Monday, July 29, 2013

Exclusive Pumping is No Joke

(If you are tired of the breastfeeding posts, feel free to skip!) :)

Before the boys were born, I knew I wanted to give breastfeeding a better shot than I did with the girls.  Well, I gave it what I had and here we are.  Exclusively pumping.  I BF Elliott in the morning, and sometimes at night depending on who's crying but most of their breast milk comes out of a bottle, and not straight from the cow.

Today I realized that what I'm doing is almost harder than if I were just BFing.  I have to feed both of the boys, and then still pump, wash all the bottles, wash all the pump parts, all of which takes time. A lot of time.  It sucks when the boys are in the swing, bouncy, or pack n play out of reach crying and I'm sitting on my couch pumping.  I can get up and go get them, but can't bend at the waist with my pumps on because the milk will spill out.  Some days I have to put on a movie or a show that the girls like to watch while I'm pumping just so I can keep them from pulling the tubes out of the pump 100x.   I don't like to have them watch tv, but sometimes it has to be done.

It takes time and energy to feed your baby in whichever way you choose.  Breastfeeding takes time, bottle feeding, formula feeding, pumping..... Every mom has to choose what works best for the babies and best for the whole family.  Some days I wonder why I am attached to my pump for roughly 15-20 hours/week.  But then when I think about it, its like my job.  Right now I am a SAHM and my job is to take care of my babies.  I do have the time to pump, and right now its part of my routine and I don't hate it as much as I did when I was trying to work full time, pump, and take care of my girls after work.

I am proud of the fact that I am making at least 75% of the milk they need.  I wish it were 100%, but its not, and I have no idea how I can do anything else to increase my supply.  (Besides pumping 10x/day which I really don't have time for!!)  Its been hard to say the least, but I'm glad that I made this decision, and that I am going to keep on with it for as long as I can stand it.  Perhaps I am still holding out for some miracle in that both of the boys will breastfeed and we will live happily ever after, but I really know that's not going to happen.  It is what it is, and perhaps by keeping hope alive, I won't just up and decide to quit anytime soon.

And just so I remember how crazy things are, here's an example of what our daily schedule looks like with all of the crazy feeding/pumping.

6:00 a.m. Bottle Feed Oliver
6:30: Wake Elliott up, breastfeed Elliott
6:45: pump and go back to bed
8:00: Get breakfast started (Steel cut oats take 30 minutes!) Get girls out of bed and feed girls breakfast
9:30  bottle feed Oliver, bottle feed Elliott and pump
11:00: Put girls down for a nap
12:00-Pump & do mindless activity such as surf the internet or watch tv.  I find I get more ounces out of pumping if I can do it while I'm distracted!
1:00- bottle feed Oliver and Elliott
1:30: Take a nap or get something done around the house
2:00/2:30- Get the girls up from their nap, cook and feed lunch.
3:30: Pump again
4:00: Bottle feed Oliver and Elliott
6:00: Figure out what's for dinner!! Sometimes I cook and sometimes Brian cooks
6:30: Pump yet again!
7:00: Feed the girls dinner
7:30-8:00: put the girls to bed, bottle feed the boys and rock them (or nurse) to sleep.
9:30-10:00: Pump again!  Sometimes I try to pump for an hour so that I don't feel guilty sleeping for 8 hours!
3:00 a.m. I have an alarm set every day for 3:15 a.m. so that I can pump... most days I turn it off, but some nights I get up.

This is obviously a rough timeline for what goes on in our day.  I try to pump at least six times/day but sometimes that doesn't happen depending on what we have going on.  And there you have it!


Juanita Dorrington said...

I have to say I agree with you, pumping and bottle feeding has to be the most work of any feeding option. Yes breastfeeding takes time and yes bottle feeding takes time, but you are actually doing both. You feed the pump, feed the boys and have to clean all of that up. It is hectic. I found it very overwhelming some days and I didn't have two toddlers to deal with at the same time.
Have I told you how in awe I am of how you manage to cope?
You have made a choice, the choice that feels right for you and your boys and you are going with it, but it is okay to say how hard that is to maintain.

AletaObrien said...

My baby was preterm and I was warned he might not have the ability to suck. We tried countless times at the hospital. He lost too much weight and had to be given the bottle, but I was also pumping. The nurse told me, "I admire women who have to pump. It's a lot of work. It's frustrating." I was only able to pump for 1 month before my supply dried up, thyroid issues are the culprit. You are doing an excellent job! You should feel proud!!