Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Pumping Life


It's not my favorite mommy duty. But of course, I'll do anything for baby!

I had a lot of luck with breastfeeding and pumping in the beginning. I had a great supply, and I found that I was quickly filling up the freezer with baggies of liquid gold.

But then it occurred to me, why am I pumping all of this if I am not going back to work? I don't need a giant stash! I did a lot of reading on breastfeeding and all the ins and outs about it. I read that my body will produce exactly the right milk for what Ava needs at each stage in her life. The right amount, the right chemical make up for what her body and brain needs at that was really interesting to read about that. It's like our bodies are in sync with each other, even though she is not in my belly anymore! So then what was I going to do with all the milk I pumped in the first 2 months or so of her life? It wasn't what she needed anymore. "Newborn" milk would not be right for her as an almost 5 month old. Would it be filling enough? Have enough calories in it?

So I quit pumping.

I was only pumping after her first feeding of the morning, so it's not like it was a big adjustment. I had a little bit of leaking in the early hours of the morning that no longer happened once my body adjusted to the dropped pumping session. So that was nice!

Jump forward 2 months...and I wanted Ava to be able to have a bottle once in awhile so I could have the opportunity to go to the gym and drop her off with a friend, or have a date night, or have the flexibility of daddy being able to feed her once in awhile too. So I started pumping again.

And I wasn't getting much. Like half an ounce combined from both sides. I knew I wouldn't get nearly as much as before, but it was disappointing. But my body quickly adjusted after about 36 hours of pumping after each of her daytime feedings. So after several pumping sessions, I had enough for a feeding for her. I tried to give it to her, but she wouldn't take it. I passed her to daddy, and she still didn't take it. So I had to pour it out. Major sad face. (Oh, I forgot to mention that we tried to give her milk from the freezer...and she's been flat out refusing it! So my theory was to try fresh milk.)

Sigh. Lesson learned...don't stop giving a breastfed baby a bottle! Now she had to relearn to take it. The next bottle she didn't take, either. For the third bottle, I had minimal interaction with her after she woke from her nap and I quietly disappeared outside so daddy could give her a bottle. I only put an ounce and a half in the bottle, and she sucked it down! Yay baby!! I decided that one feeding per day should be from a bottle so she could stay used to it. Not to mention that we are not too far down the road from sippy cups...crazy! It would be helpful for her to know how to drink from something other than, well, me! For her bottle today I disappeared into the garage and she took a 5 ounce bottle from daddy!! I let her nurse and she only took a couple of drinks, so I'm thinking 5 ounces is plenty for her.

So I'm back in the pumping game! Obviously, I will have to pump for the session that she is getting the bottle. Since pumps are not as efficient as Ava is at getting milk out, I will have to pump another time during the day to get the full 5 ounces. So I will either pump after she goes to bed or after her first feeding in the morning.

In case you are in the market for baby bottles, I recommend Dr. Brown brand. One, because they allow for the least amount of air to be sucked in baby's mouth, and two, because they fit Medela breast pump accessories!! How awesome is this:

You can pump directly into her bottle! And you can use the Medela tube lids for the bottles until you are ready to feed little baby! Such a perk!

So now, my kitchen counter looks like this again:

The only negative thing I have to say about the Dr. Brown bottles is that there are a few more parts to clean. And we always seem to have something in the sink, so I worry about gross things lingering while I hand wash her bottles and pump parts.

Dishes from making eggs this morning.

So I made my own little washing station. And boy, I do mean little!

I just use a small container and fill it with soapy water. I rinse each piece well first, then let it sit in the soapy water for a bit while I use the bottle brush to clean each part. I give it a hot rinse and then it's off to the drying rack!

I love this drying rack. You can fit any kind of piece on it! I really like this bottle brush with the suction cup on the end, too. 

And guess what...Ava HELD her bottle during her feeding. Not the whole time, but for part of it! This girl has had so many "firsts" this week! I'm still in shock:

*Pushing her chest up with her arms during tummy time (becoming proficient at it)
*Rolling from back to stomach
*Pushing herself backwards across a room
*STANDING with a prop (her piano table)
*Holding her bottle

...I mean, it has been something new practically every day this week! She's been taking some longer naps too (don't get too excited for me; she maxed out at 45 minutes, and took one 1-hour nap in the car), so I can tell she's got a lot going on in her little brain!

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