Thursday, January 29, 2009

Breastfeeding with *just* breasts

I must throw this in: from Mama-Is (Hathor the Cow Goddess)
I dont pump either. I tried it a little when baby#2 was born. you see, the grandparents were so gung ho about "babysitting" our firstborn, that I thought, ok, Ill go for this. I could use a little date with Steve. So when I was super engorged with a sleepy post-surgery newborn, I got a little handheld Isis and I tried. It kind of worked but I hated the whole thing. Bent over trying to look up the barrel of the tubing at the end of my boob to see if milk was coming out while the actual live baby screamed and howled red faced on the floor beside me seemed and was, ridiculous. I put a few little bags in the freezer and the baby sitters never ended up happening ; ) I guess the prospect of watching TWO was too much. I think I used the milk to bottlefeed Mickey over my shoulder in the backseat of the car while driving (safe!). He was a very scream-y baby.

I dont pump. All of my baby's breastmilk comes right from me. Its not a militant stance, its just how we do it. Every feeding she has ever had has come from me. I dont get the assumption that we must pump. I know I am in the vast minority but I just dont really have any interest. Or maybe when I have a little bitty baby, I just dont have anywhere to go that seems that urgent that I would do all that and sit there all engorging and worried.

Im not judging anyone and obviously moms who go to work outside the home who pump too are amazing. Moms who go on cool outing, dates, engagements and even trips are probably doing better mentally. But I was smiling to see Mama-Is post this simple little comic. There are a few mommyland things that I have never ever felt kindred with anyone about and this is one of them. Anyone else not pump for an exclusively breastfed baby?


Jill said...

I pumped in the beginning for Jacob because I was so insanely engorged, and I also assumed I would have to go back to work soon. Then that darn ol' economy crashed and I couldn't find a job. So all the milk sat in my freezer. And Jacob wouldn't take the bottle anyway. So now I am making baby food with it for our venture into solids in the near future.

I stopped pumping once the supply evened out, except for one night where one breast was mysteriously engorged, so I pumped it just for comfort. So other than the few drops he got from a bottle before he decided that such a thing would NEVER DO, he gets it all from me.

Judit said...

Joy, I'm sure the breast pump manufacturers would have you believe you are in the minority of nursing moms. But I for one am not convinced you are. If I take a mental survey of the breastfeeding mothers I personally know (as opposed to those who report such things on mommy boards, a very self-selecting set) most only own a pump but hardly ever use it, many don't own one, and I can't think of a single person who had long-term success with regular pumping while at work FT. One person comes to mind who managed for a few months perhaps? I think the manufacturers at least got us all to buy one of their gadgets. I actually owned 4 different kinds, to no avail.

I would have loved to maintain my supply via pumping but my breasts just don't work that way. I suspect I am more typical than the breastfeeding supplies companies want us to believe. I can only express when engorged. My supply is also very quick to adjust downward, and I've only experienced engorgement in the 3 months PP (or with mucho galactogogues). By the time I was back at work full time (at 8 months) all I could get was a few drops. I shed a lot more tears than the volume of milk I managed to collect.

I would LLLOVE to see an actual study on this.

Kelley said...

I used to pump every morning when Josh was a baby, but that was because I was donating the milk, not because I needed to. I have a pump, but I use it VERY rarely now. As in, to even things out when she was a newborn and I was so engorged I couldn't see straight, and when in a couple weeks when I go to a 3 hour class (1/2 an hour away) on childcare (I find it hilarious that I have to go to a class when I already have 4 kids) at which kids are not allowed. Other than that, I don't think I'll ever use it again.

p.s. Mine's an Isis, too.

Anonymous said...

I also pumped for my first a few times so I could provide the 'requisite' EBM for my partner to bottle feed a few times.

But it just all felt wrong to me and I really hated the pump. I never touched it with my second.

I had an intimate relationship with a hospital grade pump my 3rd and 4th who were twins for three months while I worked out some supply issues.

I was then happy to ditch it and never touched it again.

I also don't feel I know many moms who breastfed a baby who never ever used a bottle (except for my LL sisters)

Melodie said...

I think we've all had these discussions amongst our friends and blog sisters, but just imagine the enormous dedication of the new mother of the octuplets in California - I mean yikes already! Pumping for Octuplets

Jennifer said...

Yeah, that was the way it was for me too with my older daughter, Isabella who is 4. I was so confused by the Lactaion Consultant at the hospital...she was asking me how many times I pumped and I was like, "Zero times, I've just been nursing the baby...she's my own real live pump". They darn near forced me to rent the pump, which I never used, and returned 3 days later. I tried to pump a couple of times so we could go out and I never got more than 2 oz. (which she would never take anyway).

So fast forward 2 years later with my youngest who was born without the ability to suck or swallow. I had to make fast friends with the breast pump, and all was well for awhile. Then after a couple of months the milk production just stopped. Done. And after awhile I hated that stupid breast pump. I so wished that my 2.5 year old hadn't weaned, that way I could have kept it up! But exclusively pumping totally sucks (no pun intended). I know of people that do it and are able to keep it up and my hats are off to them; it's a lot of work.

But that's it. It's funny to me that both my girls' experiences were so opposite. We are done having kids, but sometimes I want another one just to be able to nurse again (among other things too). There was awhile when I never thought I would say that I miss those middle of the night nursing sessions.

AzĂșcar said...

With my first I pumped when I went back to work, but just twice a day. I hung up the horns when he turned 12 months and we went to exclusive breastfeeding until he self weaned.

With my second, I didn't pump a bottle until he was 10 weeks, and only pumped once while I was gone at work. That lasted for maybe two more months until the little stinker decided that he'd rather wait to eat until mom got home, thank you very much. Gotta love reverse cycling. So when he was about 5 months we went back to exclusively breastfeeding.

Now that I type this I realize how backwards my experience was from most Americans. Instead of going to just pumping or bottles at 5 months, we went back to nursing from the tap. Kind of funny to think about.

It KILLED me to pump for them because I would rather have been nursing from the tap. However, we had to keep a roof over our heads (stupid mortgage,) and I made the firm decision to pump if I had to.

I was SO HAPPY to get back to exclusively nursing. I wish it had been an option for our whole experience.

AzĂșcar said...

If you'll forgive the anecdotal response: I worked full time and pumped for his first 12 months. I have three friends who also worked full time with me and also pumped at least 12 months.

It takes some dedication and planning ahead, but it can be done (as long as the pump is decent.) You have to be religious about keeping up your pumping routine, paying special attention to times when baby is having a growth spurt, sometimes pumping extra on weekends and tandem pumping first thing in the morning.

BLECH. So much easier to just nurse the baby. I hope I never have to use a pump again. I'm crossing my fingers that my next baby will be able to be *just* breasts.

funpaul said...

There is a short piece in last week's New Yorker about the evolving and incoherent state of law and custom regarding breast pumping:

Niecey said...

With my eldest, I pumped a few times and froze it, because I thought that's what breastfeeding mums are supposed to do. I never ended up needing the milk, so I used it to cook with! (baby food)

After that I got rid of the pump and 3 kids later, I've never regretted getting rid of it. I've never fed my babies a bottle of anything, ever. Not that I think it's wrong to or whatever, but the boob is so much more convenient. I have no desire to leave the house without the kids to go on a date or whatever. DH and I have "dates" when the kids are in bed at the weekend, in the kitchen or livingroom. Much more comfy and cheaper than going to some restaurant while a stranger puts my kids to bed.

So anyway, no pumping here and I'm quite content with how it's working out.

David said...

Not only that, I don't pump for my exclusively fed twins! Only if I have a birth coming up. Otherwise, I just feed them. Pumping is a chore and I hate it. Plus then I almost always have oversupply I have to battle because I don't like to pump every day.

Sort of related! I went to a funeral out of town and only took one baby (Claire stayed and got donated milk--woman, I'm not taking two babies on a plane by myself!!!). I forgot my breast pump! If I ever had ANY doubt about how much milk is in there......wowsers. One massive case of mastitis later I'll never do that again. I should have bought one as soon as I landed but I figured I had one baby with me and I was only going to be there a little over 36 hours. Ha. Not.

CNH said...

Hahaha! That last post was from me Joy. Dave was signed in. heehee

Leigh said...

I have a 19-month old who is a voracious breastfeeder and I have never pumped a single time (or expressed). I feel very lucky not to have had to.

Amber said...

i don't have kids yet, so take this with a heap of salt, but it never actually occurred to me to pump for an exclusively breastfed baby (outside of mama needing to work or what have you). i guess i'm weird. either that or this is just one of those "childless, what the heck do i know?" moments.

Heather, Adelaide Australia said...

I pumped so my older daughters (twins, 2 1/2) could have some of "mummies milk" ;o) My baby is now 12 months old, has never seen a bottle, or had expressed milk in a cup either. Nor are there any plans to. She doesn't sleep either and depends on the breast to help her sleep. I'm constantly being harassed by all and sundry that I MUST have "time out" away from my baby and leave some milk for someone to babysit etc, but, I don't want to! Simple. Always frustrates me that everyone thinks they know what I need more than I. She is but dependent on me for such a short time, what's the hurry??

Krysta said...

I pumped a bit when I was in the *super engorged early days* after my little guy was born. And all those precious bags of milk have been in the freezer for 10ish months and are probably not any good anymore. :-(

My first little nursling went from me to formula. :-(
My second 2 babies only got/get it straight from the tap. And we are all perfectly happy that way!

I really admire moms that have the patience and determination to be hooked up to a milking machine for hours and hours a day. I don't know that I could do it.

Brooke said...

Kudos to everyone who never pumped! I wish I were in that boat with you. But, after a rocky start -- very delayed milk production (thank you very much c-section, post-parum hemorrhage, and low hemoglobin) -- I desparately relied on a pump to get things going.

After 12 weeks, I had to go back to work. At 20 months, I still pump once per day. The truth is I hate pumping. I hate it. It sucks. But, it is THE reason I'm still breadtfeeding my baby. She's had no mill but mine and the last formula was at two months old.

Stacey said...

I have been very fortunate to not have to work outside the home since I was pregnant with my first. I was able to fend off the "pump and we'll babysit" pleas (sometimes rather rudely!) for all my babies.

I did not get help in time with my first in the breastfeeding department (8 years old), and by the time I did, we had already started supplementing our tiny 5.12 down-to-4.4, sleepy-losing-weight-quickly-would-only-nurse-in-the-bathtub baby, adding a bit of safflower oil to add some fat/weight. (Ped and sweet, determined LC advised to make her formula to be 22cal instead of 20cal, added 1/3 teaspoon oil to 3 ounces formula, and we stopped the 22cal/oil at 4 months) I kept offering her the breast until she flat out refused to latch at 5 weeks, pumped with a rented Lactina every 2-3 hours, day and night, for 3 months. At the end of the day I would have a measly 2 ounces to add to her bottles. So much for determination. LOL

With my second, advised by a wonderful, caring, supportive, lovely LC, I pumped, if I was lucky, a couple ounces a day to finger-feed him with, to try and pick up his weight (8.8 at birth, down to 7.10, took 9 weeks to get his birthweight back...tried finger feeding for 3x/week for 4 weeks with added safflower oil, did nothing for him) and at 7 months he weighed a measly 12 pounds. But he was healthy, growing, and meeting milestones. He nursed exclusively from that time on until 9 months until starting solids, and self-weaned at 22 months, 3 weeks before his brother was born. He is now almost 5 and 61 pounds, lol. So much for not wanting to grow!

With my 3rd, (he was a slow-to-gain baby as well, by now we know that's just how my kids are, but healthy all the same) I pumped a few times (still getting 2-3 ounces at the end of the day!) just to have the BM to make breastmilk butter. :) The hospital gave me a neat Medela manual that worked better than my Isis, so why not. Once again started solids at 9 months, he self weaned at 22 months.

I don't think I'll bother pumping with any more babies. My breasts know the difference. I am not a good pumper. And that breastmilk butter takes a heck of a lot longer to shake into butter than it does to pump, and is GONE in the blink of an eye ;)

My best friend pumped for her first 2 kids when she returned to work. They each had a bottle of BM once a day, and she had GALLONS, seriously, of breastmilk in her deep freezer. One weaned at 9 months, the other at 7 months when she was hospitalized. Her body doens't care what takes the milk out, as long as it leaves, lol. Her youngest is 11 months, exclusively BF, she has not pumped for her at all, and she still deals with leaking and engorgement every day.

Peggy said...

I had to pump (and supplement, ugh!) in the beginning because my milk was slow to come in and my baby needed it to get rid of her jaundice. It was no good for me, because I was quite anemic and in no shape to be running down the stairs to the fridge for bottles every feeding. I learned to hate the pump then, and I've refused to pump ever since.

I don't think I would have been able to maintain a milk supply if I had been away at work with only a few pumping sessions during breaks. This is the problem I have with people with pushing pumping, especially for work: milk supplies vary, and some moms have to work harder at breastfeeding than others.