|I'm 18 days old :)|
So in my mind - first option breastfeed directly. Second option... Formula milk and oh well, have to wash and sterilize bottles all day.
Never in my mind did I think I would be a pumping mum. Doesn't make sense! Pump every few hours, and then put in bottle and feed baby. And then have to not only wash bottles, but the damn pump parts too?!
So to feed breast milk, from the source just seemed like the best option. I never bought a pump, because I never planned to pump. I was conscious that I would have to work at regulating milk supply so it would match baby's intake, I don't want to keep excess ( I still don't). I could never understand why breastfeeding mothers would also pump and create a whopper of a milk stash in their freezer. Aiyohhh why so kiasu. Plus frozen breast milk gets kinda fishy when thawed, gross.
And I did also decide if for some reason breast feeding was too difficult... (I read about engorgement, and nipple blisters etc etc), then I would just switch to a good formula milk. I've said before, I was a formula milk baby and I grew up strong and well. I also have stellar immunity. I hardly ever fall ill till this day. Even when my husband comes home with all sorts (flu, etc), I manage to not get it off him like 90% of the time (except that one time he freaking coughed in my face and spittle went onto my eyeball, while pregnant. I got sick then, but that was still minor, no meds needed).
ANYWAY... fast forward to the day Myla was born.
I didn't get to have skin to skin right after surgery (to the nature of my csection), and didn't even get to have any contact with her until about 24hours after she was born. She could not take a bottle, and was tube fed formula milk.
I did not get to start pumping or extracting any colostrum until I was back in the ward, some 8 hours after surgery. Before that I was just stuck in recovery and POA. By the time I started trying to pump/hand express... it hurt. Boobs felt rock hard, but nothing coming out. The nurses encouraged me to just keep pumping every 3 hours. I tried a few times, and got fed up. I hadn't even got to see or touch my baby yet. My baby is already on formula milk anyway, why not just leave it as it is.
Then when I finally got to get off my bed and go see her at special care... seeing her so tiny, and with IV needles in her hands and tubes down her mouth, broke my heart. I started reading up about how breast milk is even more important for premature babies. And when I went back to my ward that afternoon, I took pumping more seriously. BUT NOTHING!!! I knew it was normal, Myla was just born the evening before, and it would take a few days for milk to come in, especially after a Csection, but I did start feeling really really really desperate.
The next day, the lactation consultant came to see me. And I told her I was pumping but there was nothing. She came over and without prior warning squeezed my nipples very hard (I would have punched her first if I had known the pain that was about to hit me lol). Yeowch!!! But lo and behold... collustrum! *cue heavenly music*.
So she helped me to keep squeezing and syringing the collustrum. And it was sent straight to the special care nursery to be put down Myla's feeding tube. Yessa!!
I was discharged that day (I know epically early, but physically I was doing really well, even off the painkillers, and up and about. Also I wanted to get home to Lola because I had been stuck on hospital on bedrest trying to push Myla's birth as close to full term as possible... reaching 36weeks is really a triumph considering the circumstances).
When I went home and tried to hand express (to take to the hospital when I visit Myla twice a day), again nothing. In the end I had to get David to squeeze the rock hard lumps real hard and we managed to get some colostrum (or was it transitional milk? dunnoe... like a more watery version of colostrum). We still took that pathetic amount to the hospital. Lol.
Next day... ENGORGEMENT. Like seriously... this is shit. My breast feeding journey is going tits up before it has even begun. I got a massage person to come to my place to relieve the engorgement. And god damn it, so painful. I always think of myself as having a high threshold of pain some more. I stopped her half way, and said nevermind, no need to continue... I think I'll just do formula.... now, what do I do to make the milk go away? Do I just leave it and it will ease off? (bahahaha I seriously said that and I meant it)
Then the next day, Myla could come home! She had been able to feed through a bottle using preemie teat, and she was ready to come home. Was a surprise, didn't expect her to be ready so fast. Only 5 days in special care. I got David to meet me at the hospital after work, and we took her home.
The next day, my friend Sarah came to be with me at home, I was not confident of having Myla home by myself that first day. And it helped having her around (she had preemie twins 2 years ago)... and she gave me that second (or was it third lol) wind to try breast feeding again, not give up so soon. She helped me massage the engorgement out of my boobs. Fucking painful. But it worked.
That night, I bought a Spectra dual pump. And the minute I put it on... milk flowed!! Like really flowed!!! *cue heavenly music again*
So this is my life now... in the day time is not too bad. But imagine this scenario at night..... my newborn has to eat every 3 hourly. So I wake at midnight... Change her diaper. Feed her milk from bottle, even with special preemie nipple she takes about 20 minutes. Have to go very slow, and keep her upright. And also keep her upright (by holding her... bouncers and car seats cannot) for another 20 minutes after the feed. If I don't then milk flows out her nose, her digestive system not mature yet. And she should outgrow this soon... (hopefully very soon). So that's about an hour of my time. It's almost 1am. I put her back in bed. Then I sit down to pump milk for her next feed. This takes 15- 20 mins. And after, I still have to wash the pump parts, and wash the milk bottle she used. And sterilize. Then by time I go sleep it's about 1.40am.
And I have to get up at 3am again to repeat. And again at 6am. So I only get to 1hour 20 mins sleep max for every 3 hour interval. This is what I'm struggling with at the moment. But I'm getting used to it. Today I don't even need a nap while she's sleeping now (hence the time available to write this).
It will get better as she grows older. She will be able to take more milk in one sitting. Her feeds will stretch out, so not 3 hourly. And I can start feeding on demand (for now I have to wake her 3 hourly because preemie). I also tried direct latching her recently, and she seems to take the nipple quite readily and happily. She will suck (somewhat like sucking) for 10 minutes... I don't think she's getting any milk though??? Her suction is no where as strong as what I feel with the Spectra pump (and I use the pump on a low setting).
I just direct latch her every now and then to get her used to it but I don't count it as a feed (because I suspect she might be comfort latching and not actually getting milk out??). The doctor did say that around her due date (that's in a week more)... she should have the ability to suck better, and won't need the preemie teat, can use newborn teat. So I'm hoping can direct latch her.. (anyone have experience with this?)
I love my Spectra pump.. but I hope get rid of it on Carousell soon!!! It's sucking the life out of me. lol.
EP (Exclusive Pumping) mummies out there... kudos to you. It's so much harder than breast feeding and formula feeding.