I'm glad I purchased this book; I think it offers a great deal of information on how to create and maintain an adequate milk supply through pumping. I think it could benefit from a better editor; the book is repetitious at points, and I would have organized it differently (it's clear to me when reading this book that Casemore is essentially beefing up the original blog posts she made about this issue), but overall it's a pretty good manual for pumping.
The beginning is totally skippable. I don't need a whole chapter about how breast is best complete with charts and graphs, nor do I need tips for how to get over guilt about not breastfeeding directly from the breast. I do get that that info is useful for some women; after all, many women who decide to exclusively pump do so because they have premie babies or because they have breastfeeding issues that cause then to abandon their original plans for feeding their kids. I was surprised but happy that she mentioned that some women just think it's weird for a baby to suck on their boobs and don't want to do that since I fall into that camp.
Now that I'm a bit more informed about how exclusively pumping works, I realize that more was going on to sabotage my attempts to pump and feed Emma than just my diet. Yes, starving myself was not conducive to producing breast milk, nor was post-partum depression. However, I wasn't pumping frequently enough or for long enough, and I started skipping that middle of the night pumping session after only a few weeks--all pretty much sure-fire ways to get your milk to dry up, which mine did. I also was given medication to increase my milk supply which probably exacerbated my post-partum depression, and one of the things Casemore emphasizes is that stress, anxiety, and depression all contribute to poor milk supply. Once again, I wish that someone had helped me figure this stuff out instead of leaving me to flounder and fail.
I have to say before I get into the nuts and bolts of Casemore's book that I'm a bit more daunted after reading. I'm worried that the time commitment necessary to make exclusively pumping truly work for feeding Fiona long term is going to end up being unmanageable for me. In addition to the daily time requirement (roughly two hours a day) for pumping, at least initially the frequency of pumping is a bit overwhelming. Add in washing equipment each time, and it starts to seem like I'll be doing nothing but pumping and washing the pump kit. I don't remember pumping being a really intrusive or time consuming thing when I was doing it with Emma, but that's because I was doing it wrong LOL and if I want it to work with Fiona, I'll need to be able to make that commitment. Part of me wonders if I ought to just try to feed directly from the breast, pumping afterwards from time to time to build up a little supply so that others can feed her sometimes, to save myself some time and energy. I'll have to be getting up to pump anyway and then have the added washing and etc. to go along with that. Another part of me wonders if I ought to just pump what seems doable to me, and if (or when really) my milk dries up, just switch to formula like I did with Emma. I do believe that any amount of breast milk is better than none, and I think if I eat and hydrate properly and incorporate some of the techniques that Casemore mentions without going overboard with the pumping frequency that I can probably stretch out my milk viability for longer than the five weeks I went with Emma. I don't think I'd be able to make it six months, but I think two, possibly three would be doable that way. When it comes right down to it, formula is so much easier. You're not tied to a baby or a pump and anyone can feed the baby. You can sleep through the night starting so much earlier if you have a partner or a grandparent willing to take night shift, and you can go places without worrying about having to breastfeed the baby or find some place to pump. It's pretty tempting to just not worry about it. IDK
I need to talk to Josh and get his opinion. I really don't want to directly breast feed just because it felt so weird with Emma. She was a premie and so tiny; my boob was bigger than her whole body LOL. She couldn't really latch properly (and again, nobody spent any time helping me with that or trying to show me how; I tried to breastfeed her for like two seconds and then they shoved a pump at me; don't get me wrong; I was relieved and grateful for the pump and I know that getting food into a baby that's less than five pounds is a priority, but still), and it did feel weird and wrong somehow to have a baby sucking on a part of my body that I had always considered sexual. All that being said, everything has been so different with Fiona that I'm willing to believe that breastfeeding her could be an entirely different situation. I'm willing to try it with the understanding that if it really skeeves me out or if it doesn't work, I'm going to move on without guilt. At that point, I'd have the option of exclusively pumping. I'm so indecisive!( Notes from the text )