called my insurance and found out they give $500 a year towards lactation consultants. Which is nice perk. Sure, I may have one for free after birth for a little while, but $500 towards one who can help me at home is a nice addition.

Someone referred me to my local La Leche League so I called them to get information on any pump rentals they may offer. I also may drop by for a meeting or two in the next few months to see what it’s all about. I hear the support groups are great.

I got caught up on the pump topic for quite some time. I’m going to go back to work after about 3 months and I’d like to continue to breastfeed. Since the rental cost is so much I figure buying is a better option after 3 months.

On Twitter, most of my mother followers recommended either Medela or Ameda. Medela had an OVERWHELMING number of favorites, but a few people who I HIGHLY respect when it comes to breastfeeding recommended Ameda. I looked into the different systems… And comparable products.

I used a few sites to do side-by-side comparisons to the brands to see which one I’d like more. Medela has been the “Most trusted brand in breast pumps for 20 years!” and Ameda has great reviews.

What were things I looked at? Well, I know I can’t judge this by looking at it but comfort was one thing. Finding a pump that’s adjustable is the way to go so I’m more likely to find a level that works for me. Type of pump was another thing I looked at. The idea of a hand pump doesn’t appeal to me. Durability is important, because if I’m shelling out the dough, I’d like it to last for more than one kid.

I also looked at portability, I need something that will be able to travel well. Power options, car adapters, AC adapters and battery operated were all important to me. I would like a dual pump system, so I can pump both boobs if need be. Motor noise level is something I won’t personally know until using it but I’ve read reviews of some being quieter than others. Effectiveness is also obviously an issue but I’ve read the closer the pumps cycling speed is to mimicking my baby, the better it’ll be. So options on speed will be important.

So I narrowed it down based on recommendation and my research.

Ameda Purely Yours® Breast Pump with Carry All
Motor Specifications:
Cycles:
Single: 30-60 cycles per minute (8 suction settings)
Double: same less 10%

Pressure:
Single: 100-275 mm Hg
Double: 50-200 mm Hg

It’s $199 on Ameda’s site and about $195 on Amazon. Right now it’s also $199 Buy it Now new on eBay too. It weighs about 6.5 lbs. It can use different types of bottles jut not the wide mouth kind.

I’ve read since it comes with a hygienic kit, and it’s closed pump system makes it easy to clean and more hygienic. This one doesn’t have as many reviews on Amazon, but it has a bunch, and better ones on the Breast Pumps Direct website. It’s also FDA approved unlike the one below.

Pump In Style® Advanced Breastpump Backpack
Suction: 44-62 times per minute (2 phase pumping)
VACUUM: 50-250 MM HG
POWER: 60 HZ

I’ve read this one mimics a baby’s sucking motions by staring fast then slowing down.

It is about $299 or $260 on breast pumps direct it’s $274 on Amazon and $221 new in box in eBay.

It uses a closed pump system so some people say it’s harder to clean, and you have to work a harder to make sure it’s clean enough and rid of possible mold that could build up in the motor area.

Looking more into the open/closed systems I read that many open systems are good because they allow more direct suction. Many now also have filters to make any air that seeps through the tubes not contaminate the milk.

I have to admit when I first looked at the cost I was thinking I’d try to breastfeed for the first 12 weeks, and go to formula… 12 weeks is better than zero right? And why spend so much money on a pump I may not be able to use? Or won’t use? Or that won’t work for a long time for me. But then… HELLO! Formula isn’t cheap either! I asked the parents of the kid I babysit how much they pay and they say in the beginning it was close to $400 a month. Each can is $15-25 dollars and now… At 11 months he still drinks about 1 can a week. Obviously I’d pay for the cost of the pump pretty quickly.

So now… My worries and things I still want to learn:
-Ways to pump as much as I can while I’m on leave and save it for when I go back to work
-Ways to pump at work when I don’t have a private office or much time to do so
-How to store milk best, and foods, herbs, things that can help with milk supply
-How my husband can be involved in feedings at night so we can alternate if we choose to

My biggest worry of them all is really doing it while working. My job is very demanding and I’m not sitting at a desk or office all day. I usually don’t have time for lunch much less pumping breaks! I work 9-10 hour shifts and I’m usually either driving, filming, writing or editing… None of those are in private.

I know breast is best but to be honest the biggest thing keeping me from wanting to do for up to a year is the cost of formula. Either way.. Breast milk or formula, kids usually don’t drink whole cow milk until they’re a year old (please correct me if I’m wrong, I’d love to know otherwise). So I figure the longer I keep it coming the more we’ll save. I imagine with my schedule and lifestyle we will have to do a mix after awhile, and I’m totally ok with that.

My husband and I initially thought pumps were pricey but after looking at the cost of formula we’re hoping to invest in one and figure out how to make it work for us. He also wants to be able to help at night, whether that means bringing the baby to me, or feeding from a bottle some that’s ok. Spawnie would obviously have to be bottle fed while I’m at work. If I automatically wake up at night to feed all of the time, great, but we’re hoping to take turns if possible.

So… That’s a LOT of information. But I’m glad I have it down. It’s kind of a “starting point” I guess you could say. And I’ll revisit the topic throughout my pregnancy. I already have a breastfeeding DVD to review, some boob cream to help with breastfeeding, as well as herbal tea and some boob leak pads. I even just won a feeding cover. So there will be MANY MORE post on this topic in the future!

If you made it this far CONGRATULATIONS! I’d love your advice and referrals on breast pumps, and any tips you may have on the questions I have above especially, or any other random advice you have on the topic! All I ask is you are respectful to my views, and the views of other people who may comment! In other words.. Be nice!


Kristen says:

I have tried many breast pumps and have learned that what is best for others is not necessarily best for me. I have used Medela and I hated it. I think it actually has a lot to do with the size and shape of your breast. I absolutely love Avent Isis Breast pump. It was very comfortable. I also loved my First Years electric/battery pump. I would recommended you look on ebay or craigslist for a used one instead of renting… just my 2 cents. I still have my First Years 1 and need to list it or consign it. My children nursed every 2-4 hours for 15-30 mins at a time, so when I was away from them I would pump every 2-4 hours for 15-30mins at a time. I think it is great that you want to breastfeed. Not only is breastfeeding great for the health and development of your baby, but it is also great for helping you lose baby weight faster, shrinking your uterus, and creates an undeniable bond between you and your child.

marfmom says:

I know it’s still a bit in advance to be thinking about, but I really recommend bringing your pump to the hospital with you when you go to deliver. That way, the lactation consultant can help you figure out how to use it and it’s already there, just in case. I ended up needing to go on medication after delivery that prevented me from being able to breastfeed for 36 hours. Because I had my pump with me, the nurse showed me how to use it and I “pumped and dumped” colostrum every 3-4 hours to avoid any supply problems when my son was able to breastfeed.

And another cost that you might not have considered is the cost of healthcare. Breastfed babies are less likely to get sick, both from colds and from other, more chronic illnesses. This can save you a lot of money in the long run. We have a family history of Type 1 diabetes and also Celiac disease in our family, so I made sure to breastfeed for as long as possible (8 months) to decrease the chance of my son getting either of these autoimmune diseases. Making it at least 6 months exclusively breastfeeding decreases the risk of both of those by a TON.

So you’re right, some breastfeeding is better than no breastfeeding, but if you can make it at least 6 months that is super 🙂

Mrs. Haid says:

I orderd a Lansinoh, and found out its the exact same thing as Ameda, but its purple and doesn’t have a carrying bag. Its about $50 less, too. It is a closed systems, which is what I wanted.

After breastfeeding for 4 months, I realize now how much time it takes! That is something I didn’t think abotu before. And its not really time you can do anything else during… even reading is difficult to do for balancing and for distractions!

Oh… and pumping really isn’t too fun.

Oh… and actually, I think I didnt’ need my pump really until about 3 weeks, really. So its not that big of a deal to get before. For some reason, I felt I really needed it before my son was born.

I took a breastfeeding class and it was the best thing in terms of getting me on board and making me feel competent. I would recommend it! I think aside from the cost factor, the infomartion I got form taht class and support from the consultant are the reasons why I am still BFing today!

Snarky Mom says:

I was flat out determined that I was going to breastfeed my daughter. My older boys are adopted from foster care so there was no breastfeeding option with them. I read all the books, took the class, bought the pump, used the lactation services in the hospital….nothing worked. My daughter was 5 weeks early, had severe jaundice, would not latch on despite using a nipple shield and every trick the lactation consultant could think of to help. I ended up pumping and feeding her breastmilk from a bottle for 4 months until my milk dried up. When my son was born, I was more realistic but desperately wanted to nurse him. He came out, they put him on my belly and he was already trying to latch! I nursed him for 22 months and just recently weaned him.

So I have 2 kids who were totally formula fed, one who got breastmilk and formula and one who got only breastmilk. My formula babies WERE sick more often, but they were also in foster care and exposed to things that most of us wouldn’t expose our infants to at all. My daughter who had breastmilk and formula was rarely sick, with only one ear infection and a handful of other illnesses in her first year. But she had raging colic and reflux. My totally breastfed son was hardly ever sick, but also had raging colic, reflux and severe lactose intolerance which led to a sad, pathetic diet devoid of all chocolate for mommy. I cried. I blame the severe Postpartum Depression on the lack of chocolate.

All four of my kids are now healthy, happy and well adjusted. Breastmilk or formula is a very personal choice and I wish you all the best in whatever you decide to do! Oh, I did have a point for my comment and I almost forgot haha! Mommy brain is totally a real thing. I had the Medela Pump in Style and it worked just fine. I only used it for 4 months with my daughter and then my milk dried up. I used a little Avent handheld pump a few times with my son which was fine for occasional use.

Ashley says:

I have nothing to add at this point, but this post was very informative. I will have to remember it when I need to start looking into breast pumps. The only thing I can say is you should just do what best fits you, and not worry about what other people might say. If formula ends up working better for you and your job (when you go back after your leave), then go for it.

B&U&I says:

I chose a Medela Pump based on reviews and recommendations, but there were several Medela Pumps to choose from, I ended up choosing The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump with Metro Bag because the is separate from the bag and thus can be removed and carried around without the entire bag. Here’s a link to it: http://www.amazon.com/Medela-Style-Advanced-Breast-Metro/dp/B0011E5LXK

I nursed my daughter for 15 months, I literally just weaned her last week. It was an amazing experience and was really happy that I stuck with it even after having a rather difficult time with it at first. I ended up having a C-Section after 21 hours of intense labor so by the time she was delivered I was completely out of it. So they gave her formula for her first couple feedings. Originally I was pretty upset about it because I wanted solely to breastfeed. However, I later found out that I was glad she would take both breastmilk and formula because I wasn’t able to pump much milk at all – I would pump for 30 minutes and only yield 2oz.

As for suggestions on what to take to increase your milk supply, I used fenugreek and brewers yeast. There was one particular time when I felt I was completely losing my milk and I called my OBGYN and he prescribed Reglan which REALLY worked wonders. I also had friends recommend a herbal tea called Mother’s Milk.

Honey B. says:

Awesome post! I’m in the pre-pregnancy planning stage, and just like you I spend a lot of time studying. Thanks for the great research!

Angie says:

Thank you for doing the research. As a first time soon-to-be mom who is due in June and also going back to work after 3 months, I am very interested in this topic. Thanks!

I’m fairly new to your site and also a first time mom due in (early) June.

This was a great post and I will definitely be referring back to it later on. One thing I will say that I have heard from others is that you don’t want to buy the breast pump until after you have had the baby and are sure that you will be able to breastfeed. I was also told to rent just for the first month to see if you will continue pumping.

Lynn says:

Whatever you do, don’t get a hand held manual pump. You will develop carpal tunnel and even after all that hard work you will sneeze and the milk will spill all over your car and on your nice silk work blouse. Just saying. It could happen! ;o)

My best, Lynn

msjazzyfresh says:

I used a Medela Pump, actually the InStyle that is shown above, and that thing was my greatest investment, other than my crib. It made pumping so easy, it was easy to clean, easy to store, easy to navigate. I too am a journalist and know the lifestyle, and often found myself in the back of a van with a coverup, pumping with an AC adapter. I stored the milk with instant freezer packs inside the cooler that comes with the Medela. Good luck on choosing!

E. Merritt says:

You’ve done some great research. I have triplets that were born 10 weeks early. They are now 10 months old and I have solely pumped from day 1. I did try nursing when they were allowed to attempt it at 5 weeks old, but it wasn’t as practical with trying to feed three. I’ve used the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump and love it. My only complaint would be that the tubing is somewhat hard to clean and I’ve had to order replacement tubing.

Rachael says:

My biggest piece of advice is not to get too set on your plan. I was absolutely set on breastfeeding, I was going to breast feed exclusively and maybe pump every so often so that my husband could feed. Well, after I had my child my milk never came in. I tried and tried, and it just wasn’t going to happen for me. My body didn’t work that way, and there was no milk. So, we formula fed.

My baby is just as healthy as any breast fed baby I know. Yes, breastmilk is great, but as my pediatrician said there are healthy formula babies and sickly breastmilk babies. I believe in breastfeeding because that’s what they’re made for. But you should do what is right for you and your child regardless of what other people say. I am a huge proponent of trusing your motherly instincts – and they WILL come – and I think that when you get closer and your little one comes, you’ll know what will work for you, your baby and your husband.

Sorry I don’t have much advice about pumps etc since I didn’t use them, although I will say you can buy/make a handsfree thing for your pump so it may be possible to feed while driving with a loose shirt overtop or something.

My girls were both attempted at breastfeeding. The first for 6 weeks with supplementing with formula until I developed PPD and my milk dried up. I felt like I was poisoning her for giving her formula, but she started to gain weight & was happier, so I realize now it was for the best. My 2nd was 7 weeks early and I pumped and tried to nurse for as long as I could. I held out for just over 2 months (way past my personal goal! yeah!) before I dried up. Both times I used a Medela Pump in Style Advance (as that’s what our insurance paid for…check if your insurance will buy a pump!) and it was great. I personally liked the Medela Symphony I used in the NICU the best, but that was out of my price range when we got a free one instead. haha.

I’ve tried all sorts of herbs, tinatures, oatmeal, etc to increase my supply. The best book I’ve read about a woman’s milk supply is called “The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk” by Diana West & Lisa Marasco. Gives you lists of herbs benefits, etc. Methods to try, and so many important steps to try to keep milk production at a level you need it to be. I HIGHLY recommend it (and it’s cheap on amazon!).

I was totally like you and researched everything I could get my hands on before deciding. I’m still researching and am only around 7ish weeks along with #3, hoping to make this attempt at nursing even more successful. Good luck Mama!

H says:

hardierlime from twitter here…

My daughter is 18 months old, and I am still exclusively pumping for her 2x a day using a Medela Pump in Style Advanced, and Evenflo’s Purely Comfi bottles. We never were able to get our latch right (I realized @ 11 months that she had a lip tie – less common than a tongue tie and not really looked for by anyone anymore). So I pumped. And I will be going until she is 2 years old or I run out. Whichever is sooner.

I work in advertising, which is also not the easiest to work pumping around. Many moms where I work also don’t have an office. I could have asked for a private office, but our building is weird, and its possible that someone could still see in to that office, so I used the executive bathroom. Not really the most ideal, but I did it until I was just over pumping at work. I quit pumping at work when she was 11 months old.

Many moms that I know online have pumped while driving using a hands-free system. If I had needed to pump more times a day when I was still pumping at work, I probably would have too.

But, knowing what I know now, I think I would have gotten a Medela Freestyle – portability would have been so nice to have. I also would have combined the Freestyle with these: http://shop.freemie.com/
They might just be what will work for you.

Finally, in countries outside of the U.S. the recommendation for starting cow’s milk is 9 months. So, you may be able to start introducing it early if Spawnie doesn’t have a sensitivity or allergy. But, if s/he does, keep in mind that the formula that you’d have to buy would be stupidly expensive and not just outrageously so.

jennie w. says:

You know I have a lot to say about this topic! I have breastfed, pumped, done formula–the whole spectrum. I was so set on breastfeeding with my first because people today pretty much feel like you’re feeding your baby heroin if you use formula. I took the classes and did all that sort of stuff and it really wound me up. When my daughter was born and she wouldn’t latch on for the first couple of weeks I just about had a coronary.

Long story short, we finally got the hang of it, but I’m really not a huge fan of breastfeeding. I did it for the first six months or so with each of my kids because it’s healthier, etc, but it’s so time consuming and inconvenient (unless it’s the middle of the night, then it’s great) that I just grew to hate it. And it’s not all about what’s best for the baby. It’s what’s best for both of you. And the whole family, if you have other kids.

Basically the best advice I ever got was from one of my lactation consultants: It’s just food. That’s it. It’s not a sign of how good a mother you are or how much you love your baby.

So don’t get to wrapped up in what might happen. It’s good to take a class and find a lactation consultant you gel with (harder than you think). I really do think it’s good to have a breast pump on hand. Sometimes those first few days can be killer. It’s good to have relief on hand. I had a pump in style that I really liked. I found it pretty difficult to do two breasts at once, though. It was easier to manage them one at a time.

Chantel says:

I’ve bought the cheap Evenflo pumps in the past, and they never worked well for me and actually broke. This time, we went all out and bought the Medela Pump In Style in the shoulder bag, and I LOVE IT! It’s the best pump, and worth the investment. My aunt had one for all three of her kids, and she passed it onto her SIL, who has used it for all three of her kids as well, the last one just turned 1. The noise isn’t bothersome at all. I hardly notice it. Also, I couldn’t make it 2-4 weeks without pumping. I was pumping by day 3, because my milk had come in and I was sore, engorged and swollen. If you can pump when your milk come in during engorgement, that is a wonderful time to save. I have reusable plastic cups that I pop into the freezer. A site that I use a lot to get most of my information for breastfeeding is http://www.kellymom.com It’s great and has tons of info.

Chantel says:

Oh, one more thing, for breastfeeding, I’d recommend a bottle warmer. You can’t heat breastmilk up in the microwave, and warming it up under water or on the stove is way too time consuming with a screaming baby. Bottle warmer is so much faster and easier.

i pumped milk for my twins for one year..
they were born 7 weeks early….
i rented hospital grade pump from the hospital..

following via MBC..hope you will follow back..my google friend connect is at the bottom of my blog.

Mrs. Haid says:

Also… I re read these comments, and I wanted to tell you that you should check out the nursing books from the library FIRST before you buy tons from amazon like I did. There are a lot of dumb books. The book that was the most helpful for me was Nursing Mother’s Companion, and the hospital actually provided an abbreviated version, which was really all I needed for the first two weeks!

PS, can’t say enough about Lansinoh’s pump… really, its great and I cannot imagine paying one hundred dollars more for Medela.

Also… you might buy at CVS.com – they have great sales!

Oh, also… nursing tanks and bras… I liked Bravado the best. You might want to look at their website… I wish I would have bought nursing bras instead of just larger, pretty VS bras during the last few months of pregnancy.

zealandsmom says:

I haven’t read anyone else’s insight. I love that you’re thinking you WILL do it, not that you will try. Mentality is EVERYTHING!!
Look into pumpin pals (comforts flanges) you’ll like that. I like the look of medela and the name that it carries (IMHO)
I also suggest an arm’s reach co-sleeper. I didn’t have it with #1, didn’t want to spend $. Had it with #2 and couldn’t believe I didn’t buy it before! It helps SO much with breastfeeding, knowing baby is RIGHT there and never getting out of bed to nurse:)
I pumped with #1 not #2. It went well, even though I had to do it in a bathroom stall. You will make time, when you need it. Your instincts won’t care about anything else.
I also managed to pump while driving! (Invest in a wrap around pumping bra that zips up middle…like a tube top)kept a small lunch cooler with ice…never a problem. I started pumping straight out of the gate. “They” say 2 weeks, because the more you pump/nurse the more you make, so they want you to have a normal amount BUT your supply will dwindle the longer you pump. That being said Zealand took a bottle (of expressed milk) at 3 days old. He never had nipple confusion and liked either/or. SO, there was always bottles in fridge in case I was too tired and wanted DH to give nightly bottle. I knew ahead of time if I was gonna be too tired and sometimes I would just leave a bottle on the counter (to warm to room temp) so that by the time 2 or 3 am came, he didnt have to heat. (we never heated always served room temperature) We were told that once they like it warm/hot….you will always have to heat. (Not always convenient to do that)
I wish you LOADS of successfulness. I look forward to reading more:)

zealandsmom says:

Oh yeah and I totally AGREE with Bravado nursing tanks. I wear one EVERYDAY (for 12 months now) under my shirts, so I can discretely nurse anywhere.

(I’m confused by a former comment saying that Bfing was inconvenient?) Not that this is a debate but I can’t think of a more convenient way to feed a baby!
No running to store, no cleaning bottles, no taking bottles apart and putting them back together, no mixing powder with water, no having to heat up formula, no scraping bottom on formula can, no coupon clipping, line waiting, gas money spending, digging through you diaper bag to find everything!

First of all… the amount of research, honesty and care you’ve put into this post (and this decision) tells me that your little one is going to be one lucky kiddo, having you as a mom. 🙂

Second – I want to wish you the best of luck with your decision. I hated pumping but had to do it b/c my son couldn’t latch. However, getting a hospital grade pump at the beginning really helped get my supply up. I’d suggest renting one of those from your hospital for the first few weeks so you’ll really know what you want/need from a pump. I had bought one and wished I hadn’t, since I ended up needing a far more heavy duty one than I had purchased (and those suckers aren’t returnable).

As for the cost of formula – we actually buy ours on EBay and it is way cheaper that way. It certainly is an additional cost, but in our case, we just figured it was one more year of expenses that we’d be having for the next 18+ years feeding the kiddo.

Whatever you end up doing – just do what is best for you and your family and don’t put pressure on yourself either way. New motherhood is hard and the best gift you can give yourself is flexibility!

Coniqua says:

Stopping by from SITS. Whew! You sure do your research. I personally don’t have too much to add to the conversation since I couldn’t stand pumping (I did it maybe 3 times of the approximately 20 months I was nursing). When I did need to express milk I did it by hand, which I found faster and much less uncomfortable.

I think that the pumping bras do sound like a good idea for a mom on the move, as using an electric pump requires you to be stationary.

I second someone else’s opinion about nursing tanks. Love them. I got mine pretty inexpensively from Target.

Erin Jeany says:

Hi hun! Great post! You are SO organized and definitely did your research! I have ONE bit of advice based on experience I wanted to add.

When I was pregnant with Elijah I was dead set on breastfeeding. I couldn’t wait for that beautiful bonding experience. I had my pump picked out and plan all worked out. But my husband told me I should wait until Elijah was here to get my pump. He didn’t have a reason. He just had a feeling that it was best to wait. So I did. Then Elijah came. No matter what I did, how many lactation consultants I worked with, my milk did not make an appearance. I spent hours and days crying… over not having spilled milk. I ‘leaked’ through out pregnancy so I couldn’t understand why it had dried up. I felt so inadequate as a mother. I felt like I was failing my son. It was devastating. I ended up discussing it at length during ppd counseling and learned to deal with it. That it wasn’t my fault and okay. But I am still so mad at myself. It’s like I almost set myself up to fail by putting so much stock into the breastfeeding. I should have made a plan B. I should have considered the possibility that breastfeeding was not possible.

Please just keep that in the back of your mind. I am very glad I didn’t buy the pump now. The good thing is that with formula feeding Dave and I both got the chance to bond with Elijah during feedings. Even at 13 months he STILL loves to run up to Dave and crawl in his lap to drink his sippy cup. Dave and I sharing the bonding time with Elijah was a beautiful experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. Breast might be best, but in our circumstance, knowing I gave my husband an opportunity to do what’s best for our son too makes me feel 300% better.

hugs!

I promise to be nice:

I had just the cheapest one you get at walmart that is battery and can plug into the wall. It was just a single unit, which was fine with me since I made so much milk I only nursed on one side per feeding. My one problem with it was that it pumped really slow (probably enough for some people), but with me, my milk let down and leaked out so fast, the sucking of it was really slow, even on the fastest mode, that it would take 15-20 minutes to empty a breast. I could nurse in under 5 so 15 minutes to me was long haha.

I only had a 6 week maternity leave (it was actually just an umpaid medical leave of absence) and once that was over, we figured a way for me to stay home for a few months so I quit that job. I did go back to work when my daughter was 5 months old, and I pumped a few weeks beforehand so I would have milk stored for when I started. I only got to pump 2 times a shift (my shifts were 16 hours) so by about 9 months I ran out of stored milk even though I could pump 6 ounces per breast. She would eat more than I made, and it was more hassle to pump than it was worth, so I switched her to cows milk and weaned her.

When I was pregnant, there wasn’t ever a thought in my mind to use formula. We couldn’t afford it, my mother and mother in law breastfed, as had my entire family. My daughter was the first grandchild on both sides, and in a way I didn’t want them to think I was neglecting my child since they all breastfed. Once we learned how, I never thought of using formula.

All three of my three closest friends used formula. The longest any of my friends breastfed was seven months. I was like an island for never using formula.

When you go back to work and have to pump, the one thing you have to have is amazing support behind you. La Leche League meetings are amazing for this reason. If it gets hard, you can either give up or keep going. Giving up is SOOOOOO much easier, but with the right support behind you, keep going and you won’t regret it.

Here is kind of a plug, but Postpartum Doulas are also an amazing resource for support. They are trained in breastfeeding and any time of postpartum thing, and can help IMMENSELY. Even if it means having an ear to listen, they are there.

Oh, and I would make sure to get a pump that you can enlarge the breast shields on. You never know how big you will get when your milk comes in. I was a small B and when my milk popped in I went up to double D.

Loved the post, and hope this didn’t sound opinionated 😉

Kelly says:

Okay, so I am in the throes of breastfeeding my twins right now which I do almost exclusively. They get about 80% breastmilk. It is just so much easier than making a bottle. If you consistently breastfeed/pump every 3 hours during the day for at least 20 minutes, you will most likely be able to produce plenty of milk. I know I could exclusively breastfeed, but I don’t for convenience sake.

If you are consistent, you most likely could breastfeed and then pump some extra after your baby is full, thus creating a supply for later when you go back to work. You will be surprised how much you can produce. Freeze the extra and I am sure you will create a back log so that your baby will have enough. When you are at work, you will know when you have to pump, believe me! By the time baby is 3 months old, you usually don’t have to feed every 3 hours and can go to a 4 hour cycle. Therefore, you would need to pump that many times at work, which could work out to 1-2 times.

Good luck. But hey, if you can’t make it work, don’t feel guilty about giving your baby a bottle. Any breast milk is better than none. And the Wal-mart brand formula is just as good as the name brand versions. My kids are all healthy as can be.

RUBY says:

Well after having two babies and only 2 1/2 months of breastfeeding combined I have to say that we can plan all we want and buy all we want but things change last minute. My advice is do just as you are for now RESEARCH it will help in the long run. Have the baby, breasfeed and go from there you can always buy a pump later. Especially since most places won’t let you return the pump. I purcahsed a very expensive platex one it had all the cool extras it worked but the reality of it is thing may not go as planned. My milk stopped coming in around the same time with both kids and I took the breasfeeding courses and had help and asked for help. Best of luck!
-a mommy who wished she would have had the chance to breasfeed longer 🙂

Okay, great research!!
But what you didn’t take into account was your milk supply, which you won’t know about until your milk comes in.
I had full intentions of breastfeeding for 6 months, or until he started teething, whichever came first. I had 2 months of maternity leave and was planning to pump in my car on my lunch breaks.
What I didn’t account for was the fact that I just didn’t produce enough. At each pumping I’d only get about 1-2 oz. and that’s using the Medela Pump in Style automatic pump (the one I recommend). I ended up breastfeeding for 6 weeks because of my low milk production.
Of course I believe my implants may have had something to do with my low milk production, but I have had a few friends that didn’t have implants and just didn’t produce enough as well.
Hopefully you will have an abundance of milk, and it won’t be an issue!
Breastfeeding is a wonderful bonding experience and I suggest doing it as long as you can!

Michelle says:

Great post and great comments.

Here is my advice:

-I agree with the comment about checking out books from the library and only purchasing the “best”. Nursing Mother’s Companion was a good one.

-Things don’t always go as planned. Despite several meetings with a lactation consultant and renting a hospital grade pump I was never able to get my son to latch on. She said he had a weaker sucking reflux than most babies and it was located further back in his mouth than my nipples were activating. I feed him pumped breastmilk for two weeks and then switched to formula. I could not emotionally and physically handle pumping and feeding every 2-3 hours. I couldn’t do both at the same time and each took 30-45 minutes so I was continuously either pumping or feeding. I was much less stressed once I gave it up. I was very upset I coud not breastfeed and will try again with my next baby.

-Since things change I would recommend waiting to buy the pump until after the baby is born. $200-$300 is a lot of money if you end up not being able to use it, despite your best efforts.

-Get support, get it early, get it often, and be patient, learning to breastfeed takes time. Some babies/moms pick it up quickly others take a few weeks to really get into a routine.

Best of luck!

Reading all the comments here would freak me out a bit if I was pregnant!

I think you have to bear in mind that around 95% of women are able to breastfeed. So the odds are on your side that you will be fine with it. That’s not to say that it will go without any hiccups or difficulties in the beginning, and it’s good to be prepared and learn about how to deal with them if they arise.

As for the pump, I didn’t get one with my first until he was around a month old and I decided to intro a bottle to let DH feed him once a day (in preparation for me going back to work at 6 months old) With #2, I was glad I had my pump as I was soo engorged at first and could relieve some of it. It’s nice to have one before birth, but not essential at all.

I nursed all three of the dudes for a year. The first one I bought a pump, not sure what kind, but it sucked (and not in the way O had hoped), but luckily it didn’t matter because I used it like twice (to alleviate pain) since he was exclusively breastfed from the, you know, the source and never took a bottle. #2 I got another pump that I was forced to use more, but pretty much hated b/c it was slow and took FOREVER to make one barely-useful-for-my-chunker-of-a-child 4 ounce bottle. But, I worked very little at the time and so that was all we required. #3 I had to go back to my job a little bit sooner (12 weeks) and when I was away it was for 10 hour stretches. So, I rented one from the hospital and it was AMAZING. I felt like I was at the dairy farm, which was perfect, and it milked both of those puppies in like 20 minutes flat. I had milk stored up in the fridge for weeks using that thing. It was so high powered I was afraid to turn it up to the max b/c probably woulda sucked the, uh Source, right offa my body. Only draw back was that it was huge, like a toaster oven and was annoying to tote around so it’s maybe not the most portable thing (plus it has to be plugged in), but for home use you really can’t go wrong with one of those. I work at the hospital and was luckily allowed to go to the birthing unit for pumping purposes so I’m not sure what to use if you are a portable milker. Sorry!

I went back to work when my first was 10 weeks old. I used a Medela but had issues with moisture and mold in the tubes (replaced them 3 times in a year) and only after I stopped pumping did I find out that I probably had mold in the motor unit as well b/c it’s not a closed system. So if I had to buy again I would go with the Almeda b/c of the whole mold thing- yuck!

There are also products that help you pump with your hands free. Check out MommyNewsBlog.com and AMothersBoutique.com for reviews and lots of tips about breastfeeding and working. Judy rocks!

Keya says:

I loved breast feeding. It’s like a special bond between you and your baby. I used the pumps too when I went back to work. The pump never captured as much milk as actuall breastfeeding does. But it was a good transition, and when I stopped at 5 months we slowly stopped so I didn’t have to deal with my breast hurting. I definatley will do it again.

greepfamily says:

If you want to make your nightimes easier, consider co-sleeping for the first few months. We have an Arm’s Reach co-sleeper pulled up to the side of our bed and it’s a god send. The baby sleeps right next to me and when she wakes up hungry, I just lean over, pick her up (while still lying down myself), pull her in next to me in our bed and feed her in the side-lie position. When she’s done, I sit up a bit, burp her, and lay her back in the co-sleeper. Neither of us really ever fully wake up, which is nice. It gets her — and me — back to sleep quicker when we’re finished. And because she’s next to me, her coos, lip smacking, and sucking wakes me up before she gets to the frustrated crying stage. (If I let her get to crying from hunger, I have to first sooth her back down to a calm state before she’ll latch on.)

Mommy Bee says:

I love my medela but its just the little hand pump cuz I don’t need to use it that often. by all means trust your research about which one to get–I’ve heard great thngs about the pump in style, but i’ve heard good things about aveda brand too. Whatever you do, stay away from evenflo–I heard it feels like your nipples are being pulled off!!

Get your hands on “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by La Leche League–I have just read it for the first time, and they’re not kidding when they call it the bible of breastfeeding. It has a big section about pumping and breastfeeding as a working mother. It will probably answer a lot of your questions.
I also recommend starting to go to your local LLL meetings now, while pregnant. The ladies there can answer a lot of questions for you before you get started, which can help prevent problems later on because you’ll know better what you’re doing. 🙂

Kelly says:

You know, you should check out this brand new product designed by moms (I saw it on my local news). It’s a Hands Free Pumping Bra, that’s comfortable, functional and even stylish: http://www.simplewishes.com/
Good luck!

Kelly
http://thepursuitofmommyness.com/

keyalus says:

I’ve been pretty much exclusively pumping since I had my son. I was pretty set on breastfeeding while I was pregnant. I didn’t expect to have a C-Section though. I was in pain from surgery. I was exhausted. The baby didn’t latch well so while he happily nursed I cried in pain. Then to top it off the baby wasn’t gaining weight properly. My pediatrician told me to supplement so he would get enough food. I decided to exclusively pump and give formula as needed. I had to go back to work after 6 weeks anyway.

Pumping is definitely hard work. I do it 3X a day at work and between pumping and dealing with the pump parts afterwards, I spend about 1/2 hour each session. I also pump before I leave for work and before I go to bed.

Pumping and then dealing with the bottles gets annoying but at least my husband can help with the feeding and the boy still gets some breastmilk. I don’t make quite enough for his daily needs so we are about 60/40 BM/formula. This helps cut down on formula costs quite a bit.

I have a Avent Isis Duo which works fine. I also rented a Hygeia (new company) hospital grade pump to see if it was better. I do pump more with the hospital pump. It costs me around $50/month from a local lactation consulting group (much cheaper than renting from the hospital and they reduce the rate for long term rentals). If I had to go back, I would have rented instead of buying even though it looks like a cheaper option initially.

Sorry for the novel!

Nichole says:

OK. I’m commenting as someone who has just had to make these decisions. I did a LOT of research before my son was born and chose the Ameda Purely Yours because of the “closed system” someone above referenced. This means breastmilk does not get into the components of the machine. Which also makes Ameda the ONLY returnable breast pump in the event that something changes with your breast feeding circumstances (baby is intolerant, etc.)

I saw two LCs while in the hospital. My son would not latch on the breast, had already been bottle/formula fed due to low blood sugar. The first LC took one look at my son and my nipples and immediately said “pumping is in your future” and got me a hospital grade Medela stat. I used it while in the hospital, and started out spoon feeding my son colostrum as a supplement to formula.

Eventually I was able to get him totally switched to breastmilk. It was hard at first because it was a lot of work to pump and bottle feed as opposed to breastfeeding. I continued to try to get him to latch without success. I gave up on the idea of getting an LC’s help to get him on the breast and resigned to pumping. Evenutally, my supply increased and now I have lots stored and am way ahead of him.

MORAL of the story: even if you have to pump exclusively (and pay $$ for a pump because you need it faster than the specials on the internet can get to you), it’s still better than formula.

TO ANSWER your questions:

-Ways to pump as much as I can while I’m on leave and save it for when I go back to work: After baby is finished feeding from one breast, pump the other and store it.
-Ways to pump at work when I don’t have a private office or much time to do so: I made nursing covers out of fabric that I LOVE. Also, Ameda Purely Yours comes with a car adapter so if all else fails, you can set up shop in your car.
-How to store milk best, and foods, herbs, things that can help with milk supply: I pump directly into bags to minimize transfers of milk between bottle, bags and back again. When I was barely keeping ahead of his needs, I looked into herbal supplements/teas, but could not find them in stores.
-How my husband can be involved in feedings at night so we can alternate if we choose to: have him wake up and hand you the baby, get you a glass of water, get you the boppy, burp the baby after feeding, etc. Once you start pumping, he can do the honors of introducing the occasional bottle so baby gets used to being bottle fed.

This comment is almost as long as your post. . . Hope it helps!

Nichole says:

About the Ameda: it’s only available online or at specific retailers. The hospital LC gave us a great referral for a local retailer, which came in handy, because I couldn’t wait to get it online like I had planned to do.

We ended up getting the Ultra, which was more $$, but hubby insisted. It was louder than I expected, but can’t really compare it to anything, so not sure if that’s normal or not.

I also recently purchased the Medela manual breast pump. I love it because it’s handier to take on short trips out. I put off buying it and ultimately decided it was best because I can just toss it in the diaper bag and not have to hook up to an outlet or power source.

Also, I mix and match Medela products with my Ameda pump. I used Medela bottles/nipples, and Medela pump & save bags (because I can pump directly into them).

Still prefer my double electric Ameda, though. It reliably gets the job done. I really wish the set had come with nipples the way Medela’s do. It was tough finding nipples that didn’t leak with the Ameda bottles/rings.

Can’t wait til you do a post on bottles. I’ve spent hours in that aisle trying to decide what’s best and figure out which ones won’t leak.

Jessie says:

Just a quick comment to let you know that, yes, formula is expensive, but many day cares provide formula free of charge while your baby is in their care. My twins were on a special high-calorie formula for preemies, so we had to bring our own for the first 9 months. We spent about $100/week total for this more expensive than usual formula–and that was for two babies! So formula might not be expensive as you’re thinking.

I don’t have any first hand experiecne on this topic, so I am not much help in that aspect, but I know you mentioned being able to feed in public and not feel like you’re exposing the girls, but also keeping you baby comfy. I have a promo code for a free cover from Uddercovers.com (you just pay for shipping) it’s usable as many time as you like, so you can make multiple transactions for different covers! I myself bought one for whenever I have a baby. (Just starting out TTC) I would happily forward the eMail I recieved. I thought I would at least mention it.

On another topic completely, I am new to the TTC blogosphere, do you have any advice on attracting people to my blog as well as my twitter? If you have any tips or trick, could you shoot them my way?

CreatingHackSpawn@gmail.com is my eMail if you want the Promocode eMail.

Wendy says:

Hi there,

I’d like to add a few things… and I apologize in advance if someone mentioned any of this in their comments as I did not read them all.

Just a note: of the $15-25 you spend on a can of formula, the contents are worth 25 cents and the rest is marketing. I could go on and on about how evil the formula companies are (especially Nestle) and the lies they tell the consumer, but I won’t. If you want to do your research, Google “Nestle boycott” and read up.

If you want to stockpile breastmilk for your return to work, start as soon as baby is born, every 2-3 hours, even at night. Feed the baby first, then pump to drain your breasts. Double pumping will result in more milk (and not just because you are pumping two breasts as opposed to one). Studies have shown that stimulating both breasts at the same time yields more milk overall.

When you return to work, if you can’t spend more time in the office (and pre-arrange with your employer to have a private room to pump in, with a plug, a comfortable chair and a small fridge), then pump in your car with a hands free bra. There are several on the market: Easy Expressions, Simple Wishes and my personal fave, PumpEase <---- available in fashion prints! Hands-free bras are a Godsend and will actually help you get more milk as you won't be "watching the clock" and stressing about the time. Stress can really affect your supply. If you can find the time in the office, perhaps you could borrow a laptop (if you don't have one) and write or edit while pumping. Another FYI – introducing even 1 bottle of formula a day can affect your supply. I never knew this, even with my second child and my milk dried up as a result. You are kind of shooting yourself in the foot if you really want to nurse. As far as breastfeeding help, the “Simply Breastfeeding” DVD by http://www.mybabyexperts.com is amazing. Shari is amazing! And for the best nipple cream EVER, check out http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com

P.S. Do you realize you have “paste” turned off? I had to type out all these url’s by hand 🙂

Hope this helps! If you have any other questions, let me know.

The experts on milk storage are the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. You can buy a fridge magnet with their guidelines for breastmilk storage here: http://www.PumpEase.com/buy/fridge-magnets/breastmilk-storage-guidelines

My husband always took the 10 pm feed (or thereabouts) after the baby was 4-6 weeks old (you should wait this long before introducing a bottle to avoid nipple confusion). It gave me a break to do what I wanted and he loved the bonding time.

Wendy says:

not sure why your blog rearranged those paragraphs to the end… but oh well, you get the drift 🙂

Wendy says:

Hi again,

I forgot to mention the Hygeia breastpump. Invented by a bunch of former Medela employees, it is the only “green” pump on the market and it ROCKS! http://www.hygeiababy.com

Cheers!

SuZ says:

I was lucky enough to breastfeed my daughter for 22 months. I also was lucky enough not to have to worry about pumping because I’m a SAHM. All I can say is that if it’s something you really want to do, make time for it. In the long run you’ll appreciate it and your baby will too. It’ll work out in the end. 🙂

sanjeet says:

Making it at least 6 months exclusively breastfeeding decreases the risk of both of those

Work from home India

Due to the cost of the pump it might be worth just waiting until baby is born, seeing how baby is on the breast. Make sure all is well. You are able to BF successfully – then make the decision on which pump to use. I know you said that you are going back to work after 3 months so this may or may not apply to you but I brought an Avent Pump – its manual and only about $100. Great pump but u have to have a good flow. But back to my point, I barely pumped. I would just feed my daughter as she wished and then pump if needed. You could maybe ask everyone to put in for the pump you want as a baby shower gift?
You will find that you will very rarely use the pump maybe only for night feeds and when you return to work. Another option (depends if you want you baby to have “some” formula?) you can but these small cartons on formula which are only around $2 each and you could use that for night feeds for your husband to feed baby? Saves wasting money on a whole tin of formula if your BF for the majority of the time.
Hope this helped somewhat. Congrats on the pregnancy. I am new to the blogging world. I have a 1 year old & about to TTC again!
Here is my link : )
http://www.eboniesmummy.blogspot.com

MoonWiseMama says:

For books, I highly recommend Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers. I’m a breastfeeding counsellor and doula and I’ve read all of them, and this is my current favorite. It’s a fabulous book!

http://bit.ly/7M1Tm4

Kate says:

I love the book “So That’s What They’re For!” Can’t remember the author but it’s a super-popular books and LLL would have it for you to check out, I’m sure.

After a few months, breastfeeding really doesn’t take that long. I wonder if the people that talk about how long it takes just didn’t nurse past a few months? Or maybe it depends on the kid. I don’t know, but I have three girls and the first one is the only one that ever nursed for 30 minutes. After a few months, she was down to 5. And my other two kids came out nursing for about 10 minutes and ended up nursing in 3-5 min. I only nursed 5-6 times a day. I love the newer Babywise book – my kids were such sweet and happy babies and slept through the night. They are still sweet and happy kids. =)

For me, brewer’s yeast works amazingly well to boost my milk supply. If I feel like I might have a problem, I can eat some before bed and be so ridiculously full in the morning, lol! I try to remember to eat it in the morning so I don’t have that problem. =)

kanishk says:

highly recommend Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers. I’m a breastfeeding counsellor and doula and I’ve read all of them, and this is my current favorite. It’s a fabulous book!

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Nicole Candy says:

I use medela symphony and it’s really very good for me, I think i would recommend it to everyone that i know, it’s really very good pump.

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.



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