A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

My Exclusive Pumping Journey (9 Months and Going Strong)

By Chasity

After my failed natural birth, all I wanted to do was hold my son in my arms and breastfeed him. I wanted to be my son’s sole nutritional provider. I wanted to feel the inseparable bond that breastfeeding mothers talked about. I wanted my heart to warm as my son gave me a milky smile. I wanted my son and I to have the health benefits of breast milk. Breast milk is easier to digest, and lowers the risk of respiratory infections, asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and skin diseases. It also lowers the mother’s risk of ovarian and breast cancer (both of which I have a high risk of getting). While I was pregnant, I watched breastfeeding videos and went to Le Leche League meetings. In my mind, there was no way breastfeeding was not going to work out for me.

Chasity pumps breast milk for her son.

After my C-section I had to stay in the recovery room for an hour. Then they rolled me into my room and brought me my son. He was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. With blonde hair and blue eyes he looked like the cherubs painted in church nursery rooms. I brought my son to my breast and he started eating. I winced in pain but I struggled through it. It will get better, I kept telling myself. Throughout the night the nurses kept waking me up to get me to roll over and change my catheter. While I was awake, I would have the lactation consultant come into my room and help me latch my son. I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything I could to ensure breastfeeding worked out. I wanted to make sure that he was eating enough and that my breasts were getting enough stimulation. In the two days that I was in the hospital, I had the lactation consultant come into my room too many times to count. I wanted to make sure that I was learning all the holds and latching techniques that I could. I was eating to make sure that I was getting enough calories and I was drinking a lot of water to make sure that I was getting enough liquids. My breasts were engorged and on paper everything was going the way it should. However, every time my son ate I cried. My nipples were not cracked, but the pain felt like my breasts were on fire.

“It is normal,” the lactation consultant told me. “Your nipples just have to toughen up. It will be better in a couple of weeks.”

“Okay,” I said, weakly.

I went home and continued breastfeeding. I called my local Le Leche League leader after a couple of days to find out why it was still burning. The Le Leche League leader told me that Benjamin was latching properly and did not have lip tie. I was discouraged but kept on breastfeeding. I dreaded my son eating. It brought me to tears. I would hear my son cry because he was hungry and I would instantly panic. I did not want to feed him. It would be 40 minutes of hell. I used nipple creams, massaged my breasts, and did anything I could to make my breasts feel better.

Chasity, husband and son.

After three weeks of breastfeeding, I had gone to three lactation consultants. The last lactation consultant I went to said I had a rare hormonal imbalance. She said that it was extremely unusual and made it burn to breastfeed. This made me cry. I sobbed. Of course I had the rare hormonal imbalance. There was a low chance of getting PUPPS while pregnant. I had that. There was a low chance of my natural birth failing. That happened. Now this. I could not take it. I felt like a complete failure. My body was not working right, and I felt like I failed my son.

“Formula is not that bad,” the lactation consultant told me.

“He is not getting formula,” I said through gritted teeth. “I am fighting for him. For me. We are going to do this. I got formula and I have eczema and high rates of breast and ovarian cancer. If I can help reduce my son’s likelihood of eczema than I’m going to. For years I cried myself to sleep because the itching was so bad from eczema. That’s not happening. Even if breast milk will just help lessen the severity of his eczema. It is not an option.”

“I do not know what to tell you,” she said.

Chasity and son.

I left her angry. At her. At God. At myself. I wanted to curl up in a ball and die. Everyone around me was saying that formula would not be that bad. That is was okay if breastfeeding did not work out. My husband was the only one who encouraged me to make it through. I went online looking for answers, and I found a community of exclusive pumpers. These women pumped for 3, 6, 9, 12 months! These women were able to give their babies milk. For the first time in a month I was encouraged and happy. I was excited.

Chasity's son.

For hours I read everything I could about exclusive pumping. My mother-in-law went to Target to get me a pump. Every two hours for the next three months I pumped. My body worked! Milk was plentiful! I produced 50 ounces a day! I was able to become a milk donor and help mothers who were unable to produce enough milk for their babies. I felt like my body could finally do something right. The nights were hard and sleepless. I was constantly tired, but I was determined. Everything I did had to be scheduled around my pumping. I pumped in the car, in my college classes, and anywhere else I had to. I had no shame. Hell, I was proud. I was proud that my son was getting breast milk. Screw anyone else who thought negatively of what I was doing!

Chasity and son.

After four months of pumping, I started pumping every three hours. At ten months, I pump five to six times a day. I sleep through the night and pump accordingly during the day. My son has exclusively received breast milk for these nine months. I have been able to donate over 1,800 ounces through Human Milk 4 Human Babies. Exclusively pumping made me love my body again, helped me heal from postpartum depression, and has helped me have a healthy boy. He has always been above average in weight, height, what he does, and he has yet to get sick.

Chasity's son receives exclusively pumped breast milk.

Exclusive pumping is not an easy journey. There are a lot of sleepless nights, times that you do not want to pump, and times you hate being tied to a machine. But I look at my son and it is all worth it. I do not regret my decision one bit. I hope with my next baby that breastfeeding will work out, but I know that if it does not that exclusively pumping is a viable option.

Chasity's son thriving on breast milk.



  1. Jessica Dengord says

    Such an inspiration! Well done, that’s amazing!!

  2. How do I connect with the community of exclusive limpets?

  3. This was so encouraging! With my firstborn, I pumped exclusively for 3 months until we could finally get him to latch, and then I nursed and pumped for 18 months. My current baby is unable to latch so I’ve been exclusively pumping for 7+ months. Some days, I think I’m out of my mind…but then I read something like this and it makes me realise I’m not alone…or as crazy as I thought! 🙂
    Thank you!

  4. Chasity Boatman says
  5. Well done mama! Great job!

  6. Finally someone I can identify with 100%. I exclusively pumped for 9 months, no formula needed. Had around 15 milk baby’s (I call them that way), and produce 1/2 gallon daily.

  7. What is the safest and healthiest way to lose weight while pregnant?

    • You shouldn’t be trying to lose weight while pregnant unless your OB advises it. Now is not the time to be losing weight, if you’re careful about what you gain, regulate your diet so that you are only taking in the amount of calories needed, but DO NOT DIET! You will deprive baby of nutrients and yourself as well. IF your OB does want you to lose weight, they will tell you exactly how to do it.

  8. Good job! Keep on pumping! I too exclusively pumped for 11 months. I had enough saved that I was able to stop that last month and still only give BM. I really wanted to EBF, but 5hrs after my c-section I was finally able to meet my son and he wanted nothing to do with the breast and preferred the bottle. I cried every day for months when I would try to breast feed him only to have him scream and refuse… Until I finally resigned to the fact that at least I was able to stick to my choice to not give him any formula by pumping! With my second son, the exact opposite happened. He is a great nurser and wants nothing to do with a bottle (whole other set of challenges now that he’s In Daycare and I’m at work). Proud of you momma!

  9. Thank you for sharing this! I work full time, so around 7.5 months my son decided (with many a tantrum) that he didn’t want me anymore, he wanted the bottle. It was really depressing, and I’ve been struggling through exclusively pumping for the past three weeks. Mostly the mental hurdles of hating pumping and having to force myself to do it. This has really given me quite a lot of inspiration, so thank you again! 3 months, 2 weeks until his 1st birthday. I can do this.

  10. I can relate completely! I had planned a water birth for my daughter, but after 17 hours of induced labor I had to had to have a c-section. I was so depressed! I cried and cried before, during, and after the surgery. I felt like a failure. Then came the breastfeeding. She had issues latching because my nipples were flat and at times inverted. I met with a lactation specialist multiple times during my 5 day stay, and yet we couldn’t get it to work. I was constantly in pain, she was hungry and losing weight. I dreaded the thought of feeding her because it was a horrible experience. The nurses suggested I supplement with formula to get her weight back up, and I downright refused. I told them she will NOT be on formula unless I don’t produce what she needs. My husband seemed to be the only one to back me on it. Everyone told me formula is not bad! I had been given a pump before she was born and I thought I’d give it a try. I produced! She ate and was happy. I was happy because she got the best stuff for her body. I started pumping every two hours; it didn’t matter where I was (especially in the car and other people’s homes). At first I thought I was going to lose my mind, but it got easier (and I was determined to not have her on any formula). We are approaching her 3 month mark and going strong. I now pump every 3-4 hours and produce plenty for her and another! I have a freezer full of milk for her and am probably going to start donating some.

  11. A beautiful & motivating message for the many who cannot nurse their babies but still want the benefits of breast milk for their little ones!!! I have 11 month old twins and pumped exclusively for 6 months and then continued until 10. It is an amazing gift that we can give our children and I wish I had read your story earlier. Well done mama!

  12. Awesome job, momma! I pumped for my daughter for 13 1/2 months. Sometimes I get down on myself for not making it to my goal of 15 months (which would be 1 year adjusted age since my daughter was 3 months premature), but then I force myself to realize what an insane goal that was! Any amount of pumping you can do after breastfeeding doesn’t work out is heroic in my mind. I had the reverse problem that you had – pumping was painful and breastfeeding was not – but due to my daughter’s health problems, she was never able to get enough nutrition from breastfeeding. Keep up the great work!

  13. Wow what amazing determination you all have! It is inspiring me to get back out my pump. I currently EBF my four month old and I can’t go anywhere without him because I’ve been refusing to pump. My right breast doesn’t even make milk any more, but maybe if I start pumping it I can get it back in service and even make extra. I read about the huge need for milk for preemies so you mamas who donate are amazing! Formula is NOT an equivalent at all and it’s so awesome to read from others who agree with me. Formula is like McDonald’s and human milk like fresh vegetables. No comparison!!! You have all greatly inspired me that I can pump and make extra for my son and maybe other babies, too. Human Milk Banks of North America need it!

  14. Allie Reese says

    Your story is so amazing & encourages me to keep going when I just feel like giving up! I exclusively pump because my 1 month old daughter just refuses to latch on. Lately I’ve been having problems with my supply so I’ve been forced to supplement with formula. I feel like I’m failing my daughter & myself. This was not what I had planned before giving birth to her. It is slowly starting to get better day by day but it is so hard! I keep telling myself I will NOT give up! Thank you for sharing your story

  15. Thank you so much for sharing this!! I have been EPing for 5 1/2 months and starting to get discouraged but you have sparked a new fire & for that I am grateful!! You are a true badass!!

  16. I wish I had read this story 3 months ago. I had a very similar problem while trying to breastfeed my daughter. I did try to pump but the damage was done. I never produced enough milk. And after 5 weeks, I woke up one day, completely dry on my right side. Maybe if I had tried harder it wouldn’t have happened.

    you a true inspiration.

  17. How inspiring and successful you are! Thank you for the motivation and encouragement you provide for other women! I would love to hear more from you.

  18. Great job! I’m so sad for all you went through but so happy you worked so hard! Proud of your hubby too!

  19. This is awesome! I have two daughters. First was breastfed for 9 months and weened herself off and then with the second I aspired to make it to at least 6months. When daughter number 2 didn’t want to latch on I cried for the first week and then came up with a plan. Like you I found the blog about Mommy’s that exclusively pump. It helped a lot! Empowering. Exclusively pumping is very difficult and tiring. I did it for 4.5 months straight for my 2nd daughter. That pump was my new husband, I Took it everywhere. I too pumped at work, at school, Disneyland, the mall and in my car. And one day I had my daughter in my lap and breast out ready to pump and I thought ” I should just try” and like magic she took it. It hurt at first because babies are much more efficient at draining milk then pumps are but oh my goodness I was so excited I didn’t care. I am happy to say I was able to breast feed my daughter til 13months.

  20. Chris Hardamo says

    My baby is seven weeks old. At first I was having pain during breast-feeding. I got a nipple shield and that worked wonders. But now when I pump, that hurts. Do you have any suggestions?

  21. I’ve been trying to nurse my 5-week old but it doesn’t seem to be working despite the many times I’ve had a lactation consultant help me. I’ve been pumping every 1.5-2hours daily but only produce 11-13 ounces daily. I’ve tried taking fenugreek, mother love milk plus, beer, etc., but can’t seem to increase my output to the level where many of you are able to. It is so discouraging! Any ideas on how you get my supply to 30 ounces/day?

    • Hey Kim! Have you tried eating a lot of flax and oatmeal? My son is 3 months now, but around the one month mark I got a yeast breast infection which made my milk supply dwindle for a good week. I just pumped amd pumped even when nothing came. I cried so often thinking that my breastfeeding journey might be coming to an end at a measly 4 weeks. Luckily he took my pumped milk in a bottle, and slowly my milk came back. I was so happy – until the 2 month mark. I actually had to have a core-needle biopsy on a non-breastfeeding related lump in my right breast. Because of the tissue samples they retrieved it messed with my ducts and really negatively impacted my milk production – even MORE than the infection believe it or not. As in, no milk. In either breast. My baby WAILED when I would attempt to feed him because he was getting air! I was devestated again and emotionally exhausted (on top of obvious physical exhaustion). This time, I decided to do more research into foods that might help. I noticed that flax, garlic, carrots and oatmeal were high on the list. So I started eating oatmeal three times a day, with flax in it each time. The nice part is , oatmeal is fantastic for us anyway and also help with weight loss! I also snacked on carrots all day long and began taking oderless garlic. Within two days I was completely back in business, on BOTH SIDES. I can’t even describe my elation. It was amazing how quickly my milk supply came back with full force and I went through more breast pads than ever suddenly. I was MANUALLY (and by manually I mean squeezing with my hands) pumping 4 oz. easily after each feeding. Didn’t even need a pump. I am still going strong, and still eating all these foods, often. Try brewers yeast in a shake too- that’s something else I tried and noticed a huge difference. It’s bitter, but worth the results! I hope this helps you in some way – my heart goes out to you! Hugs

  22. Patricia says

    Good job! Well done!
    Glad to know that I am not alone. My daughter was born 9 weeks too early. Since that day I kept on pumping. She has got several problems with drinking and eating. She will be 11 months next week an did not need formula. So I will keep on pumping until she finally will not need milk anymore 😉

  23. This was such an inspiration to read! It sounds just like my story behind my decision to exclusively pump!
    Thanks for sharing!
    For anyone out there who has any questions about breast pumps or breast pump accessories, this is a great site that I found and bought my breast pump through. It has great info on each pump and helped me decided which pump was best for me!

  24. Congratulations! What a fabulous job you did for your son. It is amazing what great work breast pumps can do.

  25. I am aways happy to read success stories on exclusively pumping. I have been exclusively pumping for my son for 9 months now and I will continue to do it until he turns 2 or until I have breastmilk to give him. Does the author of this piece still pump? How long did she pump?

    • Hello! So I am home with my 2 week old beautiful baby girl trying to read blogs and posts on other moms who have chosen exclusive pumping, “Eping” as some sites call it. I am trying to put myself at ease, wipe away the guilt of giving up on breast feeding to exclusively pump. I too had a c section and post op in the hospital the latching went pretty well, took a couple of days for her and I to figure it out but the La Leche lady said I was doing great! By the end of her first week home I was on the verge of tears and cursing, cringing, holding my breath every time i breast fed. The first week home my nipples began to hurt more and more each day I breast fed. I too cringed when she cried because she was hungry, was stressed during the couple hours between feedings anticipating the pain that was coming. My baby girl fussed when she ate because I was uncomfortable and tense. The bonding experience was ruined because i was in pain. It was the weekend and my instincts knew I could not do this anymore. I was concerned about it affecting the production of my milk, her not getting enough and not gaining weight. With great guilt I decided to exclusively pump after reading about it and it has been a life saver. Yes I have given up only a week into it but I feel better, she is sleeping better and I feel better knowing she is getting enough milk. Yes it is hard work to be pumping around the clock but knowing my baby girl is getting what I made for her puts me at ease knowing I am still able to give her the best I have. The next hurdle is figuring this pumping schedule out when I return to work in 6 weeks but I am determined to do this as long as possible! Thank you for your story, sometimes us momma’s need to do what is best for our babies even though our guilt of doing it “perfect” weighs heavy on us.

    • Chasity Boatman says

      Hello Joami! I EPed for 15 months!! Feel free to ask me any questions about my journey or about EPing at my blog’s FB.

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  27. I exclusively pump and I am trying to reconcile what I should do: feed on demand ( traditional breast feeding) or feed every 3 hours or so as they do with a bottle. Do you have any thoughts. My son is going through a 6 mo growth spurt

  28. I so resonate with your post! I also wanted to exclusively breast feed my baby, but he didn’t want anything to do with me. He would scream and scream when ever I had him close to the breast. I made the switch to exclusively pumping, but felt like I was a failure for not being able to breastfeed him, even though he was still getting breastmilk. Thank you for your post, it’s encouraging to know that there are other mothers out there that are having to go though this and that are able to stick with it! I’m at 9 weeks right now and I’m realizing how long a year is, but I know it’s worth it! Also, I really resonated with your post because I also had PUPPPS (which was absolutely miserable) and then when that started cleaning up with the medications, I was then diagnosed with cholestasis, which is another condition which makes your skin itchy. My doctor told me I was so lucky I could probably win the lottery because my chances of having both of those conditions in one pregnancies is so slim! Thanks again for your encouragement!!

  29. Thank you for such an honest post! I am EPing for my 9 month old twin boys and few people understand the challenges and heartache that comes along with EPing. I make just over 80oz of milk a day and also donate to families, it’s a wonderful ability but is hard at times. I think about throwing my pump away everyday, but my boy’s health and happiness keeping me pumping along.

  30. So inspiring! I had tried exclusively breastfeeding but I too had so many issues so I got a free breastpump through Aeroflow Breastpumps and have been exclusively pumping ever since.

  31. Christine says

    There are benefits to exclusively pumping as well….I like that daddy and grandparents etc. can share in the responsibility of feeding and that I am in control of my pumping schedule and it is separate from her eating schedule. It has given me more freedom overall. It is the best of both worlds…convenience of bottle feeding with my breast milk. Plus I can adjust how much milk I’m getting by how much I pump. If I need more to mix in with purees I can have it on hand. Little girl was 6 weeks early and we needed to know that she was getting enough. I’d do it the same way if I had to choose again.

  32. I love your story! IMO Exclusive pumping is harder than nursing! I hope you don’t mind if I share a ink to my EP story here. http://exclusivepumpingmoms.blogspot.com/

  33. Hi Chastity! I have the same symptom as you in between findings, an excruciating burning deep breast pain in between feedings. I cry bent over in pain, and I can’t even stand or walk straight or get a hug. Nobody seems to know what’s going on (IBCLCs, nurses, doctor). One LC said it was oxytocin, but it does not feel pleasant at all! BF should be. I get slight breast pain with pumping but not even close to when my LO is on me. It’s a complete mystery.

    I feel that it may be yeast/thrush? I had open wounds on my nipples while I nursed. That might’ve been how I got an infection. The pain was mostly on my breasts which this document points out as candida mastitis http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3048637/ I went to the doc to get my blood work and temp after my head started twitching uncontrollably. I had always gotten the chills in between feedings, but this was really bad. I had a fever and a white blood cell count of 14k, indicating a bad infection and was given antibiotics. Of course, a recipe for thrush, right?

    Anyway, do you not get a similar pain while pumping? I feel some but not as bad as when actually nursing, Have you had success with a nipple shield? Did you ever try nursing again after weeks/months? I’d like to know. I am EP right now. It is so much more work and time, but thank God, I am not in pain.

    I would LOVE to hear from you! How do I contact you?

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  35. Would anyone know the answer to my question:

    I have been pumping since day one. My baby latches on very well but I could not tolerate the pain. I was pumping 4oz and about every 2-3 hrs when she started sleeping at night I also stretched the time I would pump and go 4hrs without pumping my milk decreased and now I pump 2 max 3 oz I started pumping again through out the night every 3hrs but when can I go back to stretching time I pump at night so I can sleep without decreasing my production? I was able to get it up to a steady 3oz every pump session I pump every 3hrs during day and night but would love to know when I can stretch a little more a night

  36. I just have to say great job! And exclusively pumping is breastfeeding too! Ep’ers may not nurse, but we still breastfeed!
    I have been EP’ing for 2 and a half years for my son with a feeding tube. Breastmilk will always be good for him due to his disease and not being able to digest certain things, so I will continue as long as I can.

    • Wow 2 and a half years that’s amazing! I pumped from about 6 months with my daughter till a year when I ran dry and with my son I’ve ended up doing the same. He’s 8 months now and I’m already hating doing this. I find it hard to pump while looking after 2 kids, my nipples are cracked and bleeding too so I dread every session. I’m down to 3 or 4 pumps a day getting minimum 7 or 8 Oz, the 4th pump is through the night but I’ve been skipping it every 2nd night. Dying to drop a pump, how often were you pumping a day at around this age? I’m wary of affecting my supply but I just find it all really stressful.

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  38. Thanks for sharing your story. I had an unplanned C-section and my son struggled with latching and using his muscles correctly. We went to lactation consultants and oral motor therapy, but I finally had to admit that I couldn’t handle trying to nurse from the source. I JUST switched to EPing, and seeing someone else’s success story has reinforced my choice.

  39. I ended up being on magnesium during and after delivery due to high blood pressure ( i had low blood pressure throughout pregnancy ) and it made it difficult to breastfeed in the hospital . Once we were home I also dreaded feeding my baby. My nipples were bleeding and I cried through most feedings. I saw a lactation consultant and attended a breastfeeding support grout for 5 months but my supply never really came in. I stayed hydrated , pumped 6-8 times a day, took fenugreek but it never increased . I was only producing about half of what my baby needed. Our pediatrician told me to start supplementing at her 6 mo check up because she wasn’t gaining. I was not devastated about giving her formula and hate that so many women are, of course i would have loved to make it a year or more but I know I did all I could

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  41. I love your story, I’m an exclusive pumper, too 🙂

    I wanted to add: my husband and I have created a new app for Android for exclusive pumpers, the first of its kind. It’s called MilkStack and I thought it may he of interest to you to write about.

  42. What a beautiful, inspiring story. You have made me feel so much better.

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  44. I love your story! Thank you for sharing this. Having breastmilk for your baby will surely make him healthy!

  45. Thanks for sharing these benefits. Indeed, breastfeeding facilitates bonding between the mum and baby. A knowledge giving article and I will definitely going to save them for future reference. Thanks you!

  46. Hi there! That was a great article that I could relate to on so many levels! Feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing and only having my husband’s support was tough but made me appreciate him so much more! I was able to exclusively pump for 6 months until it became too hard on the mental side. I got sick back to back so I had to skip pumps here and there and my supply went down. Fighting with myself about not making enough milk was the most difficult part. I think we make it more difficult by second-guessing ourselves instead of trusting that our bodies know what to do. As difficult as pumping was, every time I look back to what I was able to push through for my son, I am beyond proud of myself. Now that I’m expecting a little girl, I know what to expect and have the tips and tricks that I learned from round 1. Reading your article definitely inspired me even more to breast pump. Thank you!

  47. Hey there! I went through something similar. I had everything ready to go to breast feed. After our baby arrived, my milk did not show up for 16 days. All I got were dribbles/drops for a few weeks. I was the same in the sense that I would not give up and just kept pumping even though lactation consultants were telling me formula would work fine. I even got our baby to latch after 5 weeks and she couldn’t transfer milk even if I made milk. It was crazy how tired I was and even my husband got to a point where he said it is ok if our baby has to have formula and he would say it is ok because you did everything you could. I still didn’t give in. I got more upset and began pumping every 2 hrs even for a minute and then suddenly on that third week my milk came in and my gear doesn’t leak either so I got pretty engorged and had to invest in a better pump to prevent trips to the emergency room from mastitis and severe swelling. I did everything I could and I guess even if you get nothing but drops for weeks-you need to keep going. I had a very long labor (40 hrs) and it was an induction from pre eclampsia and my baby started off in nicu because she did not take her first breath right away. I did not pump for 4 hrs or latch her after she came out from all the exhaustion-but when I came out of that slump I picked up the pumping gear as soon as my marbles came together (haha-I was delirius) and the pumping began and I just never gave up. I tried all sorts of supplements until I found what worked for me. I am now 6 months post partum and am dropping to 3 pumping sessions per day (1 hr per session) and I produce enough milk even if my baby won’t take to solids just yet. I bottlefed that baby breast milk and exclusively pumped after the 5th week post partum and I survived. I did supplement with formula during the first month while my milk came in and it was such a test of patience with cleaning all the gear and having formula ready for when my milk when was not enough and honestly I would not change a thing. I fought hard and I ended up with 50 + oz a day when my supply stabilized at about 9-10 weeks in. Don’t give up! Plenty of moms out there can’t make milk period-like nothing at all so I have been greatful and have donated plenty of milk. It is nice to have so much that I can give to others in need.

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