Thursday, June 28, 2012

Everyday I'm pump-pump-pumping!

Before Benjamin was born the girls would excitedly list everything they were going to do to help take care of him. They were going to bring me clean diapers and take care of his dirties. They were going to sing to him when he cried. They were going to hug him and kiss him and love him forever.

Unfortunately they haven't gotten to do much of any of that.

Instead they help me pump. They like to put the labels on the bottle when I've finished pumping. They like to turn the pump on and off. Miriam likes to take the used pumps into the kitchen for me (because then she can sneak in some licks of milk—"It's so yummy!"—I'm not sure she was ready to be weaned...and I probably have enough milk to start her up again. Haha. Like that's going to happen).

The other day while the girls were getting ready for bed I mentioned that I needed to pump. The next thing I knew Miriam had magically appeared at my side. She had assembled my pump kit and brought it to me so that I could get to work.

She was missing a few parts and had assembled it completely incorrectly but it was a sweet gesture nonetheless. Besides, to assemble the pump kit correctly you basically need a degree in engineering, especially in the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes when I successfully assemble the kit at 4 o'clock in the morning I find myself considering applying to Mensa International or wishing that my life had one of those applause tracks. 

But...when I go to put the bottles together at 4 AM and find myself shoving pieces together only to find that I've already put that piece on or when I put the bottles together but am missing a piece and have to take them apart to put the piece in I'm incredibly grateful that I don't have an applause track for my life. Because if I had an applause track I'd likely have a laugh track as well and the last thing I need at 4 AM is to have a roomful of people laughing at my inability to assemble a pump kit. 

I have two different pump kits since the hospital uses Ameda and the pump I have at home is Medela. They're completely different systems and they both have their benefits and drawbacks. I like Ameda better but perhaps that's because I use a $2,199.99 pump at the hospital and "only" a $1,599.00 pump at home, though even the older Ameda models work better than the Medela I have at home (which I'm renting, by the way—pity the day I buy my own pump because you know I'm not going to buy any thousand dollar model. Suggestions?).

One day I brought my hospital kit (which I usually keep at Benjamin's bedside) home to sanitize (even though there's a sanitizer at the hospital; we just wanted to go home). When I got up at 4 AM I had two different pump kits to sort through in order to assemble my home kit and it was a confusing time. I ended up grabbing the inserts for the flanges of my hospital kit and shoving them onto the connectors of my home kit. They fit. Kind of.

It was a frustrating pumping session, indeed, with my flanges falling off every time I breathed wrong. 

I did't figure out what was wrong until after the sun came up and I was seeing things with my daytime eyes. We certainly had a good laugh about that!

I'm looking forward to the day when I don't have to pump as much as I am now. I'm ever so slowly cutting back my milk supply. Kudos to you ladies who do it cold turkey; I'm so afraid of getting mastitis that I can't bring myself to try it! I'm still pumping about 300 mL per pumping session. My next goal is to only fill one 8 oz. bottle (about 250 mL) and nothing else. And then keep working down from there. 

Benjamin is seeming to enjoy nursing more and more. He did another whopping feeding today of 72 mL and only desaturated a couple of times, and only dipped into the 80s so it wasn't terrible. 

He doesn't seem to like the bottle very much. He took 20 mL from it yesterday and 20 mL from it this morning. I'm just glad the nurses are trying to teach him to use a bottle because I haven't been able to get any of my kids to ever take a bottle. 

"He just doesn't seem to like the bottle," his nurse told me when we went in this morning.

"Then he must be my child," I told her.

I like it that way, though. Because who wants to be rinsing bottles out eight times a day? 

Not me. That's for sure!


  1. Even the sight of a breast pump makes me shudder. (Hopefully) never again!

  2. Amen on the above comment. I'm done with that phase of life and I'm totally okay with that!

  3. I have the typical black case Medela one that was about $300 four years ago. It came with a car adapter which was wonderful when we moved across the country. With a little bit of tinkering I was able to get it to work with the advent stuff which I liked better.

    Good luck on your last few days in the NICU.

  4. Nobody. Nobody likes rinsing a bottle 8 times a day! And nobody likes pumping (right?) even if they're glad they can do it. And (once again) kudos to you for doing ALL the hard things!(weaning, NICU, pumping, reducing, avoiding mastitis, 4am. anything at 4am.)