Wow. I can’t believe that we are here and talking about our six month update on exclusively pumping. You can read about our one and three month journey updates on our blog as well. I honestly was never sure I would make it to this point, so many times have I thought about packing it all in and giving up. But I am proud to be writing this six month update.
It’s been a tough few months. Full of more highs and lows. I’ve battled through going back to work, a massive drop in my supply and cracked/sore nipples. On the other hand, I’ve found a real groove in this pumping thing, managed to successfully juggle a whirlwind toddler and a baby and have pumped in so many more places!
Now, I never thought that cracked and sore nipples would be something you would get 5 months into an exclusive pumping journey. I have previously suffered with this, right at the beginning of our pumping journey; and here I am at our six month update writing about it again. Ohhhh the pain! I feel like this second bout of cracked nipples is worse than the first and it’s making me want to cave in so bad. I’ve been using Lansinoh on them but it doesn’t seem to be helping! I’m going to write a separate post of some other things which I have tried and about some advice which I’ve got as well.
When Molly was two months old I returned to work. I haven’t touched on pumping at work much; but luckily this has mainly been working really well for me. Aside from a small hiccup of losing 10 ounces of my supply. This was the point in our journey which I was perhaps most worried about. In my job it isn’t always possible flexible and I can’t always escape whenever I want to pump. But there have only been a couple of occasions where I have had to miss a pump. Or just do a super short one and then make up for it later in the day.
Don’t get me wrong, I was so nervous about pumping at work. One of the biggest things was where would I pump? How would it work? Would I be able to find the time to pump? How would I store my milk when I work 14 hour shifts? So many questions, and no answers until I returned to work. I’m lucky in that my employer has been very supportive of my journey, and having recently had a baby themselves are pretty understanding.
What else have I dealt with these past months? A massive drop in supply.. and the battle to re-establish it again. This was awful. When I went back to work it did impact my supply. I lost about 10 ounces per day at one point. Trying to figure out a schedule which worked for me was tricky at the beginning. At home, I could comfortably pump 10 times a day when needed, at work I was pushing it to fit in 5 a day. Of course, this was going to have a drastic impact.
Luckily, I was able to boost my supply again to a point, but I have never gotten back to the point where I was pumping 42 ounces a day. At the moment, I pump about 35 ounces a day. I’ve been power pumping twice a day to try and get back to the 42 ounces, but I’m not sure that it’s ever going to happen.
On the other hand, six months in and I do feel that I am finding my groove in the world of exclusive pumping. Every day seems to be getting easier and I am feeling more confident than ever. At my last update I had been pumping in more places, and that has continued. I do not feel ashamed of pumping in public anymore and I have been going on lots more days out with my new found confidence of being able to pump in public. As a family, we have done more trips to the beach, country parks and theme parks. Now I have gained confidence, I don’t even think about others looking at me; after all it’s not really any different from breastfeeding in public. So why should I be ashamed?
I also have to mention the juggling of the whirlwind toddler, the pump and our six month old baby. This has been an achievement in itself. There have been times when I’ve sat down to pump and Molly has started screaming, Georgie has decided that he needs my attention right then and has been trying to grab the pump and push it out the way. These times are hard, especially when I had the pressure of trying to rebuild my supply and there were times when I found myself stressing out at myself, and the idea of pumping when my kids really needed me. During these times I have learnt that 5 or 10 minutes won’t make a different to my supply; set the pump aside and spend the time with your babies.
So as I sit here today, I still do not know how long this journey will last. There have been many times when have I thought about throwing in the towel; so this journey could literally end next week for me. I am still convinced that I will know when the time is right, and that is the point that I will give up. The person I am becoming thanks to this journey is amazing; I have proven to myself that I am strong, I can battle through anything and I have wayyy more perseverance and determination that I thought. So that’s a positive thing and I will always hold on to 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!