SAHM To Baby Born With A Cleft Lip And Palate

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I’ve been pumping for a bit over six weeks now. My son, Alex, was born on February 26th, with a cleft lip and palate. We were expecting this, both because I was born with a cleft lip and palate and because we saw it on the ultrasound. I breastfed my first son for a year and wanted to give Alex the same good start. Because he can’t form sufficient suction to nurse directly, I decided to pump. My local WIC office loaned us a Medela Lactina pump the day I got out of the hospital (I used a Medela Classic in the hospital). Since we have a specific medical need, we can keep the pump for as long as we need at no charge.

At first, I was a bit leery of exclusively pumping. With my first son, I had rented a Lactina when I went back to work, and while I had no problems with the actual pumping, I did have problems finding time to pump at work. How would I ever be able to pump often enough to feed my newborn, while still dealing with running the household and getting my kindergartener to school every day? I started with pumping every two hours during the day and every three hours at night. Luckily, I had a great supply from the start. Alex had formula in the hospital until my milk came in, but has only had breastmilk since then. Soon, I spaced out my pumpings to every three hours, then every three during the day and every four at night. Now I am at about every four hours around the clock.

From what I hear, I am not the ‘average’ pumper. I get at least 60 ounces a day, whether I pump every 3 hours or every 4 hours. I don’t take any galactagogues (supply increasing herbs or foods, as I understand it); although I do eat cereal with oats most mornings, just because it is my favorite. I have a freezer stash that is threatening to overtake my chest freezer…10 gallons and counting, all in little 2 ounce bags! I don’t work; I am a stay-at-home Mom this go around. And Alex does manage to nurse in his own special way. While he can’t latch on properly, he does his best, and I express the milk directly into his mouth. We mostly do this for just a little extra comforting and don’t rely on it for nutrition.

My original goal was to pump until Alex had recovered from his first surgery. That surgery will probably be in mid-May, but I see no reason to stop at this point. I don’t know if I will make it to one year, or not, but I am playing this all by ear. If pumping starts to interrupt our family life, then I will reconsider, but as for now, I am doing my best for Alex.

Kristi

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