I did not choose the pump life, the pump life chose me.
I was dead set on breastfeeding. I had a double electric pump just in case I wanted to go out and needed to pump Ava's meal for Deedee and Pop (my mom and dad) to watch her. It never crossed my mind that breastfeeding didn't come natural to everyone and I never thought I would be an exclusive pumper. But, that is where I am at right now (No, I am seriously attached to my pump as I type this).
The minute Ava was placed on my chest and we attempted to breastfeed she did great. Latched right on and fed for 15 minutes her first try. I was so happy and the nurses were impressed. The next few days we kept attempting to nurse but I could tell something wasn't right. Ava made a clicking noise and breastfeeding was so painful. My nipples were bleeding and I didn't know how much more I could take. My nurse called in the L.C, who said she thought I was doing fine but she gave me a shield just in case. Mind you, the woman never watched Ava latch because Ava was sleeping and she told me not to wake her up, so how the hell did she know how we were doing?
Once we got home breastfeeding became more troublesome. Ava would get frustrated and I would get frustrated. We both cried. I started googling breastfeeding advice and looking up proper latching. I noticed Ava's top lip was turning in. We had a mild lip tie. I called mom and told her I had no idea what to do. My mom assured me that all of her children had ties and still successfully nursed. Well, except me... I was the first and a formula baby because she was working. Mom offered to come over and help me and when she showed up I felt to relieved! Until we noticed another problem...
Apparently, my nipples suck. I never realized I had weird nipple but apparently I do and that was the biggest issue Ava had. My nipples are flat and my boobs are huge so she can't get enough in her mouth. Add that to the lip tie and we are batting 0-2. My husband and I discussed it and decided that it wasn't worth putting Ava through getting the lip tie fixed if it wouldn't affect her later because with my stupid nipples she still probably couldn't breast feed. The pediatrician agreed with us.
That evening I walked into my bedroom, hooked up my pump and cried as I pumped a bottle for my sweet Ava Grace. I knew that it was the right thing to do, that fed is best. At the same time, I felt like I was missing out on a huge part of motherhood. I wanted that breastfeeding bond. I sucked it up and told myself it would be okay. I took the bottle to Chris and smiled through my tears as he finally got to feed our daughter. I realized that there were benefits. He would get to help with feedings and she was still getting the "liquid gold".
Pumping is not easy. Some days I feel like I am attached to that machine all day. Finding a place to pump when out in public is not always easy. I have to take either the big pump or the hand pump every where I go. I struggle with supply because of PCOS and now I fear that I will have to supplement. I know, I know... fed is best. It won't be the end of the world if I have to supplement.
With that being said, pumping is also rewarding. I am not missing out. Chris gets to help feed when I need him to. That is a blessing! I am still providing nutrients for our baby girl and I still get those sleepy milk drunk smiles. The best of both worlds. Pumping is becoming more normal and there are huge support groups for it now and I have met some great mama's through pumping. It might not be for everyone but it is what works for us. Fed is best.