Anna Ellison knows a think or two about stimulating let down. As a mama who has primarily pumped with her daughter Nico, she's familiar with that pumping life and what it takes to keep things flowing.
Read below as Anna describes her experience.
My pumping journey began right out of the gate! Our baby girl, Nico, was born with a fever after a protracted labor and was immediately taken to the NICU, where she was diagnosed with a bacterial infection. During her stay in the NICU, Nico was given a bottle 8-10 times a day and I was only allowed to try breastfeeding with her once a day. I was instructed by the nurses to pump all day, every day so that I could provide milk for them to bottle-feed Nico with and to keep my supply up. One NICU nurse in particular scared the crap out of me when she told me with a very stern face that if I wanted to give my baby breast milk for one whole year, I would have to pump 10 times a day—whether we were nursing or not! (Spoiler alert: that’s totally not even remotely true!)
When we were cleared to bring her home one week later, Nico had already developed a strong preference for bottle-feeding over breastfeeding. As a result, I’ve pretty much always been an exclusive pumper! We are just shy of 7 months in and pumping has been quite a journey. In my heyday I was producing over 50 oz per day, but once I returned to work my supply began to dip. Now I pump for 15-20 minutes three times daily and am just producing enough milk to keep up with our baby girl’s needs.
Even though I have almost 1000 oz stashed in the freezer, I’d still like to increase my supply so I can stock up on frozen milk to feed Nico with in the months after I stop pumping. I just recently got into all the different ways that you can boost your supply— staying hydrated, drinking teas, bars, supplements, etc. I’ve even started baking special treats from time to time with brewers yeast oats and flaxseed meal, and the results have been promising.
Flash forward to today and Nico is thriving. It’s been a challenging seven months, but in the end pumping allowed our family to share the responsibility and joy of feeding Nico with each other and allowed me more independence. I still wish that I had been able to establish a better breastfeeding relationship with Nico, but to anyone out there facing similarly difficult circumstances, just know that if feeding your baby breast milk is your goal, pumping can be a rewarding and effective way to provide your child with the breastmilk.
To see more from Anna give her a follow at @annacellison
*Interested in making your own lactation treats at home? Try our Oat Mama brewer's yeast with our very own lactation cookie recipe on the back!