I always knew that when my first baby was born that I would breastfeed her (if I was so lucky to have a healthy milk supply!) And I was. Abundantly lucky – in fact so lucky that I was producing nearly 100 ounces a day when my daughter was a month old. More than enough for triplets (and I only needed to feed one baby!) I battled with mastitis, I was in pain (blood, sweat, tears and breast milk…) Having this oversupply ended up being a huge blessing, but only after I fought through it and figured out what was going to work for me.
I made the decision to exclusively pump. I was able to control the supply and to have more control over my body. I was still able to create an intimate bond with my daughter because feeding her my milk in a bottle while we snuggled became one of the most relaxing, serene times of the day. My husband was also able to be involved in the feedings, which I was grateful for. And watching our daughter grow because the nourishment I gave her was enough to make me fall in love with my Medela.
For fun I figured out that all in all I made nearly 10,000 ounces (or a whopping 625 pounds of milk!!) for my daughter in her first year of life. That’s a lot of time spent with the good ol trusty Medela!
Fast forward another year later and my twins were born. Knowing that typically your body tries to make enough milk for however many babies you have, I knew there was a good chance I would face the same struggles early on (times two). I still remember hearing those dreaded words from the nurse, shortly after giving birth to my preemie twins, ‘Are you ready to start pumping?’ I was in fact NOT ready to start my love/hate relationship with my Medela again… BUT my babies needed to start growing and I knew it had to be done so I fired it up! And again, I was SO incredibly lucky to have a huge supply of milk for my two tiny babies. They immediately started to grow and I immediately developed mastitis. I made the decision that was right for me and vowed that I would be an exclusive pumper for my babies as long as I was physically able. Five months in and my babies are thriving, I have a routine and my trusty Medela hasn’t skipped a beat!
I’ve pumped in parking lots (outside of the Mall of America, in a spa parking lot while my sister pumped, too! My husband joked that we started our day at the spa with a ‘breast massage’…), on the interstate, in between USTA tennis matches (and stored the bag of milk in an empty tennis can during my match!), in a public restroom at O’Hare Airport (only to discover I left my iPhone sitting in the stall right as I was about to board my flight) and most recently in the parking lot at a cousin’s wedding. I’ve been lucky enough to find what works for me and what works for my children and my family. I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have a milk supply and that people can face different struggles – so it is most important to find what works for you. Being happy, healthy and present for our children should be our priority!
A few facts about pumped breast milk:
- It can stay good in a freezer for 6-12 months
- It can sit out at room temperature for 4-6 hours
- You can take it on an airplane (as much of it as you want), they will just ‘test’ it with a wand
- The more frequently you pump, the more milk your body thinks it needs to produce
- When you empty your breasts completely, your brain triggers signals to your body to make more
- Mastitis is caused by a clogged duct that gets infected so one way to help prevent it is to keep your breasts empty
- There are other methods for increasing or decreasing your supply – feel free to speak to an expert about those!