My Breastfeeding Story of Exclusively Pumping

exclusively pumping

Every mother has their own unique story and reason of how they fed their baby. Everyone has their own struggles, beautiful moments, maybe the judgments from other mothers or family. Whether you planned on exclusively pumping or bottle feeding or breastfeeding, sometimes things do not always turn out how you planned.

I had read all the books. I had taken the classes. I thought I was prepared for breastfeeding and NEVER would have thought I couldn’t breastfeed my baby. In all those books they never talk about the what-ifs and how to deal. We were young new parents not really knowing what we were doing. (Who really does?!) After 22 hours of exhausting labor , (and over FOUR HOURS of active pushing) it was finally time to feed my newborn for the first tine. My little precious angel and I were about to have a beautiful and natural connection that I was SO excited for.

exclusively pumping
Here we are just a few hours after he was born

 

I knew that sometimes it took some practice and adjusting and that trying to breastfeed the very first time may not be that successful. I held this tiny human in my arms, propped my arm up on a pillow and for the next TWO HOURS tried to feed him. He screamed and screamed and was blue in the face. I had FOUR lactation specialists and several nurses come see me over the course of 3 days and I was a mess. I was so sleep- deprived and he just would not stop crying. I ended up pumping and feeding him from a bottle at the hospital but just kept assuming that once we got home and weren’t in a cold, loud, busy hospital it would all work out. Day after day after week I tried to breastfeed and it just did not happen.

The nurses said he had a “goofy tongue” because his tongue was so large for his mouth that he just couldn’t get a proper latch. They told me I was doing everything right but it sure didn’t feel that way.  Every time he would try to nurse it was excruciating. I was covered in bruises and scabs and had to constantly stop to clean up the blood. It was terrible. After a couple weeks of trying I just stopped. I felt like a complete failure. I couldn’t do my most important job- feed my baby.  I promised myself and Nate that I would pump for at least three months. I had to ! It was the least I could do for this helpless sweet little thing we brought into this world. I was convinced that something bad would happen if he didn’t get my breastmilk. ( I was a new first time mamma and thought anything and everything was going to hurt him!)

 

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Pumping at first was not that difficult as I was unaware of any other way. Then my milk started to rapidly decrease and it was starting to take over an hour to get 2 ounces! I drank Mothers Milk tea constantly, took my max daily dose of Fenugreek, and prayed to the universe to give me more milk! My baby was on the larger side- he was born 8 pounds 15.5 ounces and ate and ate and ate. I couldn’t keep up! I was confined to our apartment often because as soon as I would leave to go somewhere I would need to pump again and I ended up just sitting in a bathroom stall or my car pumping anyways. I HAD to pump every two hours to keep up with him. There was no such thing as extra frozen breastmilk in our freezer. I pumped every two hours and he ate every two hours around the clock. Day after day. I had alarms set on my phone to wake me up every two hours at night and then of course he was eating every two hours as well. I was just so truly sleep-deprived those first few months that I don’t remember a whole lot. I was a true “Mombie”. We had even taken a trip back to Illinois when he was two months old and I had to pump at the airport and felt as though I was non-stop pumping the entire trip. I tried to have conversations with my family and friends while pumping with a blanket over my front and it just did not work. That thing was so damn noisy and it felt just awkward to be doing that in front of anyone. ( As for breastfeeding I was mentally prepared to be breastfeeding in public and around my family).

On the exact date of reaching three months of exclusively pumping I broke down. I finally had did it ! But knew I just could not continue pumping even for one more day. I called Nate at work and told him that I was done and he was beyond happy as he knew just how stressed I was from this. Immediately getting off the phone with him, I took my pump and threw it across the room. It was my physical way of setting myself free from this machine! It was glorious.

I do still remember that dreaded humming/buzzing noise of that stupid machine. I felt like a cow hooked up to this mobile prison I had to carry with me everywhere I went. Near the end I had the pump on the highest settings just to get an ounce. It took me nearly two hours to get one ounce. And at that point my son was eating 4 ounces at a time! I cried and cried and cried. I had no friends and no family out here through all of this. Nate worked very long hours and I was feeling trapped inside my own home. I was depressed, exhausted, lonely…. I didn’t know if it would ever get better.

Once I had braved an adventure to the mall with Liam (hand pump in my bag and all) and it was actually turning out to be a successful afternoon with my little guy. I had coffee, he slept the whole time in the stroller and I only had to pump for 20 or so minutes in the bathroom… things were looking so bright ! Then when I had gotten into the elevator to go to the bottom floor of the mall, I was confronted by an older women. First she had commented how adorable my baby was and I was smiling ear to ear and thanked her. Then in the nastiest tone she said it was so sad and unfortunate that I was bottle feeding him. (His bottle was in his lap in the stroller). “Excuse me?” I said. I couldn’t have heard that one right. I was, after all, trying to function on a few hours of sleep. She then continued to lecture me that I will never feel the joys of breastfeeding and that my baby was the one suffering because he wouldn’t feel fully connected to his mother. Didn’t I know how important a mothers milk is to her baby?! she asked me. Choking on tears I awkwardly blurted out that there was breastmilk in his bottle. I was red in the face and shaking. She just calmly and quietly replied that it “just wasn’t the same”.

All those brilliant emotions of getting out of the house and taking on the day sunk and fell away and I sobbed all the way to my car and then all the way home. I had no idea what had just happened. I called Nate at work and was crying so hysterically he could not understand a word I was saying. ( Which happened often that first year)…All my new confidence (what little I had) of being a new mother that day was wiped away just like that from this mean old lady.

Unfortunately, she was not the first nor the last to make inappropriate comments about how I was feeding my baby. And being young and a new mom I just let them say those harsh words to me. If I could go back and tell myself to forget those nasty people and tell them to F off I would ! OK maybe not that last part but I definitely would try to not let them get to me ! As a new mom I had zero confidence in what I was doing even though I know now that I had done everything that I could.

Now that my son is four years old and I have met so many amazing mothers and heard so many other similar breastfeeding stories like mine, I know that I did what I could and THAT IS ENOUGH. I would go back in time and tell my self that I WAS ENOUGH. And any mother reading this- know that you are enough too!

This has been my daily mantra .daily mantra

You love your baby, your baby loves you. And as long as your child is healthy and happy then that is truly all that matters.

Thank you for reading my story ! I would love to hear how you fed your baby and why !

I hope you have the most beautiful day (or night) !

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35 Replies to “My Breastfeeding Story of Exclusively Pumping”

  1. Pumping was awful for me! BUT like you said a fed baby is a happy baby! 🙂

    1. Natalie Aubele says: Reply

      I hated it too! (Obviously haha) but I do have some friends who really didn’t mind it at all and was able to even just hand pump for a few minutes and fill a whole bottle ! I was in awe haha I even had one mommy friend knock over her whole bottle of breastmilk onto the floor and I gasped loudly and put my hand on her back consoling her like she just lost her dog or something haha ! She just brushed it off like no big deal ! I thought to myself : that’s liquid gold right there ! I would have a mental breakdown if I just knocked over 8 ounces ! 😂😂

  2. Great, great post!! I also exclusively pumped with my second son – he was lip and tongue tied and breastfeeding just wasn’t in our plans. I know just how exhausting it is! So glad you shared your story with other mamas.

    1. Natalie Aubele says: Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Erin ! ❤️
      And yes , It is SO exhausting !!

  3. I exclusively pumped with my first and it is SO HARD! You go mama! Keep up the good work! xo

    1. Natalie Aubele says: Reply

      That is awesome Lauren ! Thank you !!!

  4. Pumping Mama’s, you guys got me in total awe. I can’t even imagine.

    I’m tandem breastfeeding my toddler and newborn at the moment, and always feel very blessed to have an easy breastfeeding journey that hasn’t been disrupted by many struggles or medical issues or even pain. Our journey is filled with some angst towards a nursing toddler as nursing aversion kicks in, but I absolutely love breastfeeding a baby.

    1. You’ve captured this pecryftle. Thanks for taking the time!

  5. I nursed and pumped with my daughter. It’s all hard, no matter how you feed them. You are enough, and always will be!

    1. Natalie Aubele says: Reply

      I completely agree ! It is all hard !!

      1. Heckuva good job. I sure apceiprate it.

  6. It makes me so mad when people insert their (unwanted) opinions! I always wanted to make it a year nursing but with my 3 kids I only made it 2 months, then 8, then 10 months. I tried everything to increase my milk, but for some, it’s just not meant to be. As long as your baby is fed and loved that’s all that matters! <3

    1. Natalie Aubele says: Reply

      It also ticks me off ,Sarah ! And that’s awesome you were able to breastfeed that long !! I completely agree 😃 Thank you so much for reading !!❤️❤️

  7. This was almost a replica of my experience with breastfeeding and pumping! I still beat myself up for not being able to breastfeed. I feel as if I missed out on a great experience with my little guy that other mother’s are able to have with their own. He didn’t latch correctly, every time I tried I was in agonizing pain, and I too had scabs and bleeding. And the same goes for my story with breastfeeding, my milk decreased. I tried tons of different methods but nothing worked for me. Sometimes life doesn’t go according to our expectations… but the important thing is that your baby has a full belly, is healthy, and happy. 😊 Great article, mama!

    1. Natalie Aubele says: Reply

      Kayla I felt the exact same way !!! And though I don’t wish those tribulations upon you of course, I do take comfort when I hear other mammas stories of going through something similar . It makes me feel like I wasn’t the only one in the world that couldn’t do it ! It’s something we can bond over because we know just how it feels . Thank you so much for reading and checking out my blog !💕

  8. I had to exclusively pump for 2 months with my oldest who was a preemie. It was exhausting! I feel so lucky that my youngest has had no problem latching!

    1. Natalie Aubele says: Reply

      Yea I’m praying that if we have another baby I will be able to breastfeed with ease !🤞🏻 But if not , formula it is because I won’t put myself through all that again !😃 Thanks for reading Marcie !❤️

  9. Hugs! I never can figure out why moms are so judgey to other moms. My daughter had a swallowing disorder (she’d choke on milk), so we had to thicken it. I wasn’t allowed to nurse her. I tried to pump, but since it took like 45 minutes to give her a bottle (due to her swallow disorder) and then have to pump, I was getting zero sleep. It was so hard for me to stop. There’s always so much unnecessary mama guilt. All that to say, I think you are amazing for keeping it up!!

    1. Natalie Aubele says: Reply

      Aw poor baby ! I have never heard of that 🙁 And yes that would be pretty much just an entire day of pumping and feeding ! It is so amazing to me what mothers will do for their children ! Thank you for reading Sophie !

  10. A fed baby is a happy baby! Thank you! I couldn’t get an ounce with pumping! You’re amazing! Thanks for sharing your story!
    –https://imommy.co

    1. Natalie Aubele says: Reply

      Thank you for reading Maria!❤️

  11. Wow! I cannot believe that woman said that to you. You did a great job momma!

  12. Some people… I’ve had my fair share of issues but hardly with breastfeeding. I’ve only received critical comments from my parents that don’t believe in breastfeeding in public! I did get a lot of nasty looks and comments when I was pregnant though. I look really young (like 16 yrs old) and people were rude to me even though I was 25 and married.

    1. Natalie Aubele says: Reply

      Same here ! I had someone in the waiting room of my first parental visit hand me a pamphlet about sex education and protection for teenagers haha

  13. Thank you for sharing your story! I’m so sorry you dealt with that woman! People like that are why new mothers feel guilt, less than if they can’t breastfeed. I worried because of my issues that the bond with my daughter would suffer- but it didn’t. We’re so close. I love the mantra!!!

  14. I have so much admiration for you-I just can’t imagine going through this! my son as eight pounds even and took to nursing beautifully! I only pumped to keep an extra supply in the freezer, but barely did it because my let down as so much I soaked towels. My experience was very lucky and blessed, so thank you for writing this so i can gain perspective on the other side of that coin!

    1. Natalie Aubele says: Reply

      Thank you so much jasmine 🙏

  15. Awwww.. you did a great job mama!!
    Aren’t you so glad those days are behind you now?
    I hated pumping and could never get more than 50ml after an hour. Everyone has a different story and we have no right to judge. Ever!
    Especially when you don’t know the full story like that silly old woman in the elevator.

    1. Natalie Aubele says: Reply

      Brooke yes I am ! Though I miss my little man being so tiny and cuddly I don’t miss the stress and exhaustion I put on myself when it came to feeding him !

  16. thanks for haring your breastfeeding journey. My sister had a hard time breastfeeding at the beginning becuase it was just so painful. I agree a fed baby is a happy baby.

  17. brittany ASHMORE says: Reply

    I also pumped exclusively, for 11 months with both! I actually didn’t mind it at all and would pump at school and in the car. I cannot believe that woman said that to you. How hurtful 🙁 I am so sorry that happened to you and YES YOU ARE ENOUGH!

  18. I love hearing stories like this! You’re incredible!

    1. Natalie Aubele says: Reply

      Thank you so much Jasmine !!!!!

  19. I was an exclusive pumper as well! I have my breastfeeding journey as well as a list of “what I wish I had known” over on my blog.
    There is so little information our there about this feeding option, so thanks for sharing your story!

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