Okay so, to all of my exclusive pumpers out there, I never was able to get this much milk stored with Ardo, but because this was my second time at the pump, I was much more successful! I've been part of the exclusive pumper club too and if you're out there and exclusively pumping, hooray to your dedication! This post is about how I was able to pump and store 500oz of breastmilk, I keep adding to it, and taking a some away, but last time I checked it was 500oz.
I remember in the beginning, I would pull up lots and lots of youtube videos of women latching their babies. I would practice and practice, everyday. My lactation consultant told me that the best way to perfect breastfeeding was to breastfeed. I came across a video of a woman who had pumped and stored 1,000oz of breastmilk. I remember watching that and thinking how on earth could anyone make so much milk!!!
As I said I was an exclusive pumper with Ardo for 6 months. I didn't know that I was an exclusive pumper or that there was a name for it, I just knew I pumped and he took it. When Ardo was 4 months old I went on a 2 day vacation to Las Vegas. I pumped liked crazy, every two hours round the clock for 2 weeks before I went on the trip. While I was in Vegas I didn't think to ask for a room with a fridge or anyway to store the milk so for 2 days I pumped and dumped. I think back and cringe on how I dumped precious liquid gold (some of that milk didn't even have alcohol in it).
I was able to store about 50 ounces over what Ardo needed on a daily basis and was really proud of myself, but soon after the trip my body started producing what I felt was less and I had went through my back up so at 6 months we started Ardo on formula. Once we started him on formula I stopped pumping, I wished I could have gone longer but it was so much work and dedication, at 6 months I felt okay with putting my pump away.
As I've said before James was in the NICU for a few days after he was born. I started pumping the night he was born. I wasn't able to feed James directly for a few days so my milk had to come in with a pump. I started every 2 hours for 15 minutes each session round the clock. At night I would go 3 hours but I always woke up at 3 hours and pumped. I was very diligent because I knew to successfully breastfeed I needed my milk supply. I was very tired but I knew if I let more than 2-3 hours pass and my milk supply suffered I would be upset it later. I also thought if James was home right now I wouldn't be sleeping anyway. Everyday I brought my milk to the NICU so we wouldn't need formula. While James was still in the NICU I started noticing James had left over milk. I started breastfeeding in the NICU and James would eat as much as he wanted and after I would pump to make sure I was empty. I was still able to get a little milk after he fed. When we came home and while we were working on his latch I had the same routine. After every nursing session I still pumped. I didn't want to but in the meantime of figuring out his latch and after I got mastisis I pumped every every nursing session. Nursing sessions were taking longer than I liked but I wanted to make sure I didn't get mastisis again either so I tried to keep my breast empty. I purchase a battery operated breastpump. In the event James took a bottle while we were out, I would make that bottle up by pumping in the car, so I never missed a feeding. This went on for a good 2 months. James ate and after I pumped, wherever we were. By the end of the second month I started accumulating milk. We supplemented James less with a bottle after feedings because he was content with breastfeeding but I put a demand on my body for more milk. During feedings that he didn't take a bottle after I just stored that milk and had back up. I just kept with this routine. I breastfed as much as possible. I would switch sides, not once or twice but 3-4 sometimes 5 times each feeding. I also realized this time around I wasn't worried with James crying a little bit. I wouldn't let him scream but with Ardo any crying would make me nervous, with James I just realized, it's just crying and he'll be latched and happy or bottle and happy and his crying would stop. Soon I realized I had an over supply because I started tracking my breastfeeding. I would track how long he fed, how many ounces of breastmilk he took by bottle and how much per day I was pumping. I realized I was pumping at least 5-8 ounces over what he was taking by bottle. I didn't want to stop because I would be going back to work soon. I thought I would rather have more milk than less.
I asked my lactation consultant and she advised me that if James was eating directly from me with less bottles then to pump less. She told me that while an oversupply was okay she didn't want to up my chances of getting mastisis again. I started doing that but it had become such a routine for me to pump after feedings I didn't start pumping less til more recently. James was becoming much more efficient at breastfeeding and his weigh gain was great that the extra milk just started to pile up. No babies we're drinking it! Before I knew it my entire freezer was filled! I had to ask my mom to store some I gave her to market bags full and I still had more. Jerry's parents have a deep freezer so I asked if I could store some in there. I separated it by months and started storing. When I separated it, I counted and sure enough, 300 ounces went into the deep freezer. My mom counted hers and had 100 ounces and I had 100 ounces in my freezer at home. 500 ounces of breastmilk stored. 500 ounces! I couldn't believe! I was on my way to being that youtube woman! So there you have it! I think the thing that helped me the most and I'm sure would help anyone else that wanted to build up a supply is to pump after feeding, in the beginning. Pumping and breastfeeding (switching sides a few times each feeding) really helped my body know that James needed more milk. Then when I did pump after feedings it was always for at least 15 minutes. I know pumping is a pain in the neck and the whole point for me to have a lactation consultant this time around was to be able to avoid pumping, although I wasn't able to avoid pumping this time, I'm grateful to have a huge stash. If anyone has any questions on pumping like a maniac, please feel free to email me or leave your comments below, I'd be happy to help! I really didn't know what pictures to post with this because I was definitely NOT going to post a picture of me pumping, so I leave you with a picture of Jamesy boy, cause you know, whatever I've gone through, he's always worth it!