Today we are excited to feature Laura Deznan of @theexclusivelypumpingmom. She is sharing with us her experience with exclusively pumping, donating milk as well as her top 3 tips for pumping moms.
Exclusively pumping (or EP) is when a woman uses a breast pump to express milk for their baby. They then bottle feed that milk to their little one. They never bring the baby to their breast to nurse. It is often referred to as bottle nursing.
Why I chose to exclusively pump
Many moms wonder why anyone would want to exclusively pump. it’s time consuming and exhausting. Leaving the house for more than a few hours requires you to pack up your pump and supplies. I actually made the choice to EP. Many mothers make this decision due to medical issues. Some have a baby with a cleft palate or who is in the NICU, and not strong enough to nurse. I personally did this due to my oversupply.
My body quickly made an oversupply with my daughter and I realized after nursing sessions I still felt full and uncomfortable. I decided to pump for relief and was shocked with how much better I felt. I started giving my daughter pumped milk and she did great with it. She was happy, sleeping well and meeting all of her milestones. I tried to do both, but pumping after each nursing sessions became too much for me. I was working full time and my husband was working nights, something had to change. I decided to try out exclusively pumping since we were not nursing much once I was back at work 6 weeks postpartum.
Donating my breastmilk
I was able to pump a significant amount of milk. Soon my freezer was full and we decided to invest in a deep freezer. I had been blessed with more milk than my daughter needed and I ran out of room! I found a baby in need who I donated 2,000 oz to. We kept 3,000 oz since we were coming up on a year and I was starting to wean from the pump. I knew the 3,000 oz would get my daughter close to 2 years on breastmilk.
We struggled with clogged ducts and several bouts of mastitis. It was absolutely worth it though. I figured out Lecithin was a great supplement to prevent clogs which helped me out significantly. Luckily those were my biggest hurdles and we overcame them one day at time.
I learned a lot during my experience as an exclusively pumping mom, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I was able to reach my breastfeeding goals (while working full time) and then some with my trusty pump by my side. I had my husbands support the entire journey and was able to donate to a baby in need as well as my niece and my cousins new arrival!
Here are my top 3 tips for exclusively pumping moms:
- Pump parts only need to be washed once daily. Put your parts in a ziplock bag and refrigerate parts between pumping sessions! Wash the parts at the end of the day! You save yourself a lot of time and energy.
- If you see a dip in supply, don’t panic. It is most likely your pump, not you. Check all of your pump parts- especially the membranes. The membranes have to be changed every few weeks and can make a huge difference in your output.
- Stay hydrated! You have to hydrate to lactate- so keep water on you at all times!
Breastfeeding looks different to everyone, mine just involved a breast pump! Exclusively pumping was by far the hardest, yet most rewarding thing I have ever done for another person. I would gladly do it all over again!
Thank you Laura for sharing your experience! What has been your experience with pumping?
Also check out my top 5 tips for keeping up your milk supply when returning to work. To learn more about pumping and storing breastmilk when separated from baby, check out our breastfeeding video classes, including our class Pumping and Storing.
I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.
The bra (Simple Wishes) and shirt (Undercover Mama) in these photos are some of our favorite products. Use code “LLINK” for 20% off.
Photos by Janae Kristen.