Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dear Sunflowerchilde

The question is: Why do I feel that pumping is harder than breastfeeding?

It was all hard for me. I'd had a breast reduction surgery 10 years prior to giving birth, but I think that had very little to do with the problems I had. I had a small baby with a weak suckle and some other factors that probably contributed to a compromised supply. For one thing, even with a sister who'd exclusively nursed 4 babies and a ton of help from 3 different LC's I still didn't know what I was doing. I didn't have the right information at the right time. There were so many things that I needed to know earlier than I knew them for me to have been able to utilize the information. There's a window for establishing supply and I made some big mistakes during that critical window.

You're having a good pumping experience so I don't want to put negative thoughts out there. However, since you asked, here's why I thought it was hard.

  • Breastfeeding almost never hurt me. Pumping did. I eventually had to get a larger flange, but before I figured that part out I got really sore.
  • I pumped almost every time I nursed for 12 weeks. I don't suppose this was any harder than nursing twins, but it sure did seem hard to me. Even doing both, once my supply dropped, I was never able to get it back up.
  • When I tried exclusive pumping, my supply dropped even more.
  • It's just uncomfortable. Having to lean forward and worrying about leaking out under the flange on the furniture... It's so absolutely worth the discomfort though.
  • I hated washing and sterilizing the pumping parts. I did get a great tip from an LC though. You can put the pump parts in a ziploc bag and store them in the refrigerator for 12 hours. This will get you through several pumping sessions without washing them. It makes a huge difference.
  • You can't take the pump to bed and nurse while you nap. I always had enough milk first thing in the morning so that I didn't have to supplement so I'd put her in bed with me and rest more while she nursed. Again, unless one twin kept sleeping, this wouldn't work for you.

She did develop latch problems because she was on a bottle from day one. I was able to correct the latch problems with a lot of work and using a wide mouth bottle. Also, when she was about 2 months old it seems like she just figured out what worked and what didn't. Babies are amazingly adaptable and so much smarter than we usually give them credit for.

I hope that you have great success no matter what you do. Breast milk is an amazing and living substance and gives your babies something that can't be replicated. Every drop they get is a gift and you're wonderful for working so hard and caring so much that they get it.


  1. Hey kiddo. Just wanted to let you know that I'm thinkin' of ya. Still around just not blogging so much. Hope you and sweet girl (and hubby and sweet cat) are all well and that you're enjoying your summer.


  2. Lisa, it's so good to hear from you. I think about you all the time. When you're ready, tell me what's going on. Kisses.

  3. Wow, thanks for the post! I see what you mean, now. Unfortunately, I think the downside of nursing twins outweighs the problems with pumping =( I wish I could nurse, and in fact I'm trying to get one nursing session in each day, but the babies both cry for more after I've nursed them for quite a while, and then will suck down an entire bottle, so it always feels like a waste. I don't sterilize after every use! I just wash in hot soapy water (is that what you mean?), or occasionally only rinse in hot water if it's been a short while since the last session. And I was lucky enough to have our local shop actually "fit" me to the pump, and got me the larger flanges to start with, but I can totally see how uncomfortable that would be.

    Nursing is still not going well. Aside from the "babies still being hungry" problem, they still have difficulty latching and they both will pop off and cry periodically. It's frustrating and heartbreaking. I'll probably keep working on it, but not with a goal of exclusively breastfeeding. Still, I'm not unhappy with the situation.

    Thanks for answering my questions, though!

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hi! I've enjoyed catching up on your story! I just love the name of your blog!