Of all the plethora of information I got from others during my pregnancy, the most prevalent words were, “breastfeeding is the hardest thing you will ever do.” I believed everyone, but I also had a secret fantasy that it would come miraculously easy for me. I enjoyed fantasizing about the amazing bond it would create between my baby girl and I as I snuggled her to my breast, complete with perfect skin and flowing hair. Things did not turn out exactly as planned.
With her being 8 weeks early and me ending up with a c-section, the odds of my milk coming in well were not great. Because Zoya was so tiny, the work of getting milk from the breast would actually take more calories from her than she would gain. When she was stabilized, I could only put her to breast for about ten minutes so as not to exhaust her.
A week after Zoya came home, her pediatrician gave the green light for us to try to extend our nursing sessions. However, by that time, all the bottle feeding we did in the NICU had taken hold. She realized it was much easier to extract milk from the bottle than from my breast. Every trial at a nursing session was anxiety ridden as I tried to get her to latch while she was wailing and falling off repeatedly. The girl was hungry! When we did manage a good latch, I spent a lot of time wondering if she was actually drawing out milk or just sucking for comfort. During a time when weight gain was crucial, the idea that she may not be getting any food was terrible. Needless to say, I realized I could not breast feed exactly as I had pictured.
But I could pump. I started pumping a few hours after delivery. Every 3 hours, round the clock, I hooked up the machine and watched as my body created food for my child. I brought a cooler of milk with me every night when Vlad and I went to visit Zoya in the NICU until the nurses finally told us to stop because they were running out of fridge space. Then we bought a deep freezer and I began building a stash for later.
Before this journey, I only knew of two ways of feeding a baby – breastfeeding and formula feeding. My situation opened my eyes up to the entirety new world of exclusively pumping. After a few weeks of struggle and anxiety over trying to get Zoya to latch and eat well at home, I made the decision to exclusively pump. I loved the idea that I could still give her my milk in a way that was acceptable to her while being certain of exactly how much she was eating.
Exclusively pumping is a full time job. I have so much respect for all the mommas out there who choose to do this. Establishing supply in the first 12 weeks is crucial so you have to commit to regular pumping sessions and work them in amidst taking care of an infant. Vlad was extremely helpful in feeding Zoya simultaneously as I pumped when he was home. However, when he went to work I was on my own. Every time I fed her and got her to sleep I wished I could take a nap too…but most of the time I couldn’t because I needed to pump, to wash pump parts or a dozen other pumping related tasks. Thank God for whoever invented hands free pumping bras, because if it wasn’t for those, I would be lost forever!
Now, I’m over 16 weeks into it and I have settled into a routine. I tote around a giant bag with my on-the-go pump and express wherever I need to – the store, work, most often in my car. I’m always trolling the internet for pumping hacks and gadgets. It’s become a way of life.
That’s why I was so excited to learn about the Moxxly Flow Kit and even more thrilled when they sent me one to try and tell you guys about.
The Kit is comprised of bottles and tubing and is designed to hook into your existing pump motor. This includes the Medela Pump In Style Advanced (my on-the-go pump), Medela Symphony, Hygiea Enjoye, Freemie Freedom and, most recently, the Spectra S1/S2/S9 (cue the fireworks as the S2 is my at home workhorse pump). It is designed to give pumping moms a hands free and discreet experience.
After receiving my kit in the mail, I eagerly opened it, sanitized all my parts and have been trying it out for the past two weeks. Here’s what I’m absolutely loving:
- You can wear a regular bra! Yes that’s right ladies. When I read about this tidbit I just about screamed from joy. You can ditch that frumpy nursing bra and enjoy looking fine again as long as the bra you choose has some give in the band and is sans underwire (as recommended on the Moxxly site). All you do is slip the flange and attached bottle under the band of your bra, align with your nipple and pump away. The band of your bra holds everything in place. As soon as I got my Flow Kit, I went shopping for some cute lacy numbers and it bumped my confidence level way up.
- Pumping can be done in public…privately. Because of the way the Flow Kit is worn (once again, under a regular bra) a flowy tunic or t-shirt can easily be worn over the whole contraption. The tubing will run out of the bottom of your shirt and to the pump. I can easily walk around with my Medela PISA in a tote bag, running via battery pack, and pump. No one will note two tiny tubes..and they are totally concealable between the tote and my body. This means I don’t have to hide in a bathroom or a mother’s lounge if I’m pumping on the go. Confession: on Friday while driving home from work and pumping simultaneously I went through a Starbucks drive through and no one batted an eye.
- Set up in a snap. It is so easy to put the parts together and start using. The valve snaps onto the 5oz collection bottles and the flange screws in on top. The tubing is also easy to figure out even if you are too impatient/excited to start using and don’t read directions fully (aka me). I pump and drive to and from work to save time. With my conventional hands-free pump bra system, I would have to take down my nursing bra, put on my pumping bra, then hook everything up and begin. With the Flow Kit, I am hooked up and ready to go in a minute (yes, I timed it) and I didn’t flash the mailman in the process.
- Feed & Pump. Prior to this, feeding Zoya and pumping simultaneously was a non starter. Not only would she wail like a siren as I fumbled with the hookup, the bottles and flanges would constantly get in the way. She would end up pulling and unhooking the tubing several times throughout the feed. Because the Flow Kit is tucked away inside of my shirt, I can relax knowing that our time saving pump & feed sesh isn’t going to turn into a messy meltdown.
- Feeling the love. I am huge on customer service anywhere I go. A restaurant can have the most amazing food but if the waiter was mediocre I likely will not be back. Moxxly is like the opposite of the mediocre waiter. They employ women who are passionate about supporting moms wherever they are in their pumping journey. Communication was super easy and I was assured that they are here for me if I needed to troubleshoot my Flow Kit or had any additional questions. I felt genuine warmth and care for me not only as a consumer of their product but also as a mother. And hey, we all need a little support.
A few notes…
- Like everything in life, there is definitely a learning curve. It takes practice to align the flanges correctly and comfortably. Once you figure it out though, the rest is smooth sailing.
- I’m happy to report that my supply did not fluctuate with the new flanges. This is great and the beauty of Moxxly Flow – functionality of the kit while still being able to harness the power of a great pump.
The Moxxly Flow Kit is available here for $79.99. It is a worthwhile investment for any mom on the go and definitely anyone who is exclusively pumping.
My current goal is to get Z to 6 months and I am more than halfway there!
Thanks for letting me share my experience with you guys. Please do contact me with any questions on the Moxxly Flow or pumping in general – I have done my homework and can now employ a consultancy fee (I kid, I kid.)
Your favorite Mother Pumper