My name is Patricia, and chances are if you have filled out the breast pump insurance form online you have probably received at least one email from me. I am the person that calls your insurance, works out what your benefits will be, and lets you know all of your pump options. If the information you receive from me is overwhelming (and I know there is A LOT of it), one of my favorite parts of the job is talking to you and finding out how you will be using your pump and what you will need to successfully breastfeed and pump. I am a Certified Lactation Counselor, so I am able to answer your breastfeeding questions and hopefully be able to help you meet your own breastfeeding goals. I am the mom of two wild, rowdy, crazy, lovable boys ages 5 and 2. Their births and breastfeeding journeys were as different as their personalities, and I feel like that gives me a unique insight into finding out what will work for you.
With my first son I went into the hospital for an incredibly drawn out 3 day induction. He stubbornly stayed high until the doctor said he would give us one more hour and then we would need to get ready for a C-section if he didn’t move – 45 minutes later we were ready to push. I pushed for 2 hours and he stayed stubbornly where he was until the doctor said he would give me 3 more pushes before we would have to introduce the vacuum to help get him out – on the 3rd push he was here. Five years later he is still as stubborn as ever, waiting until the absolute last minute before doing anything you ask of him. He and I had a rough start to breastfeeding, with my milk coming in slowly due to the long induction and he had a tongue-tie that caused a painful latch. I recall sitting on the couch curling my toes in pain when he latched for the first few weeks until my incredible lactation consultant figured out what was wrong and how to fix it. Eventually we settled in and I still smile when I remember the first time I woke up in the rocking chair because there was no pain and we both fell asleep during his nighttime feeding. I nursed at home and pumped while working full time for the entire first year. I became intimately familiar with my pump, using it 4 or more times per day 5 and sometimes 6 days per week for an entire year. I was so glad to put it away when the time came, but I found that as much as I hated pumping, I missed having the time to sit quietly and think about my baby without the outside world interrupting for small periods of time throughout the day. We continued breastfeeding until he was 15 months old, and I cherished the time we spent together.
With my second son I was home alone with my then-3yr old while my husband was out golfing with his buddies when my water broke 6 weeks early. After a scramble to get someone to take the 3 year old we were on our way to the hospital. Just a few short hours and only TWO pushes on ONE contraction our impatient little guy arrived. We were incredibly blessed to have him come into the world pink, healthy and crying. He went to the NICU for observation overnight and got to come back to my room to stay the very next day. We had been prepared by everyone during the delivery to expect an extended stay, but he got to come home right away. My super curious little guy is still always in a hurry to get to the next step. Breastfeeding with my youngest was as different as night and day. He latched like a champ and surprised the LC and the NICU nurses with how vigorously he fed, even though preemie boys tend to be lazy…at 6lbs 14oz, though, he was the largest preemie in the NICU, so that may have had something to do with it! He nursed well and I never experienced the pain that I felt with his big brother, my production was up and I actually donated some milk to a friend that needed a little extra. Everything was going so well, but then…I had a major medical problem that required me to be put on medication that was not considered safe for breastfeeding when my baby was a little over 6 months old. Again, my local breastfeeding support group and circle of friends leapt to action to help me take care of my babies and come to terms with needing to wean early.
I have learned a lot from my breastfeeding journey – how it was supposed to feel when baby was latched correctly, how to laugh at myself (and my baby when he is surprised with milk on his face because he unlatches mid feed), that you can actually pump into a sandwich bag taped to your bottle connectors if you forgot your bottles and milk storage bags at home, how to nurse more discreetly in public without a cover than I ever did with one, how to nurse a toddler while he tries to climb up the back of the couch, and most importantly that there is no such thing as a plan with kids; they keep you guessing pretty much from day one. I have made an effort to gather as much info as possible on all of the breast pumps that I can (even ones we don't carry in our store) in order to help you select the best pump for you. I have worked to become fluent in flange sizing, exclusive pumping, and maintaining supply while pumping as I know that those are not necessarily items of focus for many lactation professionals and it is hard to find good information. I hope to be able to use my knowledge and experiences to help you with any questions you may have about pumping or breastfeeding in general. Please don’t hesitate to ask. I look forward to working with you to help make your breastfeeding and pumping experience a success!