Parents who exclusively pump are powerful, amazing, and inspiring. Honestly, they’re just plain bad@$$. Akira is no exception. Check out her empowering story below!
What were some of your goals when you first started your breastfeeding journey? Did you plan to be an exclusive pumper?
My goals for breastfeeding were just like any milky mom dreams, a great latch, a lot of milk, tons of bonding, all the things. I wanted to feed from the breast as much as I could then introduce the pump in between. I didn’t plan to exclusively pump. When my son was born, he latched perfectly, my milk was not coming as fast as he would have liked it to. So, a day later, the doctors brought in the pump and instead of feeling defeated, I looked at the pump as a vessel to get milk to my baby. I tried again to get my son to latch but after two weeks he was like “no mom, the bottle is fine” lol. So, I became the super pumping mommy.
If you could give advice to someone planning to be an exclusive pumper what would you tell them?
The advice I have for anyone looking to exclusively pump would be that you are just like the other breastfeeding moms out there. Do not think any less of yourself because your child isn’t on your breast. The fact that you made the decision to get onto a machine and get any milk that you can for your child is such a selfless act and you should be rewarded. It is hard at first and you find yourself upset that you miss out on the “bond”, but at the end of the day, you know that your child is taken care of in the best way possible.
What do you wish everyone knew about being an exclusive pumper?
I wish that everyone knew that we don’t have the option to not pump. When we talk about how our nipples are cracked or splitting, telling me “you’re pumping too much” is not the answer. I HAVE to pump. It isn’t an option to miss a session. One session for an EP is like two or 3 for a nursing mom.
What do you think has been the easiest and hardest part of your exclusively pumping journey?
The easiest part of my journey was not taking no for an answer. When my son didn’t want to come to the breast, I just KNEW that pumping was the next option. The hardest thing has been the thought of “what next?” Mental health has been such a big struggle from the start of motherhood, so just feeling like “will I have more to give after pumping?” has been so scary.
Have you discovered any pumping hacks you’re willing to share?
I’m not taking credit for coming up with this hack, but I turned my nursing bras into pumping bras so that I can pump hands free.
How has Milky Mommas helped you?
Milky Mommas has taught me so much for my next child (hoping that will be soon). The group has also been a place that I looked for comfort when I was sad and needing some encouragement.
We’re so glad that Milky Mommas has been comfort for you! Its truly a community of education AND support. Thank you for sharing your amazing story with us Akira!