juggling pumping with everything else?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2010
juggling pumping with everything else?
5
Mon, 11-01-2010 - 10:34am

I am Mama to a beautiful 6.5 week old baby boy. We have struggled with breastfeeding since birth. I have worked to increase a low supply due to a rocky start (preterm, jaundice, and poor latch). After suffering through these 6.5 weeks in constant pain (clamping, gumming, raynaud's phenomenon, blocked ducts and blisters) I have decided to try EP. I am having a difficult time emotionally - a lot of ups and downs, back and forths - wanting so badly to give my son my milk and wanting to quit. I have a renewed determination after finding this site. I think the hardest part of EP is managing my sons care and a consistent pumping schedule and sleep. I would appreciate any suggestions/advice/stories about how others have maintained regular pumping schedules between/during feedings, care, sleep, and occasional Mommy only time?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-27-2010
Mon, 11-01-2010 - 12:49pm

Ive been doing it for 11 weeks and I still struggle with wanting to quit vs giving my baby the BM. Its not easy to be an EP mom but after a bit you get used to it and its ok. I actually got my LO used to the noise of the pump and now it makes her fall asleep lol I usually would feed and change her then lay her down within arms reach of me and start pumping. That way I could talk to her, play with her or at least be able to give her her paci if it fell out. Its definately a juggling act but it does get easier. I hate having to bring my pump to family parties and finding a private place to pump but I do it because I have to.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2009
Mon, 11-01-2010 - 12:59pm

Hi and welcome! Congratulations on your new baby.

These are the things I did to help EP while caring for a baby during the early weeks:

When baby seemed content for a few minutes (in the swing, in a bouncy seat, napping, drinking a bottle), I pumped. You don't have to spread out your pumps evenly throughout the day,

If it had been much longer than 3 hours since my last pump, I tried to set everything up at my pump station to keep my baby content for the next 20ish minutes. I brought out a bottle and her paci, and put her in her swing or in a boppy. I kept her swing and boppy next to my pump station. I would play soothing music from my laptop, and pump with her next to me. If she cried, I tried giving her a paci or her bottle. I didn't pump hands free back then, but still managed to hold the shields against my chest with one arm and manuever the other arm and a half (LOL) to care for her. With a hands free bra, it would be much easier to hold and burp your baby while pumping, but I hadn't yet invested in one.

There are instructions on kellymom about making your own hands free bra, or you can just cut slits in an old bra or tank top. You can also use nursing tank tops to pump hands free, but they're not quite as secure as a true hands free bra. I bought a Pump Ease, and it is definitely secure enough to hold my daughter, even now that she is 23 lbs and very strong and squirmy.

If you have a secure enough hands free system, you can fairly easily pump while driving. It seems intimidating at first, but very easy once you get started. I wish I had started doing that earlier in my pumping career. It would have been a good way to get in 2 pumps a day. If you have a big shirt, or a jacket, or shawl, you're well covered and no one knows that you're pumping.

At night, my husband and I took shifts caring for the baby. I assumed responsibility for a block of time, and anytime baby woke, I changed her diaper (unless I had done it within the last hour, of course), and then did as described above with the soothing music, paci, and bottle, and pumped while I fed her. In the boppy, with me right next to her, she always ate and then fell back to sleep while I pumped. Then, my husband assumed responsibility for the feedings for 5 hours so I could get some uninterrupted sleep at night. (That was our original plan, anyway. He was a deep sleeper so I ended up doing almost all the night care because he is a deep sleeper, and I was the first to hear baby cry. Except for the phases where she woke every 45 mins-1 hr, I felt like I might as well get up and pump again, and go back to sleep when she does. I mostly slept when she did.) On the weekends, my husband took her to visit his mother for a couple of hours so I could get a good nap and some mommy time. Because I took so much of the night duty, he was also very willing to watch baby for an hour or two during the week day evenings when I really needed a nap, or a warm bath, and some uninterrupted pumping time.

When your baby gets older and more interactive, it's easier to keep them content for a few minutes while you pump. They are more entertained by songs, toys, activity mats, etc. When they can hold their heads up well, an exersaucer is a great way to entertain them for a few minutes while you pump. When they're old enough, some activities or finger food in a high chair can keep them occupied for a few minutes while you pump, too. It gets a lot easier when they're older, because you have the hang of pumping and know your baby a lot better. You'll learn when are the easiest times to pump.

Good luck!

-Jenn

Mom to Ashley Elizabeth, born 11/3/09

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-05-2010
Mon, 11-01-2010 - 1:39pm

It is so hard at the beginning to work out a balance especially if you don't have alot of help. Your hormones are constantly fluctuating for the first few months post partum so emotional ups and downs are very normal even if you don't have to deal with additional issues that come with a preterm baby. At the beginning, EPing and nursing require the same time commitment, you will pretty much be chained to your baby and the pump for the first 12 weeks. EPing is harder than nursing in many ways but it will get easier over time.

To help yourself make pumping easier, there are lots of little things you can do. Going handsfree makes a huge difference. You can make a pumping bra by cutting little slits at the nipple of an old bra. (it should be a tight, supportive

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-14-2010
Mon, 11-01-2010 - 10:16pm

The first few weeks are definitely the hardest.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2010
Mon, 11-01-2010 - 10:21pm
I totally understand how you feel now. I'm sure all of us have been there in the beginning. You already got a lot of very good advise from our lovely ladies. Pumping hands free makes a world of difference, having your baby close to you (if there's nobody around to help), setting up a comfortable pumping station with everything you or LO might need while you're pumping. Trying to relax as much as possible will help with the let down. Getting extra pump parts and using the fridge trick (I just use a big plastic food container with the lid) will save you time washing. I was pretty much the only one taking care of DS since the beginning. The nights were especially hard, cause you have to get up to the baby, change, feed, then pump. Good if the baby falls right back to sleep, if not- then comfort him till he does, then back to pump. So not much left to sleep. All I did the first few months-and I'm not kidding- taking care of my son, pump and sleep. Since I only got a few hours total of sleep at night, I always slept during the day (if not pumping), when my son was sleeping. It helped a lot, because a lack of sleep affects your supply big time. As for the house chores- they could wait. The most important thing for you now is taking care of your LO and getting some rest yourself! It really does get a lot easier with time, you will be able to drop pumps after 12 weeks, your son will get bigger and it will be easier to entertain him. It kind of just becomes a part of a routine, and you get used to it. Just take it day by day, and hang in there! I also found a new inspiration after finding this site (unfortunately it only happened 4 months pp), because nobody around me though it was possible to produce milk long term without a baby actually nursing (which my son never did). Even my own mom was telling me that I would dry up before 4 months. Didn't happen! ;))) this board is a great place to come for support and advise! Good luck!