Pumping Power

I'm not one to easily give up.  I will breastfeed Jonas and that's that.  But, right now, being in the NICU and unable to even latch on, I'm unable to breastfeed.  Since I gave birth, I've been pumping around the clock, every 3 hours to produce and store enough milk to feed him while he's in the NICU as well as have a hefty stash at home.
In the last 2, almost 3 weeks, I've gone through over 200 2oz storage bottles, and have brought so much milk into the NICU that they've asked me to stop!  So, since the hospital wont take any more, just have a look at what's become of my freezer!

Those little bottles go all the way to the back and are piled as high as allowable.  Really, will I need this much milk?!  There's no room for food!
So, in order to make more room in my ever shrinking freezer, I've decided to switch to storage bags which can be laid flat and essentially will hold more milk.  Sounds like a win-win, right?  We'll see.  I decided to buy these bags:
These bags impressed me at first.  Look, I can pump directly into them, saving time and cleaning!  But, they are quite difficult to handle.  It's tricky getting the bag secured over the shield and you have to monitor the bag to be sure you don't get bubbles and the milk stays on the top.  When you're done, you have to tear a perforated edge and close a very hard zipper, which I'm sure will be a cinch at 3am.  I would gladly take all of these defects if it does it's job and keeps my freezer looking a little more roomy.  Oh, but I forgot to mention the price... $18.99 for 50 bags.  Let's do a little math here.  If I'm pumping 8 times a day and I have 2 breasts, then I'm going to need 16 bags a day.  Therefore, these bags will last me 3 days!  THREE DAYS!!!  Uhh, those little blue bottles up top are provided free from the hospital.  So, what should I do?  Pay $20 every 3 days to have a more orderly freezer, or become ultra creative with how to store those blue bottles and keep some cash in my pocket?  Oh, life is full of conundrums. 

Now, have I mentioned that I HATE pumping... as in despise it, as in it's my daily torture (or rather 8 times a day torture).  It's tedious, monotonous, boring and lonely.  Not to mention, if it's your first time, super painful!  Pumping is way more painful than breastfeeding.  Think, your infant has an itty-bitty mouth, while this machine is merciless!  
I'm living my life in 3 hour intervals.  Wanna go out?  Sure, but I gotta be home at a certain time to pump... boo.  When you have a newborn, you still live in 3 hour intervals, but at least you're not on house arrest.  If you have to feed your baby, you can do it anywhere!  
Since I am having my pump do the job of a baby, I had to get a hospital grade pump.  The first one I got was this one:
This is the Medela Symphony Double Breast Pump.  I rented it from the hospital and it was $20 a week.  This is the one the hospital provides in their nursing rooms and while you stay with them. It's wonderful!  Very gentle and quiet.  But, I'm cheap... so I only rented it for one week. 

Then I found out that the state provides a free pump to NICU moms in order to encourage breastfeeding.  SWEET!  So I went and got my free pump, which is this one:

This is the Medela Lactina Double Breast Pump.  Not nearly as good as the Symphony.  It takes about twice as long to get the same amount of milk, plus it is not at all gentle or quiet.  See the middle yellow part, that is a pump that moves in and out and creates a loud whooshing sound.  Plus, with this pump, you must pump both breasts simultaneously for it to work... not so with the Symphony.  But hey, it's FREE... and that's the right price for me!

Then, you have all these pump parts to clean every.single.time... and sanitize once a day in a steaming bag.

This is all very tedious! 

2 things that make pumping semi-bearable:

This is the PumpEase Hands Free Pumping Bra.  And it makes my life a whole lot easier.  Now, it's a huge PITA to put it on because there are 6 bra clasps that need to be shut, but once it's on, you're free.  I can read, surf the web, talk on the phone or address Marco's needs, all while pumping!  Thanks to this awesome bra, I'm pumping and blogging right now

And the second thing that makes pumping easier, is Netflix Instant.  For a person, like myself, who lives without cable, Netflix is a dream! I probably drive Mau crazy at 3am with my shows, but I gotta do something

 I can't understand how some people would CHOOSE to exclusively pump.  Don't they realize that they're doing DOUBLE work!  I can't wait till Jonas is home, so I can just ditch the pump! 


Joie said...

Try these bags:

They are cheaper than the Medela and the seal is MUCH better.

Dana said...

I hear pumping can be rough but your doing great! I can't even imagine... I am nervous about breastfeeding but I have decided every time I start to freak out I am reading this post!! Also my sister-in-law uses the ones Joie suggested. I read the reviews on both and the Lansinoh bags have less negative reviews but they are a little more expensive.

Brooke Eaton said...

Hang in there...before you know it he'll be home and you can kick the pump to the curb like I have! At least we both had plenty of milk to have more than we need (I know I have over a gallon in the freezer). You're doing great and you're going to make it :-)