Exclusive expressing…. a year on!

I’ve previously written about my experiences of exclusively expressing for Isla as she couldn’t breastfeed due to her cleft.


Somehow, this week we’ve made it to a year and, rather fittingly, it’s National Breastfeeding Celebration Week. We’ve overcome huge hurdles & donated 100000ml (3520oz) of milk in total this year. So this post are my five top tips for exclusively expressing!

1 – Make sure you have things to make your life easier!
A good double electric pump is essential. I love my Spectra S1 but this website was useful to compare. A hands free pumping bra has meant I can carry on looking after or playing with the girls whilst expressing. Reusable storage bottles save a lot of money as storage bags are expensive. In the recent hot weather, my cool bag has been invaluable in keeping milk at an optimum temperature.

2 – Accept ANY help!
I’m a stickler for being stubbornly independent but I’ve learnt (sometimes the hard way!) that accepting help doesn’t mean I’m not capable or competent. Even ‘little’ things like someone cuddling the baby while you pump is a huge help. And if people want to do the bigger things, let them! There’s no way we would have got this far without the help & support of amazing friends.

My little ‘helper’!


3 – Never stop on a bad day
There have been many, many bad days. Days where I’ve had to choose to pump over cuddling, days where I’ve been very ill with mastitis, days where I haven’t had enough hands to sort both girls & pump, days where I’m fed up of having such a restricted diet. I’ve felt like giving up on many many occasions. But I’ve always said one more pump, one more day and here we are!

4 – Join a Facebook support group
Exclusive pumping is a funny one; a unique situation. So I was pleased to find a few Facebook groups where I could ask questions & get some support on those rubbish days! A few I’ve found useful are Exclusively Pumping UK Mums and Exclusively Pumping for Cleft Cuties. There are also a wealth of online breastfeeding support resources; I particularly like La Leche League & The Breastfeeding Network for evidenced based information.

5 -Set small goals
When I was pregnant, I always aimed to pump until palate repair. But I realised that was quite a challenging goal so I set myself mini goals- 2 weeks, 6 weeks, lip repair, 6 months, palate repair. Each time I hit a goal it felt like a huge achievement & gave me more motivation to keep going. Now we’ve hit 1 year, I’m wondering what my next goal should be?!

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4 thoughts on “Exclusive expressing…. a year on!

Add yours

  1. I read your posts with awe and admiration – your girls are truly blessed to have such an amazing and totally devoted mother.


  2. I have only been exclusively pumping for 7 weeks but I’m hoping to go more than a year thank you for your story


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