Thursday, March 14, 2013

Being an "Exclusive Pumper"

Benefits of EP, anyone can feed baby!
heres a pic of his friend lending a helping hand :)
Thought I would share this exerpt from my diary, written around 5 weeks after my son was born, as this was the first and biggest challenge as a mother! He's over 15 months old now, and I'm still going strong with my pumping schedule, so here's where it all began :) 

There were two issues with direct breast feeding :

1. The agony! My tiny tot would take forever to latch, and even the nipple shields couldn't protect me from his frequent biting! So for weeks I had nipples that were cracked, sore, bleeding and if nothing they would simply burn all day long. My threshold for pain is pretty decent , but not when I nurse every two hours, every day, for several months!

2. Never full! My tiny tot would be cranky and hungry all the time! He would take some 45 minutes to empty one boobie (I take less than 10 mins with a breast pump!) and would be crying for milk again within half hour ! So In spite of nursing round the clock, he was never full. And even after 2 weeks, his weight gain was poor. Concerns ranged from is he sick? Does he have indigestion? Do I have indigestion?is my milk insufficient? Etc

The two things I simply refuse to accept were: 1. my milk is insufficient & that 2. My child is a 'slow gainer' /cranky child /colicky: I'd be damned! After being on a healthy diet for 2 years & a smooth pregnancy was I suppose to believe shit like this! No way!

So I started pumping using my humble manual Pigeon breast pump, into bottles even got a steam sterisiler which I used twice a day for the pump, bottles & nipples. Just a day of this was enough to prove my point correct. The milk WAS sufficient & he seemed full when given around 100-120 ml every 2-3 hours. 

What the issue was with direct breast feeding I still don't know.  Perhaps the positioning was incorrect or he didn't suck or latch correct- although the hospital midwives said it was fine. Perhaps he got bored and tired. Perhaps somehow all ducts weren't getting empty with his sucking. Perhaps he wasnt getting the hind milk. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps! 

So now I pump round the clock. He is 5 weeks old and I'm trying to work a schedule of 100-120 ml every 2-3 hours, so there aren't any in between feedings. If he wants more I gladly give him. I used to be concerned about the breast milk running out, but It hasn't so far.  I do have formula on stand by that can be whipped up in minutes if required. so the nanny/maid/husband can feed him while I pump every 2-3 hours. Is it a pain to clean & sterilise round the clock? Not a fraction of the amount of pain faced when breast feeding! The point is that the baby is getting his mommies milk and is healthy. He gained @ 40 gms per day as against the earlier 23gms per day, so there you go!

Milk Storage
Will the breast milk production go down in course of time ? No idea. Conventional wisdom does indicate this, but there's no point forcing something that simply doesn't work. I believe as long as you keep emptying your breasts on a regularly basis, sucking or no sucking, the body will regularly produce more. IF the demand exceeds supply, I shall resort to supplementing breast milk, but stick to exclusive BM as long as possible, and I truly believe 5-6 months should be a doable :)

I would honestly suggest new mommies facing similar issues to try exclusive expressing for a day or two to validate or rather invalidate the notion of poor milk supply. Take down the time & quantity of milk expressed and time & quantity of milk had by baby (as this cannot be measured by direct breast feeding!). Once the supply & demand schedules are in black and white, you can take a call on supplementing. You of course needn't be an exclusive pumper like me, but it's better to take an informed decision rather than simply guessing something about your body because the doctor/ books/ elders say so! 

No comments:

Post a Comment