When I was pregnant with the twins in 2018 one thing, I was very sure about scared and nervous was that I wanted to breastfeed the twins for a year. My entire pregnancy I was worried about how I will be able to provide breast milk for two babies. Come October 26th, 2018 I gave birth to my IVF rainbow babies. We had major issues with latching as they did not latch. Due to pre-eclampsia, early delivery even colostrum did not kick in right away. It took 2 days for me to get some colostrum and 4 to 5 days for my milk to come in. As it took that long we had to provide formula to the twins. At the hospital I worked along the clock trying to get twins to latch and pumping every 3 to 4 hours for 15 minutes. I was really struggling to get my milk supply up to get twins the nutrition from me they needed and not formula. I made an appointment with a lactation consultant. There I learned the term exclusive pumping. She told me I had to pump every two hours for 15 minutes around the clock for as long as my goal is to provide breast milk to my twins’ 80 percent of the time. She told me with my issues a 100 percent breastmilk production I can try but might not be possible.
From the time twins were two weeks old till they were about 5 months old I pumped every two hours around the clock. I would pump 10 to 12 sessions a day. I tracked every ounce I produced. I cried over every ounce I spilled. Trust me there were a lot of spills. Finally, around 5 months once the twins started sleeping through the night, I dropped my middle of the night pump and came down to 10 sessions a day. Then around 9 months I came down to 8 to 9 sessions a day. I made it to their first birthday with 5 sessions a day. I am proud to say that I was able to provide twins with breastmilk 90 percent of the time for their first year. All their feeds was breastmilk except for that last feed which was formula.
The reason to share this story is my effort to normalize pumping. I heard things like oh you are not breastfeeding you are just pumping! Or that oh you are only pumping you will be dried up within the week. All these would scare me and break my heart. As I was working so hard in providing my babies the nutrition they needed. Pumping is breastfeeding. That milk came from me! I wish people would learn the correct terms its nursing if the baby latches or pumping if the baby does not but still gets breastmilk. Both are tough and required a lot of blood, sweat and tears of the mom.
Initially when I first started this exclusive pumping journey, I was so focused on it that I would not leave my house. Afraid that I would suffer from post-partum depression due to being always home bound my mom and husband used to force me out of the house daily. I would pump go out and be back within two hours for my next pump. This lasted for about a few weeks. Then my husband said you cannot tie yourself to the pump, it will make you miserable. He was right; however, my mind was just focused on the milk and not life at that moment. He would research and came with ideas to make me more mobile and be able to pump every two hours. He bought me a battery-operated spectra S1 for mobility and a car adaptor so I could pump in the car. Dear husband gave me the ability to pump on the go and hence gave me some sort of my life back to me. It felt extremely liberating!
I have pumped everywhere imaginable except the bathroom. I refused to pump in the bathroom in public places. Bathrooms are gross. I pumped at airport lounges with a cover on. I have pumped on the plane. I pumped at every house I visited. I would ask for some privacy go pump and come join the party. I have pumped while on a walk with my twins. I have pumped while driving the car. Most entertaining pump session was at the drive through at Tim Hortons. I was pumping and needed caffeine. I went to the Tim Hortons drive through ordered myself my French Vanilla coffee. When I went to pay and grab my drink the guy there was shocked to see me pump but kept quiet.
With child raising there is no right or wrong way. If the mama and baby happy and healthy that is all that matters. In my situation my goal was to provide breastmilk for their first year. I was able to do with thanks to being able to exclusive pumping. I think I stayed committed to exclusive pumping with the support of my husband. Dear husband provided and helped me be mobile while pumping. That really helped me a lot! During this exclusive pumping journey, I wished for two things. To normalize pumping. It should have the recognition of breastfeeding. It deserves it! Also, that public places provide a room for nursing like airports. I wish more public places would have a pumping room as well with working outlets. To all those moms out there who are exclusively pumping; I support you. Great job breastfeeding your babies! Do not let anyone tell you that this is not breastfeeding.