mama story: life as an exclusive pumper with oversupply
Thanks to Whitney Nye of Tar Heel, NC for sharing her journey!
I come from a town with more pigs than people and with a single stop light in town. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed; I longed for the bond I read about online.
Nobody in my family breastfed their babes, so in addition to being a first time mom, I couldn’t rely on my family for advice and had to figure many things out by trial and error.
I was induced on a Monday and labored until Tuesday afternoon. My beautiful baby girl was born on November 28, 2017. After Lucille entered the world I instantly asked the doctor if I could feed her. My baby girl latched on SO well and I nursed her for around forty minutes. She slept peacefully while our family was able to meet her for the first time. My heart was so full. ️
At her one week appointment the nurse asked me about how many pee diapers Lucille was having. As I began thinking about it, I realized she was not having very many. I was terrified that I was underproducing for my baby.
The nurse advised me to continue to breastfeed on demand and said that once Lucille’s mouth was a bit bigger she would likely be a more efficient nurser. The nurse also told me not to start pumping until my supply was stable, but I knew what I needed to do for my babe. Thus, my pumping journey began.
The first time I pumped I got three ounces from each breast. I was so thrilled to know I had milk and was not making my sweet girl go hungry. I let my husband bottle feed Lucille at the next feeding and she seemed so satisfied and went right to sleep after her meal. At this point, I stopped taking Fenugreek, confident that my supply was solid, though I did take the occasional brewers yeast.
The very next week I noticed that Lucy began to have WAY more pee diapers and my pumping was seeming to get even more efficient. At this point I was getting 12 ounces from each pumping session. It was actually amazing to be able to involve other people in feeding Lucy. My mother in law was over the moon about being able to share this special duty. She even stayed with me one night so I could sleep and took care of my little one.
I began having a surplus of milk as my supply kept increasing and I began store up my freezer stash. Before I knew it I was getting 20 ounces from each breast. One day, after eating a dozen oatmeal cookies I pumped 120 ounces in one setting. You read that correctly: one hundred and twenty ounces of milk. Looking back, I wish I would have taken pictures -– I did not realize how much the Lord had blessed me.
Around this time I had to quit saving up my milk because I had no more storage. Oh how I WISH I had all that milk back… When I hear people struggling with their supply it breaks my heart — because I had all this milk and no storage and poured out all my liquid gold for about three solid months.
I understand that we all have different struggles and different “successes.” But dealing with oversupply was quite literally the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
My work required me to be out of the house from 9:30am until 2am some days (I work in the restaurant industry). Taking care of a newborn, being on my feet all day and then dealing with my oversupply was so draining, so exhausting mentally and especially physically. I couldn't go longer than three hours without pumping or my breasts felt like rocks. While I knew that this milk was SUCH a blessing, there were also many times that I simply wanted to give up and give my daughter formula.
Now it has been a little over six months exclusive pumping. I do miss her latching and the connection from having the skin to skin contact, but looking back I'm glad it work out the way it did. My body responds well to a pump, I know I’m fortunate there. I set a goal for myself to pump for six months and I did it.
I look back and sometimes I do not know how I made it that far on my breastfeeding journey. I’m grateful to my husband, Mikey, who was so patient with me while I was cranky due to no sleep and oversupply. I am so grateful for bloggers who I constantly watched while pumping: @ameskiefer and @lisa.boettcher!! Above all, I’m really grateful to my savior, Jesus Christ, who has blessed me with a perfect babe and oversupply to help mamas in need as well as provide for my little girl.