Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk: Well Worth the Work


My exclusively pumping breast milk journey began like many mother’s journeys. My illusions of a natural child birth were demolished by a previous surgery that caused concern about whether my uterus would be able to labor effectively. Add a baby that was already over 8 lbs. and the c-section was quickly scheduled for a week before my due date. See, my boy has been displaying signs of a willful spirit since the womb and trying to get him to breastfeed would be no different. ExclusivelyPumping_BookReviewHe latched on for a short time then decided he would fight for his right to a bottle- the battle ensued. Every single time I put him to the breast he would fight, scream, cry, push away and completely break my heart. I became concerned that he was not eating and was easily convinced by one of my maternity nurses to give him a couple of ounces of formula to “open up his appetite”. I can now say the lactation consultants I worked with were not very good but, at the time, I blamed myself. Why couldn't I get this? The videos I watched made it seem as though it would happen naturally with no need for too much interference from anyone else. It did NOT happen this way for us.

The lactation consultant at the hospital stuck her head in the morning after he was born and said just put him to your breast then walked out. I didn't understand why my baby wouldn't latch and began mourning our breast feeding relationship. I felt destined to fail so I quickly adjusted and started my pumping journey. I've stumbled, fell on my face, swore I would quit, slept on it and got back up the next morning so many times that I've lost count.

In the beginning, the fact that there were friends and family around all the time made it almost impossible to pump. I didn't want to leave my baby. I hadn't gotten the hang of pumping enough to feel comfortable pumping in front of others. I began relying on formula heavily and only pumping a few times a day when I could get it in and almost lost my supply. After a few weeks the constant visits slowed down enough that I could establish a pumping schedule. I spent the rest of my maternity leave increasing my production and establishing a schedule that would enable me to feed my son breast milk only. It wasn't until I had already started working again that a good friend recommended the Exclusively Pumping Group on Facebook. OH HOW I WISH I KNEW ABOUT THIS GROUP FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. A lot of the hurdles I encountered in the beginning could've been avoided if I’d known some of the things shared in this forum. These ladies provide advice on natural milk supply enhancers, things to do to help with most of the pitfalls associated with pumping and most of all SUPPORT.

ExclusivelyPumpingSo when I was given the opportunity to review Stephanie Casemore’s Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk - A Guide to Providing Expressed Milk for Your Baby, I jumped at the chance. I find the information provided can make the difference between a good/fulfilling pumping experience and one that will end prematurely for lack of support.

Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk makes all of the crucial information I learned readily available. It’s joined my must-have list for expecting mothers even if they haven’t decided if they will breastfeed or pump. It is beautifully written and can be read cover to cover or used as a source of reference when one is not so sure what to do/try next.

The book takes you through the emotions of exclusively pumping-from making the decision to pump, choosing a pump, the beginning stages, the ups and downs, how to increase your supply, setting short term and long term goals, storage, feeding and it even provides information on weaning. My copy will not leave my pump bag because even after pumping for 8 months I still have questions every day. It’s a continuing labor of love. One I am committed to. Well worth the work.

For more information on this topic, visit Stephanie Casemore's website.

Disclosure: a copy of this book was provided in order to review it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.