Where do I start? Okay, If breast feeding is considered blessing for the babies then breast (pump) feeding is a blessing for the mommies. I managed to feed my baby exclusively with breast milk for first four months though I had to return to work in less than three months and all the credit goes to the breast pump. Let me share my recent first hand experience of breast (pump) feeding. Hope this helps at least one of the clueless newbie mommy out there.
My journey of BF started two days after giving birth to my baby as the colostrum took its own time to find its way out. Why should the it worry about my baby’s hunger? I patiently (not really) waited for the prestigious highly hyped colostrum buddy to peep out and then there was no stop. Engorgement has become my frequent visitor even if I am delayed by one minute in the two hour feeding routine. Not willing to befriend Ms.Engorge I started the pumping saga. I pumped once or twice a day and built up my freezer stash. Little did I know the benefit of freezer stash at that time. My family didn’t really like the idea of storing the milk in freezer. Amma’s mantra was “if you have more then feed him often” but I didn’t budge and took my stand for once. I fed him only when he was in need and stored all the excess milk ignoring those stares.
This is the calculation from my personal experience. This may not be true for all babies. It is only my personal experience and I have not done any research or study around it. Enough said let’s get into the details now.
The baby’s intake will be their age+2 ounces roughly for every two hours. So, newborn will intake 2 ounces in 1st month, 3 ounces in 2nd month, 4 ounces in 3rd month and so on. Mother’s milk production will be more than required in initial months so saving them for later is the wiser choice. My lactation consultant asked me to always remember the 5-5-5 rule for milk storage. Milk can be stored for 5 hours in room temperature, 5 days in fridge and 5 months in freezer.
During first month mostly I fed my baby as I was still recuperating from the surgery. Then, I started to have a pattern. Like once or twice a day I will pump, save 2 to 3 ounces for next feed and the rest in freezer. This way I was able to save at least 4 to 6 ounces every day. By the time I was ready to start work I had enough in freezer to feed my baby for 3 days.
During the first day of work my baby lived on the freezer stash. Imagine 8 hours being away from the baby for the first time. That’s the day I, rather my family, realized the power of saving milk. At work I pumped for the next day. Store them in a cooler pack until I get home and then kept it in refrigerator. At nights I was feeding. The routine was set.
Another personal experience is that the more you feed the more is the milk production as doctors say breast milk production is directly proportional to your baby’s need. Your brain gets signaled and the production increases under normal circumstances if you don’t have any other medical problems. You would have noticed the let down just before feeding or when your baby cries in hunger. This connection is beyond explanation but I have felt it. So, I choose to store Friday’s pumped milk for following Monday and feed my baby on weekends. This setup worked great for another one month. The contentment of this setup was beyond words.
Amma used to say that milk is not enough for my baby but I kept my cool as long as he is fed based on my calculation and he was gaining weight as expected every month. That is at fourth month he was fed around 6 ounces every time he showed signs of hunger. My doctor also confirmed that around 24 to 26 ounces per day is good enough for a four month old. Also, babies usually gain 1kg every month for initial few months. I have experienced this for both my kids.
Once four months were over, we slowly introduced him to supplement (Enfamil) and at five months we started with solids as per my doctor’s advice. I could have continued pumping for as long as I want but as other priorities came up and due to other practical reasons I slowly reduced my pumping routine and now (at six months) feeding him only at nights. Hope to continue with the nighttime feed as long as possible.
And that sums up my Breast(pump) feeding saga. Please share your experience too..
Oh by the way I used Medela electric double pump and it worked great for me.
Good luck to all the new and expecting mommies..
P.S: This post might have lot of figures but I guess if you are feeding or have recently done that you should be able to relate to it more easily. Others, don’t worry if the figures are refusing to get into your mind. You can always revisit this place when you are about to start the BF phase.
Cross-posted at IMC - http://www.indianmomsconnect.com/2013/07/18/breastpump-feeding