This pump and I became good friends over the last 15 months. From the day the girls were born, this pump was attached to me at 3 hour intervals. I rented the pump after leaving the hospital. This pump is very efficient and was what I needed to pump enough for twin girls. Many said it would be next to impossible to pump enough to feed the girls breast milk exclusively but I did just that minus just a few oz of formula right before the girls turned 12 months. The Medela Symphony is an efficient little machine and it helped me to make close to 37,000 ounces or 370 gallons of milk over the last 15 months.
The time has come for me to end my relationship with the pump. I thought I would continue a bit longer and make it until the girls turned 18 months but my passion was not in it anymore. My life revolved around pumping times, ounces accumulated, and the packing of pumping supplies. If I could have picked how things would have gone, I would have loved to be able to feed my girls at the breast rather than being an exclusive pumper. I could have stopped pumping at work at this age and allowed the girls to breastfeed and self wean, but that was not our situation. Riley was able to breastfeed but she self weaned at about 8 months. I think the reason for that was because we didn't have as much nursing time with me being a busy working mom and the fact I had to pump to feed Addison so it was much harder to coordinate pumping times with breastfeeding times and in the end I became an exclusive pumper.
I am just about done pumping. I returned the Symphony to the rental place and I am now using the Pump in Style Advanced to express a little milk in order to stay comfortable as my body gets the hint that I am done feeding my girls.
This is a bittersweet end to an era for me. You can say this is the end of the girls' babyhood. I now have toddlers walking around the house and my little babies that needed so much support have grown up a little bit. I'm sad to know that I am no longer providing their nourishment, but I am happy to be free from the restrictions of pumping. I no longer have to pack my pumping bag, clean pump parts, buy pumping supplies, and take time away from my day to pump. The only thing I am going to miss is the quiet time I had at work to pump and read. I probably read about 15-20 books in the last 15 months because I spent so much time pumping and I always had a book in tow.
I will leave you all with my Exclusive Pumping Tips for anyone considering pumping full time:
-You have to establish your supply early. This means pumping every 2-3 hours around the clock for the first 2-3 months. Then you may be able to go around a 4-5 stretch at night but keep to the every 3 hour schedule during the day.
-Pump for at least 20 minutes if not more if you want to have good supply. I would normally pump for about 5 minutes after the milk stops flowing and for me that was around 25-30 minutes per session
- Rent a hospital grade pump like the Symphony even if you plan on buying a personal pump. I used both the Symphony and the Pump in Style Advanced in my pumping journey.
- Drink water like a fish. Drink until you can't stand the thought of more water.
- Eat plenty of calories - You will be surprised at how calories play a major role in milk supply.
- Get your rest when you can. Have your husband or other family members help out with feedings so you can sleep and nap.
- Take herbs like Fenugreek, mothers tea, and more milk plus to increase your supply or to give yourself a boost.
- Use a pumping bra to give yourself the ability to do things with your hands while pumping. I read a lot but I could also fold laundry, hand my girls toys, and work or play on the computer while pumping. This was the one I used and I ended up buying 4 of them to always have a clean one handy. Pumping Bra I would put this on over my regular nursing bra and use a hooter hider if I was pumping in public or when family was around. I also used this bra to pump while driving. I was always looking for ways to save time and pumping while driving gave me more time with my girls. Just make sure you don't get pulled over because the officer may have an issue with this approach. :)
- Try power pumping to increase your supply. This is where you pump for 10-15 minutes then rest for 10 minutes, then pump for 10-15 minutes and then rest for 10 and so on until you have pumped for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. This will help mimic a growth spurt or cluster feeding session that a baby would do at the breast.
- Find some support. I found a few good online message boards where I could turn and ask questions and get support from other fellow pumping moms.
- And give yourself the ability to quit if you need to. Exclusively pumping is not for everyone and it requires a lot of time and dedication. Don't feel bad if you need to stop but try try try your best to find support.
My name is Amy and I am a divorced mama of twin girls This blog tracks our lives and struggles with infertility, pregnancy, and the premature birth of my twin girls. My twin girls arrived almost 2 months early weighing 4lbs 6 ounces and 3lbs 12 ounces. They had a month long journey in the NICU and now they are big and healthy. This blog is dedicated to the events in our lives so our girls can look back on how far they have come.