Fed is best and a good pump is best too!

Before I became a mama, I never realized how much stress and worry I will feel over how my kids are eating.  I feel like the obsession starts during these first few days with all this pressure to keep them alive and thriving, and then it continues later into their.. I don’t know adulthood-ness?

When Simon was born, I was obsessing over this so much, so much so that I gave myself panic attacks… since I was nursing -  I wasn’t sure how much he was eating at a feeding, when he was fussy I was clueless whether he was hungry or tired, I wanted him to sleep better, but I could never tell the difference, he was my first one, it is hard to know then… it is hard to believe that things are ok, it is hard to trust anyone telling you that you are doing a good job and that they are okay… anyhow I digress, anyway, that moment was when I first considered pumping, I have never done it before even though I had bought a breast pump before giving birth as one of the ”registry items a first time mom needs to have”. Simon was four months old at a time and I wanted to organize his day into naps and awake times and solve the feeding enigma. Back then I was expecting a bit too much out of “putting a baby on a schedule” and was completely naïve and maybe even crazy… but it is how we all learn ;)

Anyhow, pumping was a surprise to me, because it was hard, I didn’t know how to do it, how much time I should do it for, when? nothing…. Long story short, it gave me even more panic attacks and added to my anxiety… but like everything in first-time-motherhood, you navigate through each storm and eventually, notice you are still swimming on the surface and things are, in fact, okay, like everyone said they would be. I had to research and learn all things pumping, and slowly figured things out.

I have three kids, and my pumping story was different with each one. With Simon I pumped the most, first, for control, to check if he really had a whole feed and was he ready for a longer night-stretch or not. Then I pumped for leaving him with Cass when I was in grad school three times a week. I also was worried about my supply so I kept pumping for storage, by the time he was done nursing at 16 months, I had like two gallons of breastmilk to donate left.

With Leo, I pumped less, I guess I was more confident in myself, trusted my intuition, mothering skills and in my supply. I pumped milk when I had to leave him, or to ad to oatmeal or other solids. I had a very small emergency stash in the fridge, mostly because he never really liked the bottle and nursed a lot, so I never felt like I had time or energy to start building it.

With Zoe, I pump to leave her when I go to a dentist or hairdresser, she alike Leo doesn’t easily take the bottle, so I cannot switch between bottle and breast easily (not as easily as with Simon - thank goodness he was my first or I would go crazy!) I thought, I would have to pump regularly upon returning to work, but then I changed my mind about returning to work… which is a whole other topic… so I do not need to get into a regular pumping regiment quite yet, however I want to build a little freezer stack as I think it is beneficial to add it later on to their food even when they are toddlers… maybe even when they wean, as occasional breastmilk in their morning oats can really help with their immunity… trust me I learned that the hard way, Simon was a champ and Leo got sick all through his toddlerhood, it didn’t help he went to daycare the soonest and didn’t drink breastmilk while at it.

As I mentioned I had three pumps, but not until I discovered Luna by Motif, did I fully appreciate how comfortable pumping can be! Now, I am really motivated to build a better stash for Zoe and maybe even increase her bottle intake so it is a bit easier to switch between when needed (right now she will only take it, when really hungry, and pretty upset by then too, which I would like to avoid).

Anyhow, here is a few tips that I think could be useful for any mama who needs to approach the topic of pumping, it took me three kids to figure out the joist of it, so I thought I should share in case they can help someone sooner!

-tip one, ask about pumping at the hospital! Even if you decided to nurse exclusively and don’t plan on pumping any time soon.  Lactation consultants will help get you up to speed when the time comes and be a great resource on how to get a pump with insurance, or how to rent one etc. I recently found out that my Luna pump is covered by insurance, but check with your plan advisor on the proper procedure to start the process.

- tip two: give yourself grace, it will take time to learn how to do it, try  to get familiar with your pump. How it works, how to put it together etc. There are so many pumps out there, some can look really intimidating. I like to use online resources on how to set it up rather than reading through the manual, my Luna pump has a ton of great resources on how to get started, assembly (which is super easy by the way), cleaning (also super easy) etc.!

-tip three, start slow, if you are still nursing, try to latch the baby on one breast and attach the pump on the other, do not think about what is happening with it, alike you do not check the baby’s mouth, the less attention you spend on the amount of milk you pump, the better you will do! The best pump is the one that is not too distracting for the baby, so you can pump in a dark room or in a quiet space, Luna is super quiet (pumps discreetly with a 45-decibel hum, almost like a white noise machine for the baby!) and has a night-light that won’t strain eyes in the darkness nor wake up the baby.

-tip five, make sure it fits right! It took me two pumps that sort of fit, but in fact they didn’t, one always pinched and the other thug, I finally realized that the flange size will really help with these discomforts! You can buy Luna with different flange sizes and they have a flange sizing guide on their website to ensure you are getting the perfect fit.

- try to do it frequently, but don’t stress over if you skip a session, stress and anxiety is worse for your supply than a skipped session! Your peace of mind is really the key, I always heard that nursing/pumping is all a confidence game, and it truly is, so be good to yourself, pamper yourself a little and remember you are doing an amazing job!

Overall, I am very happy with my newest pump the Motif LUNA , my favorite features are its extremely
efficient suction levels and the LED night light! It is truly a game changer to have a reliable, efficient and well-designed pump; an added bonus is that it's covered by insurance.

Blog post written in partnership with Motif Medical - Luna pump producer.