Those of you who are following us on our social media channels will know that we have been exclusively pumping. This is a decision which we made in the best interests of my health, our daughter and our family. I’m not saying this was an easy decision, in fact it was an incredibly tough decision to make and I did not realise the impact that this decision would have, but if someone confronted me with the same decision again then it would have the same outcome. Every time. I would be exclusive pumping.
I haven’t yet shared Molly’s birth story on my blog; perhaps this is something which I will do when I get the chance to sit down and write about it (it wasn’t really very interesting to be honest anyway), but I have spoken about the complications which we had with breastfeeding to some degree. A few days ago I did a Q&A on exclusive pumping (you can read that here), because lots of you were asking questions about our journey, but I thought I would expand that post and specifically talk about our exclusive pumping journey.
Embarking on this journey has been something of a rollercoaster. A rollercoaster of emotions, a rollecoaster of finding our feet in the exclusive pumping world and a rollercoaster start to our parenting journey. The hardest thing was watching our daughter struggling with breast feeding. When you become a parent, you automatically assume that breast feeding is going to be easy; it’s the most natural thing in the world after all. But Molly would sit and chew on my nipple for ages, barely getting any milk and then just become upset. Initially I wanted to persevere, and we did to begin with. We spoke to midwives, health visitors, breast feeding specialists.. who all gave us their input into making our breast feeding journey easier, tips and tricks to help Molly latch. Everyone thought that they had the solution. But none of it worked.
At day 5, Molly had lost 7% of her birth weight. By day 10 her weight still hadn’t increased. My nipples had become cracked and sore to the point where I was crying at the thought of trying to latch Molly on and that was when we knew something had to change. We had tried giving Molly some formula milk to settle her whilst she learnt to breastfeed, but a bottle of formula was proceeded by 3 hours of Molly screaming, arching her back, and seeming in pain; which was harder to watch and then it dawned on me that there was another option.
Anyway, so that’s when I made the decision to start exclusively pumping and I haven’t looked back for the past month. Well, I say that I haven’t looked back.. Jesus christ, it’s been tough. My mental health has been all over the place and I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect it to have this kind of an effect on me. I’ve felt like an imploding ball of emotion, crying at random times, stressing at pointless things and laughing when I don’t know what else to do with all these emotions. I think that I have felt every possible emotion on the human spectrum. I’ve gone from feeling absolutely euphoric, to feeling completely depressed in the space of about 10 minutes. I’ve said it countless times, but this thing is HARD.
Since being an exclusive pumper, at times I’ve felt like I am the only one out there. Pumping in the pitch black in the middle of the night so that you don’t wake your family up is lonely. I’ve recently taken to coming downstairs with my pump, bingeing on Netflix documentaries and eating lots of snacks can’t be good for my health; but it keeps me going whilst I’m pumping at random times of the night. I’ve seen hours of the day which I have never seen before. I honestly think that exclusive pumping is harder than having a newborn baby; it takes up more of my time and energy than anything else at the moment! And that is the honest truth. And then there’s the WIFI bill. The hours and hours which I have spent googling and researching exclusive pumping. The information out there is pretty limited, especially from a professional point of view. Your best chance of finding information comes from blog posts, and facebook groups, which have been an absolute god send during these past 4 weeks. I’ve met some truly inspiring people through these groups (and it gives me someone else to talk to when we are all up at stupid o’clock).
Please don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that I can provide Molly with everything she needs. Watching her gain weight and develop, knowing that it’s all my milk which is fuelling that is amazing and I am so glad that I am able to go through this journey. It’s really changing me as a person, and I know that I will come out the other side and be a strong mama for it. I’m just going through the motions of getting used to exclusively pumping, and I’m not finding it easy. I’m intending to post another update if we make it on this journey a bit longer, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
Are you an exclusively pumping mum? Do you want to share your story on our blog? Feel free to share your ideas/experiences below in the comments, or send us an email from our contact page – we love hearing from you!
PS: I’ve recently blogged about things I wish I had known before I started our exclusive pumping journey (read about it here), and what I consider to be the top essentials for anyone who also decides to take up this crazy idea (read about that here), if you are interested in knowing more about this journey.