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My Breastfeeding Journey As An Exclusively Pumping Mama!

If I had to use one word to describe my breastfeeding journey to someone, it would be, AMAZING! Knowing I was able to provide my baby with all of the nutrients her body needs was overall a great feeling. Although we experienced latching issues  when trying to breastfeed, that don’t stop me! I was determined to do everything in my power to provide breast milk for my baby girl especially being a preemie weighing only 4lbs 14oz at birth, I knew how beneficial breast milk was for her development.

Although there are so many controversial issues with exclusively pumping it wasn’t an easy option but it was the right option for me. Many people don’t consider EP as breastfeeding even though the baby is still being fed breast milk. I believe more people need to learn about exclusively pumping and what mothers go through when EP, in order, to fully accept and understand the concept. Exclusively pumping should be discussed more by doctors so mothers that experience latching issues or have inverted nipples know there are other options to providing breast milk.

What it means to exclusively pump?
Exclusively pumping means to use a hospital grade breast pump to induce and maintain lactation.

One of the biggest challenges I faced while EP was maintaining my milk supply. When I first started EP, 2 months PP, I was barely getting 10 oz a day. & a baby consumes about 40oz a day at that age so could you imagine the stress I was under. After doing some research and trying every method possible, from taking fenugreek, eating milky mama brownies, drinking Gatorade and eating oatmeal daily, I was able to increase my supply to 30+ oz a day.

During the first 3 months of EP, I got mastitis 3x and had clogged milk ducts 4-5x. The pain associated with mastitis, in my experience is horrible, the fevers & chills, having hard warm breast, the hospital visits. . .that was probably the worst part of my entire EP journey. One of most common problems faced when EP is clogged ducts which is the leading cause of mastitis, but the most effective and preventive solution is to purchase a hospital grade breast pump. In my opinion, a hospital grade pump is essential for a successful EP journey, the strong suction strength aids in emptying the breast completely.

Recommended Supplies
Hospital Grade Breast Pump {My favorite is the Spectra S1 Plus}
Hands-Free Pumping Bra
Extra Pump Parts

Best Resources for EP Mamas

~ Pump Log App
The pump log app really helped me to keep track of my pump sessions, milk stash (although I never really had one) and monitor my milk supply. It also has a timer to help you time your pump sessions. This app is amazing and I don’t think I would have made it to 8 EP without it!

~ Facebook Groups
There are so many amazing resources in these Facebook groups, so much love and support from some amazing mamas. It was definitely a great place to motivate and help me throughout the entire process! One of my top favorite had to be, Exclusively Pumping Mamas. . I found so many useful tips and resources there whether it was from another mama or a lactation specialist, those mamas are really there to help you.

Final Thoughts on Exclusively Pumping
It was definitely a tough journey but I would do it again in a heart beat. Being able to exclusively provide breast milk {with the exception of maybe 2-3x formula feeding} to my daughter for 8 months is an amazing feeling. Seeing her grow and constantly gain weight at every appointment just shows me all my hard work is paying off. Being hooked up to a pump for 30 mins every 2-3 hours while taking care of a newborn can really take a toll on your mental and physical health but with perseverance, strength and determination anything is possible.

What are your thoughts on exclusively pumping? Are you an exclusively pumping mama? How would you describe your breastfeeding journey? Feel free to comment and share. I’d love to hear from you!