Hey Milk Manual Mamas! I am so excited to announce the first Milk Manual Mom of the Month, Brittany Bertuzzi! Every month I plan to showcase one mom and her particular breastfeeding story. As helpful as it is to have a Lactation Consultant educate on breastfeeding, occasionally a mother’s personal journey can be just as helpful, if not more! Brittany breastfed both of her children in totally different ways! With her first, she exclusively pumped. She went on to basically exclusively breastfeed her second. This post will highlight her opinions on breastfeeding and her breastfeeding journey.
*also please note there will be some affiliate links located in this post!
Tell me about yourself
A brief introduction: Mom of 2 (Camilla-3, Hendrix, 1) Married to Cameron for 8 years.
I work as an administrator at a church and blog on the side. I love being creative.
Tell me about your journey into breastfeeding.
With my first I exclusively pumped for 1 year and 1 day. I over produced milk and had enough milk after her first year for her to be on breastmilk for almost 5 months after pumping. I was also able to donate milk which was really cool. With my son I exclusively breastfed. The first two months breastfeeding were extremely difficult and painful because of improper latch but we made it over the hump. And it was smooth sailing after that. With my daughter I got mastitis 2 times and with my son I got it once.
You exclusively pumped for one year, what were the hardest parts of breastfeeding for your family?
Exclusively pumping is no joke! It is way more difficult than nursing. You have to constantly keep pump parts clean, everything in your life will be regimented and centered around the next time that you have to pump. There are lots of supplies you have to have in-stock like milk bags and pump parts. I would say that the only up-side to EP (besides still being able to provide your baby with breastmilk) is that your partner is also able to feed the baby with a bottle
What were the easier parts of your journey?
Definitely getting over that initial hump of nursing. I finally felt confident feeding my son at the 3 month mark. I enjoyed the bond that it gave us and the quiet times.
What kept you feeling motivated through the hard times?
Remembering how time consuming exclusively pumping was made me very tenacious when it came to getting it right with nursing. When my nipples were cracked and both baby and I were crying from frustration, I remember the hours I spent pumping and it made me fight another day to figure out how to nurse properly. I also found a great support group at a near by hospital that had registered lactation consultants there to help you troubleshoot. As well as a supportive husband and friends that were my cheerleaders when I felt like I was just going to end up having the EP again.
What tips do you have for other exclusive pumping moms?
I was an EPing master! I had a backpack Medela pump that I carted with me everywhere, I had a car adapter for it so that I could pump in the car and a battery pack for it for when I wasn’t near an electrical outlet. I had pump cleaning wipes if I wasn’t near water to clean everything properly, and I had milk storage bags for days! Since I got mastitis a few times while EPing, I found what helped was to pump one breast at a time and massage your breast as you pump. This doubled my pumping time but it made sure that there were no lingering clogged ducts. I also swear by Sunflower Lecithin. It thins out your milk a little which lessons your chances for clogged ducts. If you want a good stash of milk pump until you are “empty” every time. It will build up your supply and make your body think that’s what the baby needs. Have extra sets of pump parts because if you are missing a part then you can’t pump. I had a set at work, in the car and at home.
Do you have any specific resources (books, websites, etc) for exclusive pumping moms?
I learned as I went! School of hard knocks. I didn’t even know that EPing was a thing until I was faced with it. It wasn’t until after it was all said and done that I realized that EPing truly is a lifestyle.
Even though products aren’t always a breastfeeding necessity, what breastfeeding marketed items helped aid to your success with exclusive pumping?
Medela backpack (see above), Medela pump wipes. With my son, There were times when I had to pump if we were apart. I really enjoyed just using a manual pump. It was a lot less maintenance. But I am not sure I would be able to use that if I was Exclusively pumping several times a day. But they are cheap and great on the go.
Anything else you want to say?
Any parting words for The Milk Manual readers? I was ill prepared before I had my first child about nursing and EPing. Not educated AT all until all of the sudden the baby was here. I thought nursing was just going to be this natural thing and you just stick the kid on there and they go to town. I always tell people that are about to be moms to educate yourself if you are planning to breastfeed. I also tell them to mentally prepare for there to be a learning period when the baby gets here. I think the best thing we can do is be honest and share our stories so that new mom’s can have realistic expectations. EPing is very hard mainly because of the time requirements and the sacrifice, but it is super rewarding in the end.
What are the social media channels where we can find you and follow along?
Additional resources for exclusively pumping moms: