What Makes a Breast Pump a “Pump”?

First things first – a breast pump isn’t really a pump at all, is it? I mean, a tire/air pump puts air INTO a tire. A sump pump…well, crap, I don’t even know what that does. I know that the fountain in our pond has a pump – but that’s something that takes liquid, sprays it up in the air, and continues to recycle the liquid/water. So, yeah, a breast pump just sucks breast milk out of your boob more like a vacuum or something.

Anyway – I had the following exchange with a friend who was trying to navigate breast pump shopping for her daughter-in-law and thought “You know, I bet other people would like this same information…I would have.” Her daughter-in-law JUST delivered yesterday (yes!!! Elle’s got a new friend!) so this is my advice in the event that you’re nearing delivery and intend to breastfeed.

So, here you go. My approach to breast pump and the advice I’m giving to friends.

Email from Terri: “Lindsay – Did you buy a breast pump…if so where did you get it?  I know you do your research, so I’m guessing you’ll have the scoop on the best prices.  Best price I’ve seen for Medela Pump is JC Penny (weird) for $250.00.  I question the real need for such a fancy pants one unless you’re out & about in the work place or something.  Any info you have would be appreciated.”

My response:

Here’s the gig on the breast pump: I borrowed one from my girlfriend. They TOTALLY tell you not to use anyone but your own and you fall into the trap, and then you realize that THEY are the breast pump companies themselves. Once you use a breast pump, you wonder why the HECK you wouldn’t borrow one if you could – it’s not like actual milk is pumped through the actual pump contraption. The whole thing is bizarre, because you have to wash and sanitize the pieces of the pump before you use them even when they are BRAND NEW. The whole thing escapes me, really.

If [DIL] has someone she can borrow one from, that’s the way to go. Actually, she can just use the one I’ve got at my house. My girlfriend doesn’t need it. If she’s paranoid about borrowing one/using one someone else had, here’s the gig:

You can go out and buy your own, personal attachment pieces (not that it would matter, you have to sanitize everything anyway) and you can even go directly to Medela and ask them to send you brand new pump lines (you can’t buy them anymore, and they will send them to you for free). So, if they are interested in the FREE borrow route, I’ve got a breast pump in my pantry (don’t get me started on why the heck it’s in the pantry, because I honestly couldn’t tell you, other than it was taking up too much space in my Christmas wrapping area and the pantry seemed to be a place I wouldn’t have to look at the thing.)

I know the pump itself is a good one (can’t remember the name, but it’s a Medela pump and my friend Molly, who is still breastfeeding four+ months into this Mom gig uses the same one). Anyway — the whole breast pump thing is a total racket in my opinion, but think that if you’re going to breast feed, there is absolutely NO REASON to have your boob be the only way that the kid can feed. It contributed to my sense of desperation/overwhelming/sleeplessness at the outset of the Mom-ing. I know that Molly said that the women at Genesys were/are AWESOME in helping out getting the breastfeeding going and it took Molly a solid six-eight weeks to get it figured out. It’s TOUGH but worth it, if you are set on breastfeeding.

Here’s the other thing, if you think of a breast pump this way…It’s a $250 investment. For $250 I can buy formula that lasts me for 18 weeks. If they want to invest in their very own breast pump, then don’t do it yet. You don’t need one on hand right away, especially if she’s not heading back to work right away. The only reason she’ll need one right, right away is if her milk does not come in for some reason…which is unusual. Not sure their insurance situation, but if you can get your doctor to write a prescription for a pump, then it is a lower cost. You can go to the medical supply store and they might be covered. My insurance didn’t cover it, Molly’s did. Insurance is a crap shoot, it turns out.

SYNOPSIS:
DON’T PURCHASE A PUMP NOW.
Option 1: Borrow the one I have and replace the parts if you’re paranoid or just sanitize the parts I already have.
Option 2: Purchase one down the road. You’re not going to be pumping out of the gate, and if it turns out that breastfeeding is NOT something that [DIL]’s in for the long haul, then you’ve WASTED $250 (again, 18 weeks of formula – Sam’s Club or store brand, which is what we use).
Option 3: Check and see if it’s covered by insurance and check on prices at medical supply companies around town. Who knows, they might have one cheaper. Quite certainly, use the 20% off coupon at Babies R Us to make that kind of purchase.

Ok – long winded and hopefully insightful, I’m done with imparting my tit-knowledge to you 🙂

Alright friends – that’s all I’ve got on boob-knowledge. Tomorrow’s the day: Day in the Life. Can’t wait!!

Time Flies

I just re-read some posts of mine from the last few weeks.

I’ve felt for the last four weeks that the end was near.

I got sick of hearing about the end, so I’m going to stop talking about it.

~~~~~~~~~~

I awoke this morning to the following headlines in my Gmail Inbox:

“Your Healthy Pregnancy: Week 39”

Living Social Deals: “Two Hours of House Cleaning”

“Foods That Induce Labor”

“Bottle Feeding Your Baby”

Groupon: 80% OFF JCPenney Portrait Package

“Your Breastfeeding Questions: Answered!”

Just thought I’d share these. Don’t they seem like they all go together somehow? Like, I need baby pictures of our Minnie and I need a clean house for her to call home, and we’re at the end – so here are some foods that induce labor and some tips for breast and/or bottle feeding, since I never did take the breastfeeding class.

 

Breastfeeding: The Research

As we all know, I’m not convinced that the research out there on breastfeeding is trustworthy. I don’t know why I feel this way. I guess I’m so jaded these days (especially after this whole debt ceiling debacle) that I just find it hard to believe ‘because I said so’ to be the best reason to breastfeed.

Admittedly, I am feeling more inclined to certainly attempt to breastfeed and see how I feel about it. But, tonight I did some research and I came across this GREAT aggregate study from The Agency for Healthcare Research Quality. It was EXACTLY what I was looking for. The one thing I’d really like to see is true comparative studies to formula-fed infants.

I also learned that saying ‘exclusive breastfeeder’ means something different to all sorts of people. Studies suggest that the ‘exclusive breastfeeder’ moniker is deceiving. That could mean that someone who is pumping and bottle feeding isn’t truly an exclusive breasfeeder. Evidently there COULD be a difference between breast fed infants and bottle fed (even if it’s breast milk). So, a difference is made between breast milk fed or breastfed infants. Good to know.

There are some benefits – statistically – though they don’t reference what that means in the term of likelihood/statistics. For example, there is a statistical correlation for breastfeeding and a reduction in the occurence of childhood leukemia – ALL and AML. Ok, good to know. There is also a correlation in infants who are breastfed to four months and a reduced risk of asthma.

However, as I dug through this research, I couldn’t help but wonder: what difference does one week make? Two weeks? One month? Two months? Why is three months or six months the area in which the government and other associations have set their limit? Where is the supporting research on that…the legitimate research?

I don’t know what I think — that it’s some grand scheme to ‘keep the woman down’…maybe. I don’t know. I just wonder…I just wonder.

Anyway, if anyone else wonders, this study was very informative for me. I’d love any other studies (legit ones, please) you’d send my way to read through.

http://www.ahrq.gov/downloads/pub/evidence/pdf/brfout/brfout.pdf

Week 29(ish)

Well, I felt like I liked the color shirt I was wearing this morning and when I looked in the mirror didn’t hate my appearance, so I snapped this photo of me and the baby belly today, July 27, 2011. Based on the original due date the doctor gave me, today would be the official “Three Months To Go” date. But – as we all know – my fact-based approach to negotiating has got the due date to October 20, 2011. That means — 11 weeks to go my friends!!

Somewhere around 29 weeks!

 
Anyway, not much new to report. Sleeping is still going well. The water intake I definitely need to increase. I’ve gained just 7 pounds total during this pregnancy. Not bad, all the way around.
 
It’s surreal (I keep using that word to describe this pregnancy journey) to know that in just 11 weeks or so, we’ll have a real, live baby living at our house!! Holy crap. How did it get to be just 11 weeks?
 
I need to get a new bra. Not that you care about this, but the boobs keep growing, outpacing the belly for sure. I was a 36C, solid, before this adventure began. I’m now wearing a 38D and it is UN comfortable. Need to go tonight and see what I can find in the way of a more comfortable bra. Heck, even my sports bras are beginning to get tight (at least the older ones…the newer ones I bought a little bigger).
 
I continue to be relatively conflicted about the breastfeeding route I want to take. I know ‘they’ say it’s good (again, who are they?? Oprah’s people, I think). But — then everyone says they don’t know why exactly it’s good. So, if you don’t know what’s good about it, how do you know it’s good? I guess I’m just not passionate about breastfeeding the way some women are. I believe that there are a lot of paths towards getting the baby the nutrients she needs. And the whole thought of being the sole person to be able to feed the baby bothers me a lot. I know this is an adventure that is not meant to be done all alone — so I don’t want to do it alone. I don’t have to, Jon’s there, so I feel like he should be involved in the feeding requirements as well. And seeing’s how that’s the only thing that babies need, other than a warm bed and diaper changes, I just don’t see how that all works out anywhere other than in his favor, if I’m the sole provider of nourishment.
 
I need to educate myself a bit more I guess and see how I feel about it. I guess I’m envious, frankly, of the women who know, vehemently, one way or another what they want to do. Some women are ‘No, not breastfeeding’ and others are ‘Absolutely breastfeeding, pumping, etc.’. I don’t fall in either of those categories.
 
Take, for example, the conversations of the last several days. My aunts (Mom’s sisters) whom I love dearly have said the alluded to the following things:
“Don’t feel guilty if you don’t want to breastfeed. I didn’t. I wore two bras and taped them up and bottle fed from the beginning.”
 
“You’re going to breastfeed, right?” When I responded I didn’t think I was, I got a “Oh, please do it just for the first month or so”.
 
Here’s where I stand as of today on the topic: I have just 8-12 weeks of leave for maternity. I want to truly enjoy and savor those moments with my child. I will not get the time back, I will not ge the opportunity to truly enjoy this baby, with no other distractions (like work) ever again. I don’t want to be struggling (or even not struggling) with breast feeding. I don’t want to be chained to a breast pump throughout the holiday season. I don’t want to breastfeed for one month, begin the weaning process, and battle through that process until I return to work. I want to enjoy my baby, one on one, with Jon, with my family. I want all of the people I love to enjoy the baby and bond with her. I want to enjoy the holidays that will fast approach after her arrival. I want to concentrate on nothing more than loving my baby — and to me, breastfeeding gets in the way of that. I know that for countless others they will feel exactly the opposite. But today, that’s how I feel…and that’s how I have felt. So now, I’m just trying to reconcile that with the feelings of guilt that the rest of the world (billboards, well-meaning family and friends, etc., websites, books) seems to put on me.
 
I’m sure in 11 weeks we’ll know a lot better how I truly feel about it…but for now, I’m just not convinced it’s the way I want to go.
 
L