Let me start by saying whatever a mother chooses for her child is what's best for her and her child. My opinions are my own, I'm just sharing them to document my experiences and to possibly help others who might have similar struggles.
With Sullivan, I had visions of nursing till he was one year old. I thought he would do great nursing, we would bond while he nursed, I would produce milk without any problems and I'd have a healthy chunky baby. Instead I got a colic baby who cried a lot, had to cut dairy out of my diet hoping that would help, my breast we sore only to find out after he was a week or two old that Sullivan was born tongue tied and wasn't latching correctly. I constantly heard how tiny my baby was which to a mother struggle to feed their child was like hearing I was starving him. I'll admit, my first few weeks as a mother were spent crying with my baby and praying he would eat well and be happy after being full. With nursing Sullivan I was never sure he ever got full and I felt like he was always wanting to eat. Bonding while nursing didn't happen, I honestly could wait to be done and always felt like it took forever. I'm also extremely uncomfortable nursing in front of others and in public so errands and visitors worked around our feeding schedule. Even as he got older I thought things would smooth out, and they did get better. But trying to nurse and pump enough to have him drink during day at daycare was a struggle. We eventually started introducing formula to him as my supply depleted.
When Jett was born, I had a mindset that I would try it again but if memory lane took me back to how it was with Sullivan, I would stop and do formula. I wasn't about to travel that road again with a newborn and a 3 year old to take care of. In the hospital, things went okay. Again while nursing I felt Jett was hungry and never got a good latch plus he'd fall asleep so I was unsure if his belly was getting full. About 4 days after he was born, I switched plans and decided to just pump. I had read pins on Pinterest about exclusively pumping and thought maybe if I do that I'd stress less and make it a few months on breast milk.
People have tried to say that if you exclusively pump you won't produce much milk and eventually your supply will stop. People also said that it's uncomfortable and tiring. I have exclusively pumped for over 5 months now. I have an entire freezer in my basement just for milk, yes just for milk. I never dreamt that would happen.
When I first started exclusively pumping I pumped every 3 hours, day and night and I continued this until Jett was a little over 2 months old. Somewhere around the 2 1/2 to 3 month mark, I moved to every 4 hours- day and night. With Jett now being 5 months old, I pump every 5 to 6 hours. I still get up once in the night to pump. It can be tiring but I have a goal. I want a freezer of milk to last me until Jett would be one years old, once I have this, I'll stop pumping. As of right now, I have 3,020 ounces of milk in my freezer. The picture below is my freezer of milk. Sadly this isn't enough to get me to 12 month old. Rather this freezer full will only get me a couple of months.
I'm very proud of what I've done. It really hasn't been that hard or tiring. I do still look forward to when I'll get a full night's sleep but doesn't every mother! On average, I produce between 40 to 50 ounces of milk a day. Jett currently drinks about 35 to 41 ounces of milk a day so even if I didn't have my freezer stash, I'd still be getting by.
What I've found that works. When starting exclusively pumping, find a schedule that works for you and stick to it as best as possible. Pump often and freeze the milk. A while back we ran into an issue with Jett were he was getting frozen milk at daycare and fresh milk at home and suddenly he wanted nothing to do with the frozen milk. We worked through it and now he gets frozen milk at home and at daycare. On occasion he will get fresh milk but using frozen milk and home and daycare keeps things consistent and uses the old milk first. All breastfeeding mothers know how devastating it is throwing away milk or spilling it.
I hope this post inspires other moms like me who aren't comfortable breastfeeding but still want to provide their milk to their children. You can exclusively pump, enjoy your growing family, have a healthy baby and get that beautifully stocked freezer of milk.