Express yourself…(or your boobs to be specific)

Well I’ve seen it all now. I’ve started on the breast pump and entered the world of expressing which has bought both advantages and disadvantages. You have to have a giggle about the whole process of expressing milk though, I mean you literally become a human dairy cow. Ben is now referring to himself as a farmer and requesting regular updates on my ‘harvest levels’ after expressing.

I’ve got the Lanisoh electric double breast pump, and it’s very impressive. I wasn’t expecting the pumps to be so efficient but they really do mimic the exact motions of a baby suckling. Whilst the concept of what it does is relatively obvious, for some reason I wasn’t quite prepared to see all the moving bits – both the pump and my own! When you’re breast-feeding the whole baby covers your breast and you don’t really ever see what’s happening. It wasn’t until I’d taken a hit of projectile milk vomit that I was convinced there was milk in there! But with the pump you see it all in action and then you bottle it up and store it! What an amazing, efficient construction ladies boobies are. One thing I’ve always found odd is that when you research breast pumps you always get this same piece of advice ‘make sure you try out your breast pump before buying so you can get the right one for you’. I’m sorry, but how the hell are you supposed to do this? Are there women just wandering the aisles of Mothercare ripping open all the boxes of breast pumps and whacking their boobs out?! It has baffled me, do people really do this? If so I’d love to know how!

The first time I got on the pump nothing really happened, I’d heard that you had to be patient and that, like breastfeeding, pumping is also another skill you have to learn. Great, can anything be simple when it comes to breastfeeding?! I don’t think I even got an ounce out the first go, but it kick started the process and I’ve been gradually ‘harvesting’ more day by day. Similarly to breastfeeding, expressing sounds simple (take milk, out give to baby, job done) but is bloomin’ complicated, and I’m not sure I’ve fully mastered it yet. Whatever you take out, your body will remake, so if you go nuts and express loads in addition to your feeds then you’re likely to get some seriously engorged knockers to attend to.  So once you start the pumping process you’re entering into a contract, and to make it work efficiently, you have to keep it up regularly and get into a routine – bloody routines, they pop up all over the place don’t they!?

At first I just started doing it every other day because Phoenix was upping his feed and I was struggling to make enough milk by the time evening arrived, so I used the pump as a tactic to trick my body into making more milk. This worked well at first but eventually my body caught up again and on one of the days when I hadn’t expressed I got engorged. I woke up and thought I’d wet myself, my pj’s were totally drenched in milk, gross! When your boobs get engorged they are literally full to bursting; the stuff is pouring out. It’s amazing how rapidly it flows; you could cover your cereals in it if you wanted to (FYI, I did not do this). I think I’m back on track now and am expressing regularly in the evenings. Phoenix is getting good at going to bed now so I’m trying to give him the bottle for his evening feed then express once he’s asleep. This gives him more milk quicker, and is less knackering for me, as that last feed is humongous the little porker! I haven’t been able to get him to settle to sleep though, with just the bottle; he always needs a suckle on the breast before he’ll go – this kind of defeats the purpose as I’ll never be able to leave Ben to put him down if he keeps that up!

I’m also stockpiling any extra produce in the freezer, in-between the fish fingers and peas, as we have a couple of events coming up in October where I’m likely to be ‘on the bottle’ myself so need supplies! Breastfeeding is such a commitment, hats off to all mummies sticking it out, well done ladies! I’m aiming to do 6 months, I hope I make it. What with 9 months of pregnancy and 6 months of breastfeeding, it’s such a long time not to have full control over your body, I’m looking forward to it all being over…although am certainly not wishing away these precious days while he’s so tiny. I’m now expressing about 4 ounces which I believe is a pretty good amount (what a funny thing to ‘be good’ at!) Phoenix took to the bottle straight away which was a relief as some babies can get confused between teat and nipple as both require different sucking skills, but he’s doing really well. The bottle feeding has been great for Ben too as he can spend more time with Phoenix and is a great way to bond. Because breastfeeding is so frequent and can take ages, there is less ‘daddy time’ available so Ben loves having this time with him. Although – I left him to the bedding down routine this week and I think he was surprised how much hard work it is!

This weekend we went to the Southbank and mooched about. It’s nice going out with a bottle on you and not having to worry about suitable places to feed. Although, you shouldn’t really skip feeds, when I back I was bursting, got straight on the pump and expressed 5 ounces, ouch! If anyone has any good tips on pumping or pumping routines then let me know! I’m kind of getting the hang of it, but every night at about 10pm my right boob goes enormous so I’m not sure what happened there! It’s kind of good as that’s when I do my expressing but if ever do get out in the next 6 months will I have to take my pump with me and disappear into a toilet cubicle at 10pm?!

Moooooooooo! x

p.s please hit like on my facebook page! Thanks!

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