3 Months! and F**K the Pump

The most exciting news is that Ansel Jack is three whole months old, as of yesterday! And look how he’s grown!

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I knew my little smidgen of a guy was small . . .but now I can see that he was, well . . . kinda scrawny. Still unbelievably adorable, obviously, but definitely a little on the bird like end of things. But look how deliciously chubby he’s gotten! I feel a great sense of pride both because he is so ridiculously cute now (being able to smile in response to outside stimuli really helps, there) and because I had deep fears and a lot of anxiety about breastfeeding and, well, it’s clearly working. (this is a disclaimer that I find it really difficult to walk this line of pride and happiness about my breastfeeding relationship while not being weirdly judgey or militant about it. I’m still learning how to do that, so if I F up, tell me, ok?)

I don’t have a weight on the dude, because we haven’t been to class in a few weeks, and he isn’t due back to the doc for a few more weeks. I’m guessing he’s closing in on 13 lbs, based on his weight gain rate from before. But that’s pure conjecture. He is at least double his birthweight of 6lbs5oz. His head is also, clearly, gotten really huge.

Ansel enjoys:

  • The small stuffed puppy that hangs above his carseat
  • the butterflies that rotate above his infant gym
  • “Rainbow Connection” made famous by Kermit the Frog
  • His mommy’s duck voice
  • His mama’s boobs
  • snuggling in the bed after 5am, and preferably, sleeping in past 9 (yes. really!)
  • motion. rocking, swinging, bouncing, walking, whatever.
  • The bath. then, now, forever.
  • Sitting forward
  • Putting things in his mouth
  • Scratching while he nurses

Ansel Hates:

  • napping in the afternoon
  • Being in the same place for too long
  • The bunny that hangs above his carseat
  • Getting out of the bath

The fact that I can so readily think of what he loves and not what he hates is a testament to his personality. He is laid back, calm, observant, and rather jovial. He’s pretty content to hang out wherever, whenever, provided there is some motion involved (or he has a boob in his mouth) This has made him a rather lovely companion on almost all adventures. Last week I took him to the drive-in for a friend’s birthday, and he contentedly hung out with whoever, and then nursed to his hearts content through the movie, fell asleep on the ride home and transitioned to his rock’n’play easily. I know this might not last, so I’m enjoying it now.

Here is some more of this lovely little lad:

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So, obviously, Ansel is the bright spot in my day.

The eye of the shit storm is pumping.

I have been back at work 3 days/week for the last 2 weeks, and I’ll be in 4 days a week (with 1 day work from home) starting this coming Monday. Although I’m still bummed to leave my baby, I can now do so without crying or scheming how to be able to stay home all the time. And I’m still on a bit of a curve getting back into the swing of things professionally, but summer is a slower time and I’m getting back up to speed fairly well. But pumping? Ugh.

It’s time consuming (I pump 3-4 times a day, depending on when I get in and how my day goes), loud, distracting, messy and . . .it hurts.

I thought maybe this was just par for the course, until I noticed blood blisters on my nipples. Before you say anything – yes, I’ve checked the flange/shield size (to be honest, none of them seem to work for me), I’ve lowered the suction, I’ve used coconut oil, I’ve done massage. In order to get the 9-10oz I need for the boy, I have to pump increasingly longer (from 15 minutes in the morning to pushing 25 at the end of the day) and the pain is becoming unbearable.

But breastfeeding my baby as long as possible is important to me. Important enough that I needed to explore some options. I’m not sure what will work to make this less painful, but I’m starting with a new pump.

I got the Pump In Style Advanced through my insurance because everyone said it was the best double electric pump out there. In retrospect, I should have done more research. Unusual, because I usually go overboard with the research. But I also trust my friends, all of whom recommended the “PISA” as it is known on ye olde breastfeeding FB groups.

Had I done my research, I might have found out that the PISA has a reputation for being kind of painful. Do I know this would have kept me from choosing it? No, maybe not. But it might have, too. In any case, I have it now.

But I will also, very soon, own the Spectra S2 as well. Obviously, I used up my one freebie on the medela, so I shelled out cash for this one. But, it also has great reviews and, most importantly, is reportedly the most gentle pump around. My nipples were worth the extra cash (which, by the way, is still cheaper than the medela, even though the spectra is hospital grade.)

I’m hopeful it will also help with my output at work. I’m able to pump an adequate amount for Ansel, but it does take some time and effort. It would be great to be able to get the same amount in a shorter amount of time. So, fingers crossed on that front too. It should be here no later than next wednesday, which feels impossibly far away for me and my nipples.

Lesson: research your breast pump, my friends! And if you’ve got sensitive nipples and are planning to pump a lot – maybe avoid the medela? It sucks to finally feel like I’ve got the nursing thing down, only to have pumping go and screw it all up again. Basically, this just makes me want to never be apart from AJ unless I absolutely have to – no movies, no date nights, no nothing. stupid pump.

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23 thoughts on “3 Months! and F**K the Pump

  1. I tried the PISA once, the suction was crap, I immediately looked on craigs list and found a spectra s2 for $125 brand new. I also got the pumpin pals flanges which is a lot easier on me and did the madela hack (found easily online in youtube). Sometimes it hurts, but it’s not too bad. I think you will be much happier this way. Plus, the resale value of the spectra is excellent since it’s a closed system. I think you’ll feel better with this.

    He’s getting so big! yay Ansel!

  2. I love my PISA but I’m not overly sensitive. I use it on the lowest setting for sure though! Have you tried using a manual pump? I have found that I can fully express a lot faster and with less pain since I’m completely in control of the suction. But yeah. Pumping is the pits.

  3. Ansel looks seriously fantastic with those cheeks on him! I just want to squish them! I love seeing the difference in these photos!

    This is great to read about the pump. My insurance will only give me an Ameda, and I’ve read awful reviews. I was thinking of just saying screw it and getting myself a PISA, but I think you convinced me to wait. I am super sensitive, and I can see this being an issue for me. My cousin swears by her manual pump. She thinks she gets more out of it and she hates her automatic pump. She’s been pumping for 18 mos, so I’m in awe of her willingness to use a manual one for so long! I guess this is one of those things I’ll just have to figure out as I go.

    • I’ve been hand expressing (not the same as a manual pump) on the left side because of the blisters, and it is such a pain in the ass. I’m definitely in awe of anyone who pumps for an extended period of time, especially manually, and especially exclusively!

      It’s a bummer you don’t have a choice. I definitely have seen the Ameda in the top 3, but I’m also coming to understand that different pumps work for different people, which sucks since there isn’t a good way to try many of them out!

  4. He is just so adorable and getting bigger! I’m sorry the pump hurts so much. I’m terrified of returning to work so this doesn’t help. I hope it gets easier. If you have time I have a question: did you use one-size cloth diapers from the time he was a newborn? Did they leak or cause problems because they were too big? Thank you in advance, and keep up the good work! Sleeping until 9 with a delicious baby on my breast sounds amazing!

    • Sorry I didn’t respond earlier! We have actually had a diaper service since he was born that we will be transitioning away from in the next few weeks. They are pre folds, and we started with premie size, then newborn, and now we use the smaller prefold size which he’s almost out of. The advantage of prefolds is that you have a lot of flexibility with adding additional material. We have a variety of covers – some are just covers, others have places for additional padding, and a few are lined with insert spaces as well.

      • This is so confusing! I have to google cloth diapering just to decipher your comment lol! The diaper service does sound really helpful for the first month or two, and there are some around us that aren’t too expensive. Thank you so much!

      • If you can, look for a class at a cloth diaper or other natural parenting store. It was the only way I could make sense of anything! We went to a class and they explained the differences between prefold and all in one and hybrid diapers, different kinds of covers, all kinds of things that were SO helpful. I tried googling and it got me no where! I would highly recommend a service for the first bit. We registered for it and so many people bought us time we got admit two more months than we’d originally planned! It’s been a life saver while we got on our feet and figured the basics out and now we are super ready to use our own. I’m happy to share more, too – via email if that will help! Lemme know!

  5. He looks so great! He is definitely at that enjoyable little baby stage. I couldn’t get anything out with a pump. My nipples had so much damage and I was in so much pain and some people just cant pump. A friend gave me a playtex one and that was less painful but still didn’t really get much more out. I could get 1/2-1oz out combined from hand expressing and the manual medella but that takes forever. I think you should be proud and excited that you are doing well with breastfeeding! Your feelings about your own experience are so valid and shouldn’t be hidden just because other people have feelings about their experience. You would have empathy if someone told you that when they went back to work they couldn’t pump enough/it hurt/their job restricted them and they made the decision to go to donor milk or formula. I don’t think you would judge them for that if they didn’t have the resources or support to continue. Even though I fought tooth and nail to continue to breastfeed I don’t feel judgey of those who can’t or don’t. I feel good about my decisions and proud to still be nursing.

  6. Ansel is adorable! I can not believe how much his face has changed. He seems like such a happy little guy.

    I am sure you are getting loads of advice so please ignore this if it is not needed but Corrie swears by her hands free bra. She is able to pump and still do things at her desk. She will even drive and use it with a cover over her.

    • I have found, as a large breasted person who needs to massage like crazy to have effective pumping, that the hands free bras are a hindrance. But, they definitely help others. Just wanted to put that out there. For people who massage a lot it might not be helpful. I wish I didn’t have to massage, it’s tiring.

      • I have to do a lot of massage and compression as well and can’t really use a hands free bra ( I have one that is dual nursing and pumping) without it being in the way.

  7. Andie, he is beyond cute! I love seeing his pictures on FB…glad that everything is going so well with him. He seems like such a great little guy.

    I also had the PISA approved by my insurance when I was inducing lactation. It was pretty terrible at first, but then it seemed like the only way it would work for me was at full suction. I’ll be honest though…the few times I got a few drops, I was using the manual Medela Hand pump. You can control how fast and the amount of suction, so when you get it going at the perfect speed and suction for you and it’s sort of imitating AJ’s eating, then that’s the best way. Callie used it too, and she did well with it. She never pumped more then 20cc’s COMBINED per pump every 2-3 hours (i know! and she did it for like 4 months and was over it!) but the PISA never yielded that much for her ever! I hope you find a good fit and that you get a little nipple relief!

    • I just picked up the madela manual pump for $10 on varagesale which is a cool app for local selling. I am hoping it works well so I can leave my spectra at work.

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