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  • Writer's pictureChloe

Diary of an Exclusive Pumper 02: How did you become my Little Pumpling?

How did you become my Little Pumpling? 1 Year of Pumping Blog

All Photos Taken & Owned By Little Pumpling.

Dear L,

In celebration of your first birthday. Here's the story of how you became My Little Pumpling.

Your Birth Day

The day you were born was a beautiful one. The sun was out and the day was warm. I was upstairs working hard on a clients' tax submission and your father was downstairs using the living room as his office. We were both home because that's what we did during the pandemic. We weren't allowed to go to work at the office or in a cafe so we spent our days apart in our tiny house. Early evening and our work is done - why not go for a walk to stretch the legs and move the baby around?

Whilst I was pregnant with you, I multitasked a lot as I worked on my University final year project and I worked for an Author. Both commitments had me sat at my desk for a couple of hours each day. Doesn't sound like a lot at all but whilst carrying you, it was the longest time. You'd kick my pelvis and wriggle into my ribs when I sat at my desk for longer than an hour. The rib flare meant I needed the daily walks because I needed to get your moving to give my body a break!

I can barely remember the walk that day as we had walked everyday for over three months. I think at that point, we'd walked every variation of the streets in our little town. The best thing was, it made us happy. A little walk at the end of a hard working day meant it was the evening, it meant it was time to talk, it meant it was dinner time. It was the best time of day and that is when my waters broke.

Early Labour

I wasn't entirely sure if that's what happened but all I could feel was dripping down my legs! I wasn't scared at that point. It was early, I was only 36 weeks pregnant and as convinced as I was of an early birth, everyone else disagreed so I just called your Nanny as I awaited contractions. I remember feeling happy that you were going to make an appearance in the next 24 hours.

The first contraction came as if it was a period pain. Easy. Then 20 minutes later, a whole body contraction. Thats when I knew you were coming and soon. I called the hospital. I double checked the bags. Got dressed. Grabbed a towel and in the car we went. You were too early for the birthing centre so we were told to go to the hospital. I cried when we didn't know where to park. I had visions of you popping out in the car. Eyes dried and slowly waddling to the maternity unit. Your father said goodbye as rules said he wasn't allowed in. I was with midwives on and off for an hour or two whilst my contractions sped up to every 2 minutes. Your father was finally allowed into the room when I was almost ready to push - I'd been asking for him for what felt like forever. It was lonely in the hot delivery room.

The Delivery

You may have wanted to evacuate quickly but you didn't understand that babies come out head first, not bum first - so I was rushed in for an emergency c-section. You and I were engaged but I was told to keep you close and not push. We were all aware that you were little and we didn't want to stress you out, so as painful as the recovery was, a c-section was the best thing for you. After only 4 hours of contractions, you arrived. You were tiny but you were here. Your daddy managed to give you cuddles and I managed to hold back my tears. I was so happy you were here. I was so happy your father had got time with you. The adrenaline had me shaking with the speed of it all leaving me a bit shocked. However, I was so pleased to be your Mum.

View of the Sunset from our bed.

Our time in hospital...

The first night I laid next to you, I remember stretching my arm out to try and touch your hand. Your tiny hand in mine. I remember feeling hugely honoured to have met you as I never thought the day would come. Even describing my feelings as grateful feels like an understatement.

As happy as I was, I was very sore which meant I could barely hold you so I used the cot swaying motion to get you to settle or I'd talk to you so you'd know I was close. It felt like you knew why I was doing it because you'd always settle, you'd settle for just long enough for me to slowly get out of bed.

The conventional use of the word breastfeeding didn't come naturally to us. I tried to place you there, hold you and support you but something just didn't quite work for us. I did everything they told me to do. I tried so hard I wanted to cry. I tried for 3 days and we were barely getting anywhere with it - you began to fight it and that's when I said that I didn't want to try anymore. I wanted you to be happy not fight with me about how you wanted to drink. A midwife introduced me to a pump - she told me it'd make my milk come in faster. Not a whole lot of advice but I took her word for it and tried my hardest. I committed to every 3 hours. I tried to celebrate 1ml here and 0ml there. No that's not a typo - in the early days even after 20 minutes of holding the pump there wouldn't be anything in the bottle. I kept telling myself it would work out. I wanted to see you content with a bottle of breastmilk just as you had been with a bottle of formula.

Your First Bottle

When we got home...

I got home and looked at the manual pump I'd bought whilst pregnant and was immediately on Amazon buying a double pump.

At the beginning, I felt clueless. I asked my visiting midwife if my milk would always be yellow. I asked if pumping was meant to hurt. I asked if someone could help me hand express. I asked as much as I could. I also read everything I could. I read leaflets (which weren't helpful) and I read about bottles, milk storage, schedules. I found exclusive pumping forums which was always anecdotal advice as one person said to do this and another person said to do something completely different. No matter it being conflicting advice, it was nice to read other parents going through similar things to me.

It was an overwhelming place to have found myself because it felt like I was the only one in it. I didn't know anyone who pumped full-time. I only knew of nursing. Nursing was all our antenatal classes spoke about. Despite the lack of resources and support. I was going to try my hardest to do this well. I found research papers and trusted organisations to gather my information and slowly built up my knowledge.

The moment which made me never look back on my feeding choice was said at your 10 day check. The appointment was to check if you'd gained enough weight after suffering a bit of Jaundice whilst in hospital. The Community Midwife didn't know how I was feeding you and we'd not met before. She said "Carry on doing what you're doing, he's doing amazing, well done."

So I never looked back.

Your First Week Home x

It's been one year.

I'm advocating for Exclusive Pumping. Little Pumpling is a space created to help Pumpers feel less alone and I hope it continues to grow and grow which will lead to more and more Exclusive Pumping conversation being heard.

There's so many more exciting things to come and it's all thanks to my little pumping.




- this article is the opinion of the Author -

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