Every doctor, mother, and website says you should start breastfeeding or pumping mere hours after giving birth but I don’t have to tell you that my birthing experience was less than ideal. The long and short of it is that I lost one of my twins and I was in and out of the Intensive Care Unit myself. I couldn’t visit my surviving baby boy for a week!!☹️
My Ate Unna, among others, visited me every day. She has 4 children of her own and she gave me most of my existing baby supplies (clothes, toys, equipment) including my breast pump. Two days after the tragic death of our little girl, my ate Unna took the opportunity to encourage me to start pumping my milk. We were all trying not to think about my baby boy’s critical condition and as I’m typing this, I’m realizing that my pumping was very therapeutic for me.
When I gave birth, Pancho went straight to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit because he was only 30 weeks and 6 days. Full term babies are born between 37 and 40 weeks. He couldn’t take my milk yet because they wanted to be sure his tummy could take it. We had to wait a few weeks before the doctors finally gave the go signal.
I’m a total control freak so you can just imagine what I was going through. I did my research, I read so many books, I followed all my doctor’s orders. So with everything around me suddenly in chaos, a routine was exactly what I needed. It was very therapeutic for me.
I didn’t stop pumping. I pumped every 2-3 hours regardless if I was in the ICU or in a regular room. I asked the nurses to make sure I would wake up to pump and they sterilized my bottles after each use. My Ate advised me to pump each breast for about 15-20 minutes. I kind of overdid it for the first few days and strictly pumped both breasts for 30 minutes each every 2 hours.
Come to think of it, nobody in the hospital taught me about breastfeeding or pumping until I got discharged ELEVEN DAYS AFTER I GAVE BIRTH!! Establishing your milk supply early on is very important and I’m so thankful for my Ate.
I’m not a health professional so can’t know for sure but I personally believe I can attribute my good, steady flow (at times too much) to those first few days. The more you pump, the more your body will produce milk. I couldn’t breastfeed Pancho for a month and a half so my body thought my “baby” (a.k.a. my breast pump) needed to drink an hour’s worth of supply (30 mins per side) and it produced what my “baby” needed. Until now it blows my mind how magical a mother’s body can be.
These days, I am not taking any supplements for my milk supply. I just pump every 3-4 hours for about 10-15 minutes these days or else I get clogged ducts and they can get very painful. Thankfully, I am still able to collect extra milk to donate to those in need. To date, I think I’ve donated over 500 bags and it makes me so happy when moms send me updates on how well their babies are doing. I cannot donate to everybody, but I try to give as much as I can whenever I collect at least 5 bags. I just can’t pay for delivery to all, and I’m glad mommies have no problem shouldering delivery fee via LALAMOVE (they have insulated bags — perfect for frozen milk!). Check back in a few days because I’m working on creating a form for donation requests!
To sum it up, I completely understand that moms can tire from breastfeeding so they don’t bother to pump anymore. But it’s been proven that pumping regularly and consistently can help with your milk supply so if you’re having problems, pumping for about 10 extra minutes after feeding your baby might help with your flow! It would be great to have a family member take care of your baby while you do your thing. Don’t forget that stress can be a factor in lowered milk supply so just relax and keep going as it will take time before your body adjusts to this new demand! Let me know if this works for you or if my theory is complete BS! Hahaha!! Give yourself maybe a week or two before coming to a conclusion though!
I am currently drafting a blog for my breast pumping essentials! Motherhood has opened a whole new world of hanash for me 😁