Five Tips for Pumping

Andrea, my go-to exclusive pumper, has shared her top five tips for successful pumping! Check out my interview with her over here.
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Tip #1:
Get yourself a good hospital-grade double pump. I tried two brands and found Medela Symphony to be the best. (Check if your insurance covers a pump! Often it will!)

Tip #2:
Get a pumping bra... Yes I know they are not sexy but they hold the cups well against your skin, create a good suction and you can carry on with emails, calls and even being with your baby.

There it is -- the big Medela Symphony over there.
Tip #3:


Interview with Andrea: Exclusive Pumping

Andrea is the mother of two beautiful girls and has added to the general craziness of life with two littlies by started her own sewing business, Spirited Child.

I asked Andrea to be an interviewee for Milk and Motherhood because I knew that her journey took a bit of a different turn than the 'usual' (upon reflection, though, is there a 'normal' breastfeeding journey?!). After struggling with a variety of problems, she became an exclusive pumper for her daughter and is now the woman I turn to when mothers ask me for advice and tips about pumping! She is an inspiration, and gave so much of herself to be able to give her beautiful little baby what she could. Here is Andrea, talking about her love/hate relationship with breastfeeding, and reminding me once again why I hold exclusive pumpers on the highest of pedestals in this world of baby-feeding. 

Andrea and Amelia
Tell me about your breastfeeding journey and how you found yourself exclusively pumping for your baby.

Breastfeeding…I have a love/hate relationship with it. Before I had my first, Amelia, I never knew how much I would love it. Actually, I didn’t think I would care – my attitude was very matter of fact about it. But I also hated breastfeeding because it didn’t fully work for us in a ‘normal’ way.


My Dreams for a Feeding-Obsessed World

It is World Breastfeeding Week, and... well... I don't know.

As someone who has been on both sides of the breastfeeding 'debate' (and yes, there still is one!), as a mother who was scarred by her inability to breastfeed, and now as a mother who celebrates the joy that is breastfeeding and is even pursuing a career based around it, I remain unsure of how I feel about a week dedicated to breastfeeding awareness.

It is vital that those mothers who feed their babies through other means do not feel shame when this week is promoted. It is vital that they do not see it as another wound to their heart. To me, this week shouldn't only be about celebrating breastfeeding -- it needs to be about education. I'm not even necessarily talking about the education of mothers and mums-to-be here: I have heard too many stories -- hundreds, perhaps -- of women who desperately wanted to breastfeed, but who received ill-informed advice from medical professionals that resulted in the sabotage of their breastfeeding relationship. This week should be about raising awareness in society and within the social and medical systems around these women to allow them to achieve their goals and dreams, whatever they may be. I don't want to talk about the medical benefits of breastfeeding – it has never been about that to me. It is about my instincts; about that burning primal urge in me to be the body that nourishes my child, both inside and outside of my belly; about my dream of motherhood. People need to talk less about the milk and more about what women want.
Feeding my first with love
Feeding my second with love
I want to live in a world where the word 'choice' isn't used to make mothers feel less guilty about a medical system that failed them.

I want to live in a world where nobody feels uncomfortable when they see a woman feeding her child, in whichever way is working for them.

 I want to live in a world where no mother feels uncomfortable feeding their child -- not feeling the need to cover herself and her baby, and not feeling that she wants to hand out pamphlets to everyone that watches her prepare formula, so that they truly can understand what she has been through. 

I want to live in a world where no mother feels shame when feeding, and sadly that is currently so far from the truth, with both breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers. All mamas need to feel proud of having gone through what they have in order to keep their babies fed and healthy.  

Busting my gut and pushing myself to the brink in order to achieve a breastfeeding relationship with my baby is a choice of mine; it is personal, it is deeply emotional in ways that are impossible to articulate, and I thank every person who has supported me throughout, whether that be through actively offering hugs and high fives, or through choosing to omit criticism.

Next time you see a bottle feeding mama, know that there is a chance that she is just like I was -- that a system failed her, that she is sad and stressed beyond belief, that she is heartbroken at not being able to fulfil her dreams, that she feels judged for not being able to do what is deemed as 'best'. Send her love, send her support.

Next time you see a breastfeeding mama, know that there is a chance that she is just like me -- that she is filled with doubts and never knows if she is doing the right thing, that it is so very far from easy, that she has been through so much to even be able to bring that baby to her breast, and that she hopes that one day she won't regret how hard she has worked to get to this point. Send her love, send her support.

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