I posted when I was pregnant that I don't understand the whole bonding thing with breastfeeding yadda yadda yadda. I was having a low in my pregnancy depression at that point.
Well, here we are 4 weeks post-partum and are still trying to at breast feed. I say "at breast feed" because I am exclusively pumping right now. Every other day I try to breastfeed at the breast but Dacian has a high palate so feeding him via breast if very painful. He also always falls asleep at the breast too.
I know that I don't want to give my child formula. Too many horror stories (though don't get me wrong, I will if I have to but if I don't then I wont) for my liking. So, pumping exclusively is what we are doing. I have had my moments of doubt and frustration but I think I am finally finding out what works for me/us.
Here are my tips to successful and enjoyable pumping.
1. Timing. When I first started I was pumping every 2 hours. This was to build my supply. It worked wonders. I would make sure I would empty each breast using the pump, massage and compression (basically I would squeeze the hell out of my boob to make sure every drop came out).
Now I am at every 3-4 hours (I take a clue from my breasts when it is time though I don't go longer than 4 hours). At the end of each pumping session I do a minute or two of hand expression to clue my breasts into the aereola compression that BFing would entail. There is always some milk left over that the pump didn't get.
2. Hands free. I made myself a hands free pumping bra by cutting quarter size holes in an old sports bra. This allows the flanges to fit and my hands to be free. By doing this I am able to eat, drink, feed Dacian, write blogs, watch TV or even doze off for a bit. Because I can do all this I can relax and just let the pump do it's work. I am pumping about an ounce more then I usually do in the same amount of time. I feel more sessions of let-down and the stress of getting the session done is gone.
3. Pumping/Feeding station. You read about BFing moms having a feeding station with drinks, snacks, pillows and anything else you might need for your feeding session. I apply this same principle. This has been made a lot easier with my hands free pumping bra. I make sure everything is where I need it when I need to ensure pure relaxation. I don't dread my pumping sessions anymore and freak if I need to get something. It is all here. I am now able to eat healthier because I am not grabbing what is convenient when I can. I make sure I have my snacks and drink here with me. Great distraction btw for relaxation.
4. Manual Pump. I still have my Ameda manual pump for on the go convenience. If for any reason I need to give him a bottle and I ran out of milk I can pump some real quick and give it to him. Even if it is just a little snack he wants. This is a life saver. I have pumped in the car, at a club, at a swapmeet and grocery store.
This is what has helped me get over my frustrations with breastfeeding. It may not be the "ideal", but then again, I don't even know what really is "ideal" anymore. However, my son is getting the best nature can provide. Freddy, Valeska and anyone else can bond with him during feedings and cuddles afterwards. We can all revel in the "milk drunk" state that ensues after a good meal. I will continue exclusively pumping for as long as I am able to do so.
Maybe being "at breast" isn't always best.