The Boob Group
Exclusive Pumping: Making It Work for You
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ROBIN KAPLAN: A few weeks ago we spoke about the basics of exclusive pumping such as the reasons why a mom may choose to do this as well how to choose the best pump and set up a pumping schedule. Today I’m thrilled to welcome back to the show expert Stephanie Casemore. Stephanie is a mother, teacher and writer living in eastern Ontario, Canada. After pumping for her son for one year, she wrote the book Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk: A Guide to Providing Expressed Breast Milk for Your Baby. Today we are discussing exclusive pumping and how to make it work for you. This is The Boob Group episode 98.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Welcome to The Boob Group broadcasting from the birth education centre of San Diego. The Boob Group is your weekly online on the go support group for all things related to breastfeeding. I’m your host Robin Kaplan. I’m also an international board certified lactation consultant and owner of the San Diego breastfeeding centre. Have you checked out our Facebook page recently? If not, you should definitely head on over and join in on our conversation that happens there daily. Feel free to post questions on our wall and we will try to answer them in an upcoming episode. And best of all help us share all of our great content by sharing your favourite episodes with your friends. Today I’m joined by two lovely panellists in the studio. Ladies will you please introduce yourselves. Jane you want to go first?
JANE GAMBLE: Hi I am Jane. I am 33. I’m a stay at home mom as well as a military wife and I’ve got one little boy who is 2 years old.
ROBIN KAPLAN: And how about you Katie?
KATIE JACQUET REED: I’m Katie and I’m 32. I’m a stay at home mom also and a part time worker at the domestic violence shelter. I have two kids, one boy Logan who’s 2 and half and my daughter Arwen who is 11 months.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Thanks ladies. And I’d also like to just give a shout out to Mj, our producer. Mj you want to tell everyone about our virtual panellist program.
MJ FISHER: Sure. Our virtual panellist program is growing. Thanks to all of you online who can’t be in the studio but you’re contributing to our online conversation and that’s just basically what it is. We have the same questions that we’re posting that we’re talking about in the studio. We’re posting online and then you’re able to answer them and give your experience and your opinions and help others mommas. So thank you for contributing to that and continuing to contribute.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Well thanks Mj.
LARA AUDELO: Hi Boob Group listeners. I’m Lara Audelo, a certified lactation educator, volunteer Best for Babes and the author of the Virtual Breastfeeding Culture. I’m here to answer some of your most common questions about how you can achieve your personal breastfeeding goals without being undermined by cultural and institutional booby traps. Such as what to do when you’re child care provider is not supportive of breastfeeding. Child care support for breastfeeding isn’t talked about as much as the other breastfeeding issues. But a recent incident in Toronto brought to light about how much a factor it is in mom’s ability to sustain breastfeeding.
A recent study from the CDC examined the relationship between child care provider support for breastfeeding and mother’s breastfeeding duration. It’s found that breastfeeding at six months where significantly associated with child care provider support to feed expressed breast milk and allow mothers to breastfeed the child care place before after work. Compared to mothers who reported fewer than three total supports, mothers who reported five supports or three times as likely to be breastfeeding at six months. Our findings suggests that child care provider’s breastfeeding support in the early months may help mothers maintain breastfeeding for longer durations.
And it’s compelling enough that the surgeon general in her call to action to support breastfeeding makes the recommendation “ensure that all child care providers accommodate the needs of breastfeeding mothers and infants”. The CDC also found that only 6 of the 50 states have child care regulations requiring the centres “encouraging the breastfeeding and feeding of breast milk by making arrangements for mothers to feed their children comfortably on site end”. Just six, now it’s almost certainly a case that many child care providers support nursing moms on their own without being required to by the state. But doesn’t the absence of regulation say something about the lack recognition of this of an issue. We think that is a booby trap.
A special thank you Tanya Lieberman IBCLC for writing the booby trap series for Best for Babes. Visit babesforbabes.org for more great information about how to meet your personal breastfeeding goals and check out my book the Virtual Breastfeeding Culture for collection of breastfeeding stories. And be sure to listen to The Boob Group for fantastic conversations about breastfeeding and breastfeeding support.
ROBIN KAPLAN: So today we’re talking about how to make exclusive pumping work for you. I am thrilled to welcome Stephanie Casemore back to the show. Stephanie is the author of two books the Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk: A Guide to Providing Expressed Breast Milk for Your Baby and Breastfeeding Take Two: Successful Breastfeeding the Second Time Around. Hi Stephanie welcome back to the show.
STEPHANIE CASEMORE: Thanks for having me.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Well so Stephanie let’s revisit just a for few minutes and tips for creating a pumping schedule because I know this is a question that comes up the most for my moms that I’m working with. Which do you find is easier, following the baby’s lead and pumping around baby’s feeding schedule or setting an alarm and pumping every couple of hours?
STEPHANIE CASEMORE: First of all I would say that what’s easy and what’s best aren’t necessarily the same.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Good point.
STEPHANIE CASEMORE: So my answer probably will change depending on a woman’s situation. I think some women are able to follow a baby’s schedule and schedule their pumping around you know their baby’s naps and play time and feeding time and that would work but it’s not going to work for everyone. You know some babies are more fuzzy, they require more time so I think my advice will be to set a certain number of sessions a day. Set a goal for a certain number of sessions and kind of plot out when you hope to get those sessions done but then also be prepared to be flexible. And the numbers of sessions a day are probably more important than the frequency of pumping.
So rather than worrying about getting it exactly every two hours you know as long as you can aim for if you’re aiming for eight sessions a day and get those eight sessions in that’s most important. But if you use your baby’s schedule to determine the pumping schedule sometimes you’ll end up at the end of the day and you know you’re a couple of sessions short. Babies are notoriously unpredictable. And our time gets eaten up pretty quickly if we’re not prioritizing.
So unfortunately with exclusive pumping I would recommend that women set out a number of sessions that they want to have done and then make those priority. So whether you know you might have to slice it a little bit if you’re planning on pumping at 10 am and you don’t get to pump until 10:30 it’s not a big deal but by planning a bit you’ll better hit those targets in the long run it’s more beneficial for your supply.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay. And when a mom is pumping, how long do you typically recommend that she pumps each time?
STEPHANIE CASEMORE: So again that’s going to be that depends kind of answer. You know the length of your sessions depend a lot on how often you’re pumping, how many sessions you’re doing a day, and to some extent it’s going to depend on how old your baby is. My general guideline that I usually share with most women is to aim for about 120 minutes to 140 minutes a day. And that you know will then get divided between the numbers of sessions that you’re doing. That was the guideline a 120 minutes when I was pumping you know 10 plus years ago.
And the newer research that’s starting to come out supporting that so I think the 120 and 140 is a good kind of guideline of what to aim for. In the early postpartum period, sessions are going to be shorter because you’re pumping more frequently you know the first couple of days postpartum if you have to pump immediately after your baby is born. You’re probably going to be aiming in between 8 and 12 sessions a day so your sessions might only be you know 10, 12, 15 minutes each.
As your supply began to increase, you’re needing to pump longer to ensure your removing milk as fully as possible and then as your supply increases and as your baby gets older you can often stretch the time between those sessions as well. And so aiming for that kind of total number of minutes per day and then just dividing it to the number of sessions given how far postpartum you are and how strong your supply is and how many pumps you’re doing it today. So it’s kind of really roundabout with it all depends.
STEPHANIE CASEMORE: No but you gave great detail so… No that’s wonderful so ladies in the studio, what type of schedule worked best for you and how did it change over time? Jane how about you first?
JANE GAMBLE: I just started every 2 to 3 hours. I tried to do it at the beginning when my son was sleeping just because he was easier to manage that. And then as he got older I just tried to spread it out so there’s either napping or playing on his own as he definitely got a lot older. I think that’s about it yeah I just kind of plan it around but I also made sure that I was doing it every couple of hours and as many pumps as I could during the day like you said Stephanie.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Did you notice that the time, the amount of time that you’ve spent on each pumping session changed over time as your son got older?
JANE GAMBLE: You know actually it didn’t. Mine stay pretty much the same. I know that my LC and I went through 12. He told me don’t pump more than 30 minutes and don’t pump less than 10. But you know according to a lot of the moms on the boards that I see they complain about 40 minutes, an hour and half, and every woman is different it’s a matter of getting those pumps sessions in and it’s not necessarily about looking at the time clock because your brain is your, I don’t know to say, defence barrier but if you focus on the time, you’re not going to focus on releasing the milk.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Good point.
JANE GAMBLE: Yeah.
ROBIN KAPLAN: How about you Katie?
KATIE JACQUET REED: I exclusively pump with both of my son and my daughter and it was a little bit different for both them based on their individual circumstances as far as their tongue ties and releases but generally I kept to a every 3 hours schedule for the first several months until I had a really solid milk supply I was stabilized in even if I’ve had two kids with tongue ties I’ve been blessed with over supply.
So over time I was able to gradually drop pumps and now I’m able to sustain my daughter on just 4 pumps a day and I pump about 8 ounces per pumps and that’s enough. I’ve got a huge supply in the freezer so I’m blessed in that way but yeah 15 minutes every 3 hours and then just dropped off over the months. And I refused to do it in the night unless for some reason I missed a pump and then it’s killing me so I will do that but generally that’s something I did differently with my daughter, my son I did get up, my daughter I said no.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Yeah. Mj, you said that we have a virtual panellist who wants to share some information with us?
MJ FISHER: Yes. Angela Haynes. She is talking about the type of schedule and how it changed over time. She said that when I started out I would pump every three hours during the day and at night my husband would feed while I pump. Eventually I work into a pattern of 6 times a day and she said it helped to have multiple sets of bottles and flanges so she doesn’t have to keep washing them and having a hands free bra is a must. Eventually around 10 months she said she started cutting out a session until she was down to first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening and then I wish you would cut down the minutes that she pumped until she was no longer producing.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay. Thanks Mj. So Stephanie what tips do you have from getting the most milk out while pumping.
STEPHANIE CASEMORE: There’s lots of lots of lots of tips. Some of the big ones I mean starting kind of the large picture items I would say the pump is super important, you know the best quality pump that you can get, using a double pump as opposed to a single pump if possible. Pumps are difficult because some people are going to respond to one better than another. And if you already put out you know 2 to 3 hundred dollars for a pump you know you can be a little reluctant to go and spend more money on another one. But the pumps do make a difference to a lot of women.
Definitely using breast massage prior to pumping using one compresses while you’re pumping you’re getting your hands involved using massage, using breast compressions to help remove and release the milk. Comfort is a big one and I’ve kind of like a really large topic but if you’re not comfortable you’re not going to let down. The milk is not going to releases as well as you know if you’re in pain or discomfort or even just cold or uncomfortable on how you’re sitting. So comfort’s a big one.
Flange fit is super important for any mom who is using a breast pump especially for moms who are exclusively pumping making sure that the flange fits properly isn’t too small or too large. Adjusting the cycling and the suction during pumping is important so you know sometimes you have a let-down phase and you can just push a button. But on one’s that don’t have that, just using, starting the session with faster cycling low suction and then once your milk starts to release you started getting a let-down to reverse that so that you’re cycling is slower but your suction was a little higher.
And that helps to get milk out and then once your first let-down flows reversing that again back to the faster cycling lower suction. So most women will have 2 or 3 let-downs per session and you should be getting that depending on how long you’re pumping so knowing that is important as well. Other things that you can try are things like pumping for say 10 minutes and then stopping for five and then coming back and continuing your session. So not feeling like you have to be sitting down for an entire 20 minutes session or 30 minutes session however long you’re going but to break it up and that can also help to release milk get a better let-down each time.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Alright.
STEPHANIE CASEMORE: Those are some ideas.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Those were terrific. And what about cleaning pump pieces? I know that this can be exhausting even when I went back to work and I had to clean them when I was at work but I can’t imagine having to do this 8 times a day. So what tips do you have for making this easier?
STEPHANIE CASEMORE: There’s lots of kind of tricks or tips that a lot of women use and it’s kind of and I have to use my top 10. It doesn’t depend in my opinion on the age of your page and the health of your baby so you know, and it also depends on where you’re pumping. So if you’re at home that’s one thing. If you you’re in a hospital, if your baby is a preemie or in the NIQU for some other reason that that’s a different situation. So for preemies for babies who are have their immune system that’s compromised because of some illness if they’re in the hospital it really is best to clean them and sterilize them after each session just because the environment and health of your baby.
If you have yeast infection, thrush that’s the same thing. I’ll be cleaning them out after each session for sure. Having said that if you’re baby’s you know healthy, your baby’s older you know so you not as paranoid perhaps that you know [inaudible] and health and making sure every germ in your environment’s annihilated. There’s lot of different things you can do, find multiple flange sets is definitely one of the first ones. That way if you have enough to last you through the day you can just wash up once or maybe twice depending on how many you have.
You can do what many people referred to as the refrigerator trick which basically goes off the understanding that breast milk you know the very hearty substance and you can leave it in a fridge for up to 8 days so in this case you know you can leave your flange sets in a fridge in between sessions and it’s not you know the milk that’s left on the flanges that will be fine to use the next time and then you can again wash only once or twice a day. Other things from my experience I only had 1 set of flanges and I did have a preemie so I was cleaning a lot.
For me having my coead (ph) sterilizer was huge because it made sterilizing so much easier. And you can also get sterilizing bags and you know different things such as out your dishwasher runs hot enough you can also use your dishwasher to sterilize and clean most pump kits depending on the manufacturer please check. I don’t people telling me that I melted my flanges. And of course you know use the people around you. You know get your husband to wash your… you know if your mother comes in and then make use of the extra hands to help with that. So those are some ideas.
ROBIN KAPLAN: That’s great and one of the moms had mentioned the hands free bra too. So what type of products, I guess without naming any names like name brands, but what type of products do you think are most important and helpful when exclusively pumping?
STEPHANIE CASEMORE: There’re lots that can be helpful. I’m kind of a really a dearborn person. I don’t just as a breastfeeding I preferred to not make people or make women believe that they have to buy stuff. So you know aside from a pump, set of flanges some collection bottles those are the big things that you absolutely have to have. I would add probably some type of lubrication whether you use coconut oil or olive oil or lanolin. Whatever that might be that you choose to use.
Those would be the big ones. Having some spare parts, the membranes and valves that go into the flanges should be changed out regularly. So that would be something that would be very important to have. In terms of helpful as they said extra flanges, extra collection bottles, a hands free bra for many-many-many-many women find that almost you know it makes it’s a life changing moment when you get a hands free bra and discovered that you now have two hands to do something else whether it’s you know doing something with your baby or even just getting on the computer, texting or whatever it might be.
Things, another thing is, things to keep your baby busy actually I would probably throw in things that are in that category to things that are helpful so whether that be you know a bouncy chair or an extra saucer. When my son got older and I was having to keep him busy it was the baby Einstein era and you know there’s a couple of those videos that he loved so in some respect it’s whatever works for you.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Yeah.
STEPHANIE CASEMORE: And so things you know thinking about how to keep your baby busy those are things that definitely are in the helpful category.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay ladies in the studio. How about you Katie, were there any products you feel like you just couldn’t live without?
KATIE JACQUET REED: Yes and this might be a little bit controversial but a car adaptor for the pump.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Oh yeah.
KATIE JACQUET REED: I pump on the go. So having a car adapter for my pump and a nursing hands free nursing bra and a cover too, I actually pumped through a drive through. Okay whatever works. But that was really-really helpful for me in terms of being able to get my pump sessions in while on the go and also because when babies get older like are in my kids at least they want to rip the pump cords out as when I’m pumping so pumping in the care helps that a lot. And then as was mentioned having a bouncy chair so I can put my daughter in and feed her a bottle while I’m pumping and we do circle time and that just gives just enough distraction to get through pump sessions successfully and then obviously a cooler so I can store my milk if I’m pumping on the road.
ROBIN KAPLAN: That’s great. How about you Jane, anything else you loved?
JANE GAMBLE: I definitely had multiple flange sets and spare parts was a key for me. I was really lazy and didn’t like cleaning my parts so I needed to have multiple parts. The seam bags for the microwave worked really well. Definitely hands a free bra that was really helpful. As my son got older either a jump rope I don’t really recommend a jump rope but something a safe area for him to play and be away from me to not pull out the tubes was really helpful so like a play yard, a bouncer, something just to keep him occupied was definitely key. My husband was deployed for the first little bit and that was really struggle. But as he got older again with being working and stuff I was on my own doing the pumping and keeping my son entertained as he got older was a lot more challenging to pump.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Alright. Mj, someone online…
MJ FISHER: Yeah
ROBIN KAPLAN: had something they wanted to add?
MJ FISHER: Yeah. Angela Haynes again, she is hooking us up with the exclusive pumping tricks and tips. She says the same things that the ladies say in the studio car adapter, battery pack, nursing cover, hands free bra and lots of sets of pumping bottles and flanges.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Alright.
MJ FISHER: Yes.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Very cool. Alright, well when we come back Stephanie and our panellists will discuss tips for not letting the pump run your life. We’ll be right back.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Well welcome back to the show. We’re here chatting with Stephanie Casemore and we are talking about exclusive pumping: making it work for you. So Stephanie what are some of your top tips for keeping up a milk supply when exclusive pumping?
STEPHANIE CASEMORE: The first thing I would actually say is education. I think it’s really important and I always encouraged women to learn about the process of lactation. How the milk supply is initiated and maintained? You know what’s as I said earlier what is easier is not always best for supply and so sometimes having that knowledge and that information behind you so that you understand where you can make changes and where you can’t make changes is really important.
The basics of keeping up milk supply are frequently ah sorry frequency and effective milk removal and really those you can’t get away from that. So if your supply’s not where it needs to be or if it’s dropping increasing frequency and you know checking how your pump’s working and how efficient it’s working for you and whether you know the milk that you have on your breast is actually being removed by the a pump is important. Obviously getting off to a good start just as in breastfeeding sometimes when women exclusively pump they may have started with breastfeeding and then it may have been challenges with breastfeeding and those can sometimes get them off to a bit of a rocky start with lactation.
So you know obviously if you can get off to a good start if you’re you know breastfeeding or if you’re starting right away with pumping by pumping frequently and follow all those good practices that would be helpful. Consistency is really important you know there’s really no shortcut. Sometimes you know you’ll hear of women who may be pumping four times a day and they don’t understand whether milk supply’s dropping. There’s no easy answer you know sometimes it is just a matter of you have to pump and you have to pump more. Other ideas I know I think it was Jane who said that I’m sorry maybe it was Katie who said that she didn’t pump in the night.
That it is actually a good strategy to build milk supply and to maintain it. If you don’t have to that’s awesome I can definitely appreciate why you’d not want to. But if you know supply is a concern, adding a middle of the night session can sometimes be helpful. Prolactin levels tend to be higher in the night time kind of you know between midnight and 6 am so if you can add a session in that range it’ll be helpful. Other idea is don’t drop sessions too quickly. It’s I understand those first few months are I mean as motherhood generally and then when you’re exclusively pumping it just adds to the whole crazy messes of life and the dropping a session or dropping a few sessions can sometimes seems exceptionally inviting.
But if your intention is to pump long term you know six months or more I would really caution women not to drop sessions too quickly. You know maybe one a month at the most and then just wait after you drop a session and see where you’re supply kind of evened out. Some people will see no supply drop. Some people will lose a few ounces. And there are the odd, I shouldn’t say the odd women, the occasional women who has a very large storage capacity and their supply can actually increase when their dropping sessions up to a certain point.
So let me think – so that leads to storage capacity which obviously plays a factor in the milk supply and if your storage capacity isn’t very large then frequency is going to be your friend. The more often you pump the better your supply will be. And there’s of course often are these herbal and prescription class drugs that can help maintaining a bit supply. I think though it’s important to always use other strategies before you turn to supplements or prescriptions.
So you know if you’re only pumping 4 times a day don’t try the prescription until you’ve added those extra pumping sessions and see how you respond to that. Because you know there are risks to most supplements and definitely risks to the prescription medications. So those things should be weight out and discussed with the, with your doctor or lactation consultant.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay. So with all of this pumping, how can an exclusively pumping mom get out of the house and keep up her pumping schedule? Do you recommend getting a hand pump, some other supplies, what works best?
STEPHANIE CASEMORE; It’s kind of depends on your comfort level of pumping outside of the house and your current pumping schedule. I would say in the early days you know if you’re pumping 8 times a day it’s probably going to be a little more challenging to get out. But that’s the same as what every other any mom or kind of regardless of how are you feeding especially if your breastfeeding or if you’re pumping. That frequency can sometimes be a little overwhelming but you know things change as time goes on and the you know after a month or two life begins to even out to get the kind of hang to everything.
And getting out for my personal perspective you know as I said 10 years ago when I was pumping I think things have changed a lot since then. You know I wouldn’t personally have felt comfortable going out and pumping in public but today I hear from so many women who are doing that you know they put on a nursing cover, you guys just said pumping through the drive through, pumping on the plane. Women are getting out there and doing it but you know it’s about what they’re doing and their needs their baby’s needs and their more than happy to you know to pump out get out in public and do what they need to do which I think it’s awesome.
So you know really I don’t think there’s anything that should prevent a mother from feeling like she’s unable to get out when she’s pumping. Definitely pumps that have battery packs and that are portable makes that so much easier if you’re using a hospital grade pump that can be a lot more challenging. They’re not really that portable. But having said that I do know women who you know troubled with their hospital grade pump and took it to worked every day. So it’s you know if there is a will there’s a way to a certain extent. Hand pumps definitely can work but if you got a pump with battery pack it’s probably just as convenient if not more convenient because you can put on a hands free pump or a hand free bra and you know pump while in the car or while you’re traveling somewhere.
Definitely I take you know make use of mother’s room. Find out what’s available in your community for that kind of thing. If you need to plug your pump in if you don’t have one with the battery pump you know get to know where the outlets are. And I think you know really as I said I don’t think there’s any difference when you’re breastfeeding a baby it’s just a matter of making it work for you and finding your comfort level I think.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Sure. So ladies how do you keep up your pumping schedule and continue to go out and be social? And I love to know the most unique place you pumped. Katie I don’t know if you had anything more unique than pumping in the drive through?
KATIE JACQUET REED: No that takes it from you.
ROBIN KAPLAN: How do you keep up with your pumping schedule when you were exclusively pumping even more than you are right now?
KATIE JACQUE REED: Yeah I just really relying on the car adapter like for real, that’s my, that was my life saver. I’ve done a little bit less with my daughter just because I’ve had the opportunity to not need it that much as I did with my son but yeah the car adapter, the hands free bra and the cooler pretty much can go anywhere and I do have a hospital grade pump and it is bulky and everywhere I go I got the diaper bag, the cooler and the pump bag plus my purse. But it works. You know it works.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Okay how about you Jane?
JANE GAMBLE: How did I keep up with my pumping schedule? I brought my pump with me wherever I went. I mean if I was going through a friend’s house I brought my pump I was not as careful as price with other moms and I did end up buying a couple of other pumps one used yes but I did have 3 pumps. I had my double pump, I had a single pump and I had a hand pump. And I took my single pump with me because it was like portable, battery pack. Hand pump if I needed too and it was easy that way. And my most unique place where I pumped? Airplane?
ROBIN KAPLAN: Nice.
JANE GAMBLE: And that was both at the terminal and on the plane with random people around me.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Good for you.
KATIE JACQUE REED: Nice.
JANE GAMBLE: And I’ve had moments too where I’ve forgotten my pump and fortunately I’ve been able to just use my hands…
ROBIN KAPLAN: Nice!
JANE GAMBLE: So it’s not as inconvenient. And there’s something that’s nice to being able to express by hand occasionally even if it’s in a tubule like work.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Mary Jane, any one on there on internet as well…
MJ FISHER: Yeah.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Who want to share an idea?
MJ FISHER: I just have to share the few unique places. So [inaudible] says tail gating before an NFL game…
ROBIN KAPLAN: Nice.
MJ FISHER: And Wend says the oddest place would be a pool table. And that was a hand expression session. And then Angela Haynes she says on a plane, beaches at Disney World, airport terminal, she would just excuse herself and run to the car.
ROBIN KAPLAN: I loved it. Alright that’s so fantastic. Nice!
MJ FISHER: Yeah.
ROBIN KAPLAN: So that’s kind of get us to the last question that we have for both Stephanie and our panellists. What are some of your best ways to avoid exclusive pumping burn out? You all have pumped for Jane pumped for two years I know Katie is coming up on a year. How long did you pump with your son?
KATIE JACQUET REED: A year.
ROBIN KAPLAN: A year. And I know Stephanie; you were a year as well right with your son? Okay. So how did you make it that far? How did you get over those kind of humps when you’re like I don’t think I can do this anymore?
STEPHANIE CASEMORE: There were many of those. The biggest thing for me was finding an online support group. It was hands down, I think that was the moment in my life where I… first of all I mean and I hear this yesterday there was a lady there telling the exclusively pumping Facebook group and said you know I thought I’ve invented this and I think we’ve all felt that way. When I decided to go exclusively pump I didn’t know it was a thing you know I didn’t know other people would doing it.
And when I found a group of women on the internet who were all doing the same thing it was an incredible experience. And I still feel exceptionally grateful to those women because I think just knowing that I wasn’t the only one was a huge emotional boost for me. And it gave you a place to go when no one else understood you know and you knew that when you enter that group and you ask your questions or you know complained about something that there were others who thought it and I think that was probably the biggest thing and you know I see that every day.
Our group now was I think about 2200 women and then you know it’s such an incredible group of support and love and understanding that comes from the group. For the most part we cover our moments with 2200 hormonal women. So you know that would be the first thing. Taking it a day at a time you know we always say never quit on a bad day. Sometimes you got to take it you know day by day. Sometimes its pump session by pump session but you know it always just kind of you know moved towards the next one.
Don’t make any rash decisions. And always say that to women too when their thinking of weaning especially if they’re wanting to wean because of you know challenges with their life in general, setting things in, making it work and I always say plan it for the future you know say I’m going to wean a month from now or two weeks from now I’m going to start the process. And always put it in the future so that you can deal with the emotional side of it. It works for your feelings and understand if that’s really what you want to do. And then once you get to that date that you said it you know if you still feel the same way then that probably the good thing.
But you know what’s right for you at that time. I think early on you know as I said earlier motherhood generally is overwhelming in the first few weeks and you know when you throw pumping into it, it just amplifies all that. Recognized that you know every new mother is feeling overwhelmed and you’re not the only one and you’re not doing something wrong because you’re feeling overwhelmed and that it will get easier. The oddest thing about exclusively pumping is that it just becomes part of your life. You know I always joked that when I weaned and I mean this literally, I wandered my house for two weeks not knowing what to do with myself. It felt so odd it’s just you know it became, it becomes a part of your identity.
It becomes kind of who you are as a mother the way to connect to your child but it does. It just becomes part of your life. So trust that that will happen eventually it might not happen early on but you know as months goes by it will get easier. And you know I say just give yourself a break. You know some I always say if you are completely overwhelmed drop a session you know there’s no sense harming yourself your physical self, your health just by adding too much stress and pressure to your life. So if you need to drop a session, drop a session. And if you’re exceptionally busy overwhelmed one day and you have to skip a session for some reason, don’t worry about it.
You know celebrate your milestones, and accomplishments. I think we as mothers tend not to do that but I think when you’re pumping it can be really helpful. And you know keep those accomplishments and the milestones in line so you know set goals for yourself but set small goals so you know don’t start by a when you’re pumping and say I’m going to pump for a year. Start with I’m going to pump for 3 months, I’m going to pump for 6 months and each time you can adjust rather than kind of giving you’re overwhelming goals to reach because when you’re a month or two or you know a week or two and after having your baby a year is just you know that’s never going to come. Right, and you know perspective is everything I think too.
So keeping things in perspective and realizing you know that after that first year or two years gone of your baby’s life, it feels like a blink of the eye and you know we’re always living forward and things are always changing so you can do it. You know women we got a lot of power and strength that we don’t even know about.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Absolutely. Well thank you so much Stephanie and to our incredible panellists for discussing this very-very important topic. We really appreciate your time Stephanie.
STEPHANIE CASEMORE: Oh you’re welcome. Thanks for having me.
ROBIN KAPLAN: Sure. And for our Boob Group club members, our conversation will continue after the end of the show and Stephanie will discuss tips for travelling for the exclusively pumping mama. For more information about our Boob Group club please visit our website at www.theboobgroup.com .
ROBIN KAPLAN: So here’s a question from one of our listeners. This is from Holly. I’m looking for some help or feedback. I’m returning to work in 3 weeks and have been exclusively breastfeeding for 3 months. My husband and I have tried introducing a bottle of pumped breast milk and our little one is refusing it. I realized that with time he will get used to it. But in my last 3 weeks I really don’t want to give up our breastfeeding moments. It’s a catch 22.
Are there alternative ideas out there for when I go back to work and he’s in a day care to make this transition easier? I do plan to pump during the day and breastfeed when we are home together for at least the first year. I’m really hoping for transitional ideas right now for when I go back to work and maybe a little bit before I go back to work. Thanks in advance.
VERONICA TINGZON: Hi Boob Group listeners this is Veronica Tingzon, International Board Certified lactation consultant owner of The Original Comfort Food in San Diego California. Holly I know that sometimes this that baby of yours isn’t wanting to take the bottle. It’s a very difficult journey to try to get you know that bottle or the sipping cup in before you go to work because of course you know that when you go to work maybe somebody is not going to have the same type of patience of introducing and offering the bottle to a baby who just doesn’t want to take it.
Just rest assured that a lot of times when babies do go to a day care centre or grandma’s house or somebody else’s home, when you’re not there, when your smell is not there, when your even your husband’s not there. That baby will go okay I’ll take this now because this is all I’ll take. You know that this is all I’ll get. And they may not eat what they would normally eat when you’re around and maybe save us all their collage intake for that moment when you get home but they will take it eventually. They’ll learn that it’s okay to go back and forth. With that said yes you do want to ease this transition.
I know that you’re not wanting to cut in to any of your snuggle bonding and breastfeeding time because you want to absorb it all in for the next 3 weeks before you go back to work. But one maybe even two attempts a day you’re going to be okay and I suggest for you to be gone completely when those attempts happen. Have yourself, your partner, your mother, your sister, whoever it is that’s trying offer that bottle or sipping cup now know we don’t have to have a bottle.
We can use alternate method. Whoever’s offering that alternative feeding method, you need to be gone because your baby knows you’re there. And the other thing is is that if you’re just in another room and you’re hearing your baby cry and back and not wanting to take that bottle, you’re going to eventually come out and want to meet your baby’s needs because you don’t want to hear your baby cry. So you need to be completely out of the home for an hour.
So you know go on take a walk or go get your head and your nails done. Get a pedicure or something. Do something nice for yourself at that moment and let the person who is offering the baby the bottle the opportunity to kind of work his or her way through it on their own just like when you did when you’re breastfeeding. I hope this helps. Thanks. Bye.
ROBIN KAPLAN: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to The Boob Group.
Don’t forget to check out our sister shows:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• Parent Savers for parents with newborns, infants and toddlers
• Twin Talks for parents of multiples.
Thanks for listening to The Boob Group; Your judgement free breastfeeding resource.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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