Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Pump Queen

Yes, I'm officially an expert breast pumper. I never imagined that would be my claim to fame, but I seem to be able to produce a lot of breast milk.

Here's the picture of my freezer when my daughter came home from the NICU 3 years ago:

I estimated there was probably close to 2,500 ounces of milk!

Here is my freezer picture tonight. Now keep in mind a few things in the picture below (Quinn is taking in milk every day, so that's not getting frozen, Katilyn hardly took anything when I took the above picture; I'm filling every container compeltely full (the bottles are 4 oz when full) and the bags are a min of 6 ounces (more like 7).(unlike Kaitlyn as I hadn't learned this space-saving tip yet) So I have a lot of milk stored up already for Mr Quinn. In both pictures you only see the front row, the bags/bottles are lined up 2 deep.

I've now been pumping for Quinn for 3.5 months. I'm WELL ahead of his needs milk wise. Why do I continue pumping?

1. I continue to hold out the hope that one of these days breast feeding will just go great and we both will finally "get it." Yesterday evening was one of those moments that I had dreamt about. He actually got it! It's never been an issue of Quinn's latching on, he can do that seemingly ok, but he gets really, really pissed off about having to work on my breast that he often cries like a banshee and I just can't take it. A few nights ago though it was great! My let-down is easy for him, and after a few seconds he was happily gulping down milk directly from the source (the cow as my husband calls me after seeing me attached to the pump 24/7 practically). It was nice. Really nice. No drama, no screaming, just regular breast feeding like it's "supposed" to be.

I've still been waiting for the Euphoric breast feeding experience that everyone talks about. that's one of the main reasons I continue to pump. I'm still hoping!

2. Once I stop pumping, this will be it for me. I'm 42 years old. I don't plan on having any more children (my 2 pregnancies and my 3 were all IVF babies anyways). By being a lactating women it seems to extend my feelings of the fact that I'm younger than my age tells me I am. I say to myself: "hey, I'm a lactating, new mom" I can pretend I'm in my 20's! it means I'm no longer pregnant.

3. It's done wonders for taking baby weight off. I started this pregnancy 10 pounds heavier than I started with the twins. I'm now at my pre-twin pregnancy weight. Last time I gained it all and then the 10 pounds after I stopped. (Which never made sense to me, as I lost too much weight last time - in 2 weeks I was at my pregnancy weight, in 4 weeks I was 10 pounds under that and way to skinny). Guess you just have to loose a child and become septic and almost die to loose the baby weight.

4. Sleep. I remember reading somewhere that lactating women produce a hormone (Oxytocin) that makes us be able to sleep very quickly . It's natures way of making up for the fact that we don't get much sleep with a newborn. At least we can fall asleep very quickly and sleep very soundly for short bursts of time. I LOVE this. I never am able to fall asleep very easily. I've had insomnia for as long as I can remember. This is a feel good hormone that I don't mind having also!

5. I'm a busy working mom. This at least makes me feel I'm doing more for my son. I have help to watch them about 4 days a week. I feel guilty. I'm "supposed" to be a super mom that can spend 24/7 attachment parenting my newborn. That's not happening. There's no way. I guess that at least by pumping and producing milk for him I'm doing all I can do. (but sometimes I have to say that I feel this in a negative way, as I have to pump instead of holding him, which defeats the purpose).

Now, as far as pumping goes:

I hate pumping. Don't get me wrong. The first 2 moths were torture. 2 months. I suffer horrible horrible nipple issues. I think my sensitive skin just doesn't do well with the suction pull of a pump. In order to get my supply up I did as I was told, pumped every 3 hours round the clock (with maybe one longer 4 hour break at night). this was a lot of pumping. In order to empty my breasts, it requires pumping for at least 25 minutes a session. This means that my poor little nipples were being suctioned about 4 hours a day. uggh.

I think what helped them (my nipples) improve was letting up on the number of pumps. Yes, I worried about my supply diminishing, but it seems to be fine. Pumping less often. Yeah! I now pump about 4 or 5 times a day. I'm going 8 hours at night (not that Quinn is, but I'm not getting up to pump).

I pump and drive a lot. My crazy life dictates that I do. I have a hands-free bra (a must for any serious pumper) and hook myself up. I have 2 pumps. One I leave in the car. I use a Medela Pump-in-Style pump. I have the Advanced model and the older original one. I like the Advanced one better. I always hear that you have to have a hospital grade pump in order to get any supply. I can in fact tell you that's not the case (at least for me!)

Oh, and I have to add that taking lecithin is a life-saver for me this time around. It's really helped the clogged ducts that I get.

Anyways, I just had to share my recent pumping success!

And some pictures for you to enjoy: I think Quinn is becoming the cutest baby ever! He's so happy. His smile continues to bring joy to me, this is all very new to me!

Big sister doing her "hee" smile, When you tell her to smile for the camera, she says "hee" which isn't the most photogenic smile, but it's cute.

Mom got a night out last night (with her feeding tube support group moms), this was dad with the kids on the couch (Kaitlyn LOVES to wear every thing she can, hence the scarf, mittens and hat in the house)

Our smiling little man

What a cutie-pie!


Nina said...

Wow, did you ever have a stock supply of milk. I have always only been able to keep about 10 bags stocked up in the freezer at one time.
I am with you and I hate pumping but I do it for my baby.

Sara, Dan, & Maggie Daley said...

Kudos for pumping. I just recently stopped pumping for Maggie after six full months! We estimate that it took 300 hours and I produced 35 gallons of milk! I am hoping that we can reintroduce the pumped stuff once we get these tummy troubles behind us.
Congratulations on not giving up. It's such a sacrifice. (and I am WICKED impressed about the driving and pumping at the same time! Wow.)

kayla said...

wow am i proud of you! Go girl. Now thats what you call dedication!Some how i found you looking for things on our sons conditions esophageal atresia and others and i just wanted to say great blog i wish you the best our son was a preemie as well. I was wondering if there was any way you would add my site as a link on your page if i did the same? I would be so greatful and thanks so much for sharing!

Kristina said...

So glad to see that overall everyone is doing well. We too have the second cold of the season in the house. (Actually, the first time Miss A. had walking pneumonia.) And we, too, can't seem to get the breastfeeding thing down.

One thing to be thankful for, Liz, is that you have a GREAT milk supply. I can only get 2 - 3 oz. pumped a day :(

Anyway, loving the updates!