Pumping Woes

This post may totally bore non-mothers, but what the hell, it’s MY BLOG so I’m gonna whine all I want.

The brand new Ameda Lactaline that we had paid a good $365 for has lost its magic touch. It had been behaving inconsistently since we received it on the 9th, and it’s just getting worse. Now that my boobs are used to the constant abuse of mechanically induced suck-suck-suck, I need to push the suction power up a notch, except… I’m already at the max settings!!

So this leads to a whole vicious cycle of boobs swelling up due to replenished milk supply, then I try to pump but am unable to empty out my boobs, force-feeding Keegan to relieve the painful boobs, then screaming at the cursed pump that just isn’t working out well for me.

I had been working so hard – and so tiresomely – to pump ever so often on top of latching Keegan on, and my supply had increased from 500ml per 24 hours to a whooping 800ml! And on a good pump day when the machine behaves well, I have even hit 940ml. I won’t even be surprised if I can actually squeeze out an additional 2 litres, but I just don’t reach the amount because the pump acts up every other day.

Keegan can’t even empty out ONE boob, because I’ve been using the pump to “fake demand” in order to trick my boobs to supply that much more for Joshua. Demand = supply, and I can’t create more demand if the pump isn’t working well!

I was so distraught that we made a trip to Thomson ParentCraft on Friday to consult a Lactation Consultant. (Another $50 gone.) I had wondered if my lacking breastpumping results were due more to “user error” than an inefficient pump. But once they made me use their Medela Pump In Style Advanced, I knew the fault was not with me. Their pump worked like a miracle and I was able to empty out both boobs in 15 minutes flat, yielding an amazing 100+85 ml of milk in total. My boobs turn soft, flabby and oh-so-comfortable without the swelling.

On a bad pump day at home, it was very common for me to only yield 40 to 60ml per boob every 3 hours. Rarely would I be able to achieve almost 200ml per session! It was therefore concluded that my pump was just not suitable for me. Which meant there is now need to get another new pump. Hooray for kids and their uncanny (yet unintentional) ability to suck our money dry. 😕

I guess I could try to survive with the current cranky Ameda – and save ourselves $678.60 – but at the rate I’m unable to empty out the stash so my boobs have space to make (and store) more milk, I will find it no surprise if my supply starts to dip again. Then all my 3 weeks of hard work would have come to naught, whilst giving me plenty of frustration and pain before the supply finally dwindles down to feed just one.

Right now as I type, my boobs are being overstretched and throbbing with too much milk. But there’s nothing I can do about it cos the pump just won’t work right. Hubs is in the process of acquiring the Medela for me, and I just pray that it’ll come soon before my boobs explode and cover the living room floor with white sticky breastmilk.

And then there’s the issue of getting a chest freezer to store my sweat and tears (aka breastmilk). There goes the items on my postpartum and nursing shopping list.

FML.

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