A couple days ago when Chris’s parents were still here, I was hand expressing milk to “prime” my breasts for the pump in the second bedroom. I came out with the collection bottle in my hand, and Chris looked at the bottle, a little incredulous.
“You got that amount out just using your hands?” he asked. “Once upon a time, that’s how much milk you got during an entire pump session.”
Trying to conceive was a journey. Pregnancy was a journey. And breastfeeding/pumping has been its own journey full of many ups and downs. I’ve definitely come a long way not just with my output to feed my baby, but also with my knowledge of breastfeeding and pumping in general. Now, I actually frequently answer questions about pumping from colleagues as well as a neighbor friend who recently gave birth. She is about eight weeks postpartum and had a hard time feeding her baby directly from the breast. If I didn’t know it any better, I’d say we were the exact same person with the same problems. She, however, had me as a resource since the beginning, so I’d been sharing pumping resources and tips with her since before she even gave birth. She took me up on a lot of my suggestions and read through my resources, and this morning, she texted me a photo of her first morning pump, the largest one she’d ever had to date, which was approximately seven ounces (210ml). I don’t think I got to that level of output in a single pumping session until after the 12-week mark, but then again, I also didn’t have all the resources then that I shared with her now.
I’m happy to help other mothers who are struggling to breastfeed in any way I can. I only wish I had all this knowledge and help back then. But it’s one way I can “give back” to help others who are going through their own downward spirals and just trying to help their babies eat, grow, and be healthy. I know if I did this again, even though it would be challenging, I’d have a lot more experience and resources at my fingertips so that I wouldn’t be as upset as I was in the beginning of this journey. But that’s what all moms need: more support, more resources, and more help.