Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

The Reality of Breast-Pumping

on June 29, 2014

One of the reviewers for Early Daze wondered if it was realistic to have Jess hand-expressing in the early days after Samantha was born.  I can promise you that it is.  Although fortunately I didn’t have milk-production issues, all the rest of Jess’ pumping journey is drawn from personal experience.  Of course, there’s likely to be variation between hospitals and countries in what happens, but this is how it went for me:

Knitted boobOn the day my daughter was born, one of the nurses brought round an instruction sheet and a knitted boob to show me how to massage my breasts.  Basically, you knead them.  You make a fist, press down and move your hand from your chest to your nipple all around the breast.  Then you form a circle with your hands (thumbs and first fingers touching), put that over your breast with the nipple area exposed and squeeze.  Milk comes out of the nipple and you do indeed pick it up with an oral syringe.  In the first days after birth, you make only a tiny amount of very concentrated milk known as colostrum, so this is a viable method.  After a day or two, you move on to an actual breast pump.  You can get manual, or electric ones like Jess uses in the book.

The candy floss milk?  Fact.  Apparently it’s quite safe for babies to drink, however much it freaks out the mother.  The Fenugreek smell?  Fact.  And it really does affect your urine as well.  I had a damaged nipple, a nipple infection and mastitis (twice).

In terms of research, you can’t mess with Early Daze.  While it may not be that way for every mother, it was for this one.

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