Motherhood – Deciding to Exclusive Pump

I cried on the day I decided to stop latching and go for exclusive pumping. It wasn’t an easy decision. I felt guilty. It felt like I’d deprived my baby of the chance to latch on and drink the breastmilk which contains lots of nutrients. The bonding time for just the two of us seems to be snatched away.

The baby couldn’t latch properly and was way too impatient to be taught. The external stress and pressure from the family members was way too high, insisting that the baby wasn’t drinking enough and that it was difficult to gauge the amount of milk that the baby had drunk. On top of that, the breast infection that was caused by a crack in the nipple didn’t help much, which also resulted in a fever. I gave up.

But that wasn’t the end. As much as I had to give up on latching, the idea of providing breastmilk to my baby didn’t stop here. After all, if I were to exclusively pump and feed it to the baby using the milk bottle, she would still be drinking breastmilk, isn’t it? And isn’t that the most important thing? Which is for her to get all the nutrients from breastmilk?

So that’s what I did. Day and night, I read up online on anything related to exclusive pumping. I was determined to continue to provide breastmilk for my 2 weeks old baby then. And I wanted to see if anyone else did that. Surprisingly, there was, and quite a number too! That was about 2 months back.

Today, I’m still exclusively pumping though the milk supply wasn’t a lot. As a mother, I feel that I need to try my best to provide for my baby, and at the same time, not stressing myself too much. So, I’d come up with a theory: If the baby can latch, let the baby latch. Else, pump exclusively and feed the baby using a milk bottle. If all else failed, milk powder will be the last option. There’s always ways to make up for that “bonding time” or “nutrients”. The bottom line is, “Don’t give up!”, your baby still loves you even if you never breastfeed him/her.

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Types of Breast Pumps

It’s really confusing. Really. Especially when there’s different brands and types of breast pumps and what not in the market. Before I got to use it, I totally have no idea what’s the difference. And reading information from the Internet and books simply doesn’t help me to make a decision. The problem is, I have totally no idea what I’ll be faced with. And in the end, after some trying for a month or so, I came up with the my own conclusion.

So to simplify and not to confuse myself (or yourself) even further, I categorized it into 3 groups, generally for those people out there who needs to get it for personal use. Here it is (regardless of the brands):

(1) Manual Breast Pumps – These are basically pumps where you have to do it manually, i.e. pump it yourself instead of the machine doing it for you. Which means, for the 15-30 minutes (or longer) where you sit and pump, you have to keep on pressing the handle. Pros: It’s the cheapest compared to the other two. You get to controlled when the milk is to be pumped. [For first time mum, FYI, sometimes you can actually feel when the milk is about to come out]. And from what I’ve heard, the suction is supposed to be quite good. Cons: It’s really tiring and thus I gave up after only a few tries. Imaging doing a repeated action of closing and opening your palms with force, or maybe, squeezing a stress ball. Price: Less than $100.

(2) Single Electric Breast Pumps – These pumps, as what the name said, only pump a single breast, a.k.a. one at a time. Pros: Since it’s electric, the machine pumps for you. It’s good for those mum who is on total breastfeed, and would like to pump out EXTRA milk after the feed for storage. The price is still acceptable. Cons: If you are thinking of exclusive pumping or to increase your milk supply, this will not be the choice. Milk comes out in this way, if one breast is being stimulated, the other will too, which means, if you pump only one side, milk will still leak out from the other and it’s definitely a wastage (milk is sometimes really precious for some mums)! What’s more, if you intend to pump both side, it’s going to take double the time! And that’s totally inefficient at all! Price: Between $100-$200.

(3) Double Electric Breast Pumps – Double as what it says, pumps 2 breasts at the same time. It’s good, and definitely my recommended choice for full time working mum. Pros: Save time. You’ll get it done in around 20 minutes. Get the hands-free kind and you can pump and do other things at the same time (though sometimes it feels really weird). So much cleaner than pumping one breast only as there’s no leakage and wastage. For some pumps, you still have the option to pump only one breast. Cons: The price is a little steep. Be prepared for that. But I guess you have to pay for all those advantages that it provided. Price: More than $500 (on average).

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