Re: Question about exclusively pumping
Welcome to the forum! It's always nice to see a lurker come out and post.
It is definitely possible to EP. Lots of women do it, some by necessity and some by choice. Most mamas here, I think including most or even all of the EP mamas, would generally advice against choosing EP if breastfeeding "straight from the tap" is a possibility. Here's why:
- It is easier to maintain and increase supply when nursing than when EPing, because babies are generally more efficient at emptying the breast than pumps are. Many EP moms struggle with supply for this reason.
- Nursing becomes easier and faster as time goes on. Pumping never does. If it takes you 20 minutes to pump a bottle when your baby is a month old, it will take you that same 20 minutes when he's a year old, and you'll have to find that time while caring for an active, mobile baby. If you nurse, by the time your baby is a few months old you'll probably be able to nurse in under 10 minutes.
- Nursing in public can be difficult at first, but rapidly gets easier and can be done discreetly. It is much harder to pump discreetly in public!
- Breastmilk in the breast is always clean, fresh, and at the right temperature. It can't get forgotten on the counter, or go sour in the heat, or spill all over the dirty floor.
- Breastmilk in the breast is immediately available. There are no bottles to warm or prepare or store or transport. That seems like a small thing until you are standing in the kitchen at 3 am, listening to your baby cry while you warm up a bottle!
- Nursing offers more than just nutrition. It can be very sweet to cuddle a nursing baby, and as the baby grows, nursing becomes a valuable mothering tool. Teething, tiredness, tantrums, bumps to the head- they all evaporate the moment the baby is at the breast.
Okay, so those are the negatives of EPing. I really don't mean to discourage you- but I'd feel remiss if I didn't give you all the information, no matter how not fun it may be to read it. That all being said, if you want to EP you can do it, and here are some things I'd recommend that I think will give you the best shot at success:
- Get the best pump possible. I suggest using a hospital-grade rental from the very beginning. If the health department won't help until 2 weeks out, I advise renting the pump yourself for the initial 2 weeks.
- Pump frequently. You want to pump about as often as a newborn typically nurses- approximately every 2-3 hours round the clock.
- Aim to pump at least as much as your baby eats over the course of a day. If you aren't pumping that much, you need to add in more pumping sessions or pump for longer time periods, since output depends very much on pumping frequency and duration.
- Be prepared to increase your pumping frequency and duration when or if you see a decrease in supply.
- Make sure you can pump at work. Discuss your needs with your employer. You'll need a clean space with an outlet, a fridge or cooler in which to store your milk, and time throughout the day during which you can pump.
Finally- and I hope this isn't being too intrusive- but is there'd a specific reason why you want to EP? As detailed above, it can be the harder path and We are always hoping to make things easy for a new mama! We would love to help you find a way to nurse, if that's something you're at all interested in.
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"