Pumped about my new pump!

We recently visited good friend of ours that just had their first-born daughter and needless to say, the visit was life-changing. My friend Mel so graciously allowed me to try out her Spectra pump to see how  I liked it, since I was having second thoughts about mine for some time now…

I got my Medela ‘Pump in Style’ through my insurance for free— and to be honest, it was more like “pump in misery”. Til this day, I have never pumped past 2 oz on each breast. It has been a really big struggle for me. I’ve let down more milk into my Haaka than I ever have using Medela pump. It was frustrating and I quickly learned to resent pumping.

Breastfeeding was always so wonderful and because of that, I began to pump less and less. Pumping simply became a drag… And so, days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months and before you know it, Nathan no longer wanted to take my boob and I was pumping once a day (if that) and only getting about 1/2 an ounce per boob. I couldn’t even force myself to pump for longer than 10 minutes because the tugging felt so unnatural.

I felt hopeless and I pretty much gave up on pumping… Until Saturday, August 3rd. Two and a half months into this beautiful thing we call ‘motherhood’, I learned that I just didn’t have the right pump (for me) all along. And it’s my fault. It’s my fault for not seeing it sooner and also my fault for not doing my research on pumps. I hadn’t even heard of Spectra until after I gave birth that I saw so many of my other friends (who also recently gave birth) using it. I thought Medela was the end all, be all, because it was really all I knew. But it wasn’t— at least not the one I got.

Luckily, I never had any issues with breastfeeding/pumping in terms of it being uncomfortable because it hurt. My nipples never scabbed, tore or chaffed. About one week after we brought Nate home, my left nipple did become a little sore, so I put lanolin ointment and coconut oil for two straight days and I didn’t pump from it or had Nate nurse from the left boob either and it healed quickly. I never had any issues after that day and it’s been smooth sailing, thank Goodness! It also helped a lot that I had the right flange size with me for pumping. Typically, the breast pumps bring like two options for flanges but they’re just not the right fit for me. I had to go on Amazon and purchase the 19 mm flange. Another wonderful thing was that Nate always had a great latch since the hospital, so it’s been a blessing because I’ve been able to breastfeed him until he just no longer wanted my boob (sad face). I guess he realized the bottle is so much easier! Still, I was able to store enough milk throughout the past few months where I can still give him my breast milk throughout the day. I alternate between formula (Similac Pro-Sensitive premixed liquid) and breastmilk every three hours or so— but I guess you can say I am exclusively pumping now, in terms of how I am getting the milk out. I go back to work in a couple of weeks so I need to start upping my storage amount anyway.

So, what’s different (you may ask)? EVERYTHING. For one, the suction feels more like a baby suckling than something tugging on your nipple. It is so much more natural and for the first time, fifteen minutes go by and they feel like only five. There’s different settings, including the massage one, and you can customize pretty much everything. I’ve been using the setting my friend recommended and it seems to be working great for me. I pumped twice as much as I have with my Medela and I’ve been doing it more often because it’s actually no longer a burden. I like it. I believe in pumping again!

I am specially thankful to my friend Melissa for sharing your pumping tips with me and the cycles that work for her…. But most importantly, for letting me try out the Spectra. It was life changing!

Just as she shared with me, I am happy to share the cycle tips with all of you. Below are images on how to begin your pumping session and when to end it. Of course, every woman varies and as you go using yours, you’ll see what works for you and what doesn’t. But if you’re a Spectra beginner like me, perhaps this too can work for you!

Happy pumping!

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STEP 1: Begin massage session as a ‘warm up’ to stimulate your nipples for about 30 seconds – 1 min. I went all the way to three minutes because I lost track of time lol. 

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STEP 2: Turn off massage mode and let’s get groovin’! Set your Cycle to 54 and Vacuum level to 4-7 (choose based on your comfort level) for about 13 minutes. 

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STEP 3: Once milk begins to slow down, switch to Cycle 46, vacuum 6 for about 2-5 minutes and you’re set. Repeat this process every hour to get your milk flow going if baby isn’t latching! 

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