Pumpin' Ain't Easy

Jennifer Johnson

Posted By: Jennifer Johnson

I didn't grow up around breastfeeding moms. In fact, I grew up making formula bottles for my little sisters.

My first week back at work was a success. I pumped enough every day for the next day, and on my last work day of the week I froze what I pumped. This week, however, has been an entirely different story.

This week, I have only pumped enough for the following day once, and that's because I hadn't fed my baby all day, and I wasn't able to express much from the manual pump I brought with me on an out-of-state day trip.

When I got home that night my daughter was already asleep and I was so relieved to pump 11 ounces using my double electric.

That was a hard couple of days. I went something like 32 hours without seeing my daughter awake. I think it did a number on my supply too because today I only have pumped 3.5 ounces so far (not even enough for two bottles) when normally I pump between 5 and 7 ounces at a time.

I hope this doesn't mean my supply is going down. Or if it does, I hope it's repairable by my getting back into my usual pumping routine.

I have to admit, pumping is getting awfully annoying. When I miss a pumping session at work and need to make up for it at home, I regret not being able to just enjoy the time nursing her. Instead I have to pump one side while she eats, or squeeze in a pumping session while she's napping, or playing in her swing near me. I miss just being in the moment.

It's hard stepping away from work to spend 30 minutes hooking up my pump, pumping, and then cleaning my equipment and storing my milk after -- twice a day (if I want to keep my supply up and have enough for the next day).

I'm burning through my freezer stash this week. I hope I can put a stop to that soon. I'm proud of my stash and hope to keep it around as long as possible. Maybe starting oatmeal in a month or so, and food soon after will help hold her over if I'm not pumping enough. Or perhaps I can nurse her when I'm at home, and supplement when I'm at work if we run out. I don't know. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

It stresses me out thinking I may not always be producing enough for her. My husband tells me I need to calm down but he just doesn't understand. It's like my pride would be hurt. Feeling like I've gone so long being her only food supply, then having to give up that title. I didn't think I'd be one of those people who felt guilty needing to supplement with formula but I know I surely will feel that way if that day comes.

It's hard. It's hard making the commitment to exclusively breastfeed. I'm not going to lie. It's not easy. Well, not if you have an erratic schedule as working-out-of-home mom like myself. Obviously I can't speak for everyone.

But I'll keep doing it. At least for now. Because I love how after a crazy 12 hour work day, I can come home, plop on the couch, and let my daughter snuggle in my arms and nurse. It forces me to slow down, and just be with her. And I know when these moments are over I'll miss it.

I'd like to exclusively breastfeed at least until we make it to solids, but I'm beginning to worry that won't be possible. If you've been where I am now and have any tips I'd greatly appreciate them!

2:58pm on Wednesday October 27


Brie H
2:54am on Sunday October 31

I don't know if this would work for you but everytime I was tempted to give up I took a walk down the formula isle and the price of formula gave me motivation to press through and of course my husbands encouragement. Have you ever spilt the milk? I dropped a few full 5 oz bottles and yes I cried over spilt milk!!

6:42pm on Wednesday October 27

I would carefully consider your baby's first foods. Mild fruits and veggies are better than the processed cereals (sweet potatoes, avacodo, ect).

6:25pm on Wednesday October 27

Just 2 more months til you get to the 6 month mark. You can do it!

Wendy Kaufman
3:57pm on Wednesday October 27

I'm right where you are, mama! I've been working 50 hours a week and pumping for about 9 months. There are tough times, but determination is everything. I just found out DH has used my freezer stash without telling me, so I don't have any. Now I have to increase supply and restock. Ugh. Oh well, my son's first birthday is in about a week, and I've never been more proud of any accomplishment in my life. My next goal is to nurse until 18 months so we get through flu season. I 100% understand your troubles with this, so if you ever need an ear, @ me at @ABCGP!

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