About two months into new motherhood I posted the following to my Facebook;
“Nothing gives you empathy for the modern dairy cow like hooking yourself up to the double breast pump”.
Breastfeeding and pumping CONSUMED my life for Nova’s first six months on this planet. Before I go on – I am going to talk quite a bit about nursing and pumping, but I acknowledge that this is not the road for every mom and baby, and at the end of the day I have written this before – but FED IS BEST. However, I do wear my breastfeeding and pumping hours as a badge of honour. It was hard, painful sometimes, challenging, but also rewarding, connective, and an experience like none other.
At about five weeks we introduced Nova to the bottle – still only being fed breastmilk, but it was an absolute game-changer for my own personal emotional and physical health. When you’re nursing and pumping there is never more than two hours in which you don’t have a baby to your chest or a plastic contraption sucking that milk. It is exhausting.
New moms need to be told that breastfeeding is hard more and more. Not to scare them, not to stop them from doing it – but to let them know that it is okay to suck at it for a bit, or a long time. It is okay to not want to be touched by any other human person because you’re so tired of having someone (or something) attached to you for hours on end.
Before I had my baby girl all I read were social media posts about the beauty of breastfeeding, and the hard-fought battles for women everywhere to be able to breastfeed in public. These are important – but what no one told me until I started actually talking about the challenges – was that yes – they struggled as well!
So now that I’ve got that out of the way – I want to tell you about what it is like to pump, and what to expect (at least from my experience) and what to look for when you decide to pump. I had tried a few styles and systems but there were a few things that stuck out to me when it came to using the Philips Avent Comfort Double Electric Breast Pump.
- Get yourself a double breast pump if you plan on doing any pumping. Before I had my baby, I purchased a single breast pump. I sat on my couch for over 45 minutes a couple weeks after her arrival trying to fill up a small amount of a bottle and sobbed. There was no way spending all this time with one measly pump was helping me out in any way.
- Check with your benefits/insurance provider to see if they cover the cost or partial cost of a breast pump. I needed to get my doctor to write a prescription, but once he did that I was able to claim my pump through a pretty basic health plan.
- The way the cups attach to your breast is important. Your breasts change every day when it comes to milk production. You’re going to wake up in agony some mornings with breasts so heavy you assume every drop of milk has curdled and created some type of alien Stonehenge formation in your chest. Some evenings it might feel like there’s nothing in there to pump – but it’s there and comfort is key to being able to produce milk. Stress does not help with production. The soft, flexible breast shields were very comfortable in the Philips Avent Double Comfort Electric Pump. They have something called petal technology – which I am not sure what it stands for – but it sounds comforting and it is comforting, and at the end of the day it’s all that mattered to me.
- Hopefully, you got yourself a nice recliner or glider for when you’re nursing baby. I needed (and still need) that relaxed positioning to have a good nursing session and the same goes for pumping. What I enjoyed about this breast pump was that I could still rock away in the chair without having to manoeuvre awkwardly to ensure every drop hits the bottle.
- I could travel with the pump – but I did have to make sure there was an outlet to use the machine. I wish I was telling you about great destinations – it was really just to the grandparents’ homes, but it meant we could stay for a few hours and I could pump easily while at one of their homes with the sleek carrying case. I was able to tuck it into my purse rather than have to invest in a massive backpack to haul it around.
- It’s easy to set up and use. There are a few settings – the first that helps to stimulate your milk flow. You need this stage and not all pumps are equipped with it. Spending 30 seconds to one minute with that setting makes a big difference in how much you will fill up that bottle. Following that there are several settings of – how do I say this – extraction intensity lol? Again, this is designed for comfort and you can choose which one works best for you. I usually set it lower in the mornings when milk flow was easier and then ramped it up throughout the day but, to each their own.
For the investment, you put into the breast pump, and I do mean financial, emotional, and time, you need to really think about what is important to you and your comfort levels. Although difficult I am so glad that I did pump so much for so often because it gave me some freedom back. I was also very lucky that Nova went from breast to bottle and back again without a second thought.
I want to reiterate what I said at the beginning – breastfeeding can be really challenging – and that’s okay. You’re doing great. And crying over spilt breastmilk is a very real thing I have done many times over. You’ve got this mama!
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This post was written by Suzanne Pescod, mama to one little girl as well as Marketing & Communications Director for RMHCNA and iabcyeg board member(Capital Awards). Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.
Alberta Mamas is part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Philips Avent and have received compensation as part of our affiliation with this group. All opinions are our own.