My Breastfeeding Story: Pumping Schedules and More

"I always knew I wanted to breastfeed but I had no idea just how challenging it could be. I assumed it would just naturally happen without too much thought or preparation.

However, after a traumatic birth experience ending in an emergency c-section, our beautiful baby boy, Ben spent his first week between the NICU and HDU units as he needed medical attention.

Ben initially had a feeding tube then progressed to being fed via bottles. I was quickly taught by the lovely midwives to hand express so he could get the colostrum soon after his birth. Ben then had difficulty latching due to a tongue tie and Ben was unable to latch himself on correctly at all.

Mum Katie Breastfeeding

I used a Medela Symphony Breast Pump to express in the hospital and purchased a Swing Maxi to use at home with the intention of expressing until I could get his tongue tie corrected and onto the breast.

Unfortunately, due to waiting times the tongue tie was not corrected until 7 weeks. Even with fantastic support from the local breastfeeding team and health visitor, Ben only ever properly latched a handful of times - it became clear that nursing just wasn’t going to work for us. So I kept pumping. I have exclusively pumped all of his feeds for 8 months and I’m still going. I plan to continue to express fresh breastmilk for him until his first birthday.

Exclusive pumping is incredibly hard work and a massive commitment. For the first 6 weeks I pumped for 20-30minutes every 2-3 hours, when I reached the 6 week milestone I cried because I didn’t think it was possible! There were dark days when I battled loneliness, pain from his terrible latch (I still tried to get him to latch on the breast every feed out of desperation), thrush, extreme tiredness, blocked milk ducts and terrible guilt for not being able to nurse him but as a family and with good friends we got through it together. My partner, Matt, has been my absolute tower of strength and I love to watch him feed our little boy and I’m so glad he has that opportunity that he wouldn’t have had otherwise.

8 months on I have a Medela Swing Maxi, Swing and Harmony breast pumps and 2 chest freezers full of 97 litres of breastmilk. It was not the breastfeeding story I thought I would be telling but it is ours and I’m so proud of it and thankful to Medela for making it possible. Ben will be able to have my milk until he’s 1 (at least) and that means so much to me. To see him thriving on my milk has made the hard work more than worth it."

Thank you to mum, Katie, for sharing her breastfeeding experience. If you would like to share your breastfeeding story please email medelamums@gmail.com