Pump with Purpose CEO Dr. Dianna Dixon: Empowering Mamas to Take Control of Their Journey
Dr. Dianna Dixon had two under age two when the global pandemic began. Through her commitment to exclusive pumping, the Pump with Purpose CEO and Breast Pumping Expert was able to exclusively pump for three years and was inspired to help others on that journey. She shares how we can better support mothers on their pumping journey, empowers us as mothers with the reminder that pumping is indeed still breastfeeding, and gives us confidence to take ownership in the uniqueness of our own motherhood journey.
Dianna, tell us about your pumping and motherhood journey:
In the early days of the newborn/postpartum fog with my first son, I dealt with my fair share of "mom guilt." Direct breastfeeding just wasn't in the cards for me, despite repeated efforts and interventions. The societal pressure of nursing my baby had me in tears. I began to realize the importance of becoming the mother I wanted to be for my child and learned to tune out the rest of the world trying to influence my identity as a mother. I knew pumping was working for me and despite the naysayers, it is still breastfeeding.
I went back to my office job at four months postpartum, with my pump bag and a new sense of confidence. I was finding my footing in the new realm of motherhood all while moving up the corporate ladder. At nine months postpartum, I had 3,000 ounces of breastmilk saved! This allowed me to reach my goal of providing enough breastmilk for my son to reach his first birthday. Being the ambitious person I am, for my second son, my goal was to tandem pump. There I was yet again, four months postpartum returning to work. Except this time I had two children under the age of two, and the world was shutting down due to a global pandemic.
Life is filled with ups and downs. Reflecting on my journey to motherhood and my pumping journey I'm filled with pride and joy. I'm very proud of my dedication to pumping! I was able to pump for both of my sons for three years and still have extra milk to establish a freezer stash.
I founded Pump with Purpose to provide pumping education and empowerment. It's unfortunate when you realize how many lactation professionals have little-to-no education on breast pumps. I want families to reach their breastfeeding goals via pumping and encourage everyone to take control of their journey.
What are the stereotypes around moms pumping that you have come across, and how can moms overcome them?
Unfortunately there are a lot of stereotypes, misconceptions and outright misinformation when it comes to pumping . My clients have shared some of the things they've heard and all of them are false. The ones I hear most frequently are “pumping isn't breastfeeding,” “the milk loses nutrients because of the pump,” “baby needs to be at breast for milk to change,” “pumping is painful,” “pumping will always lead to an oversupply which causes mastitis,” and “pumping isn't a long term solution.” I help educate and empower my community, so they can educate the folks telling them these inaccuracies. I'm living proof that pumping can be sustainable and milk can change without bringing your baby to breast. I never had mastitis and pumping isn't painful.
What advice do you have for moms on how to prioritize self-love, especially in the early days of motherhood?
To the newly postpartum moms, please take care of yourself. I know it's easier said than done but truly, be vulnerable, and ask for help. There is no shame in seeking assistance, whether it's relying on your loved ones to support you during this fragile time or bringing up concerns to your doctor. Seek a second opinion if you need to, because I cannot stress enough preventive care is better than reactive care.
Also, please remember you don't need to let society pressure you into making certain decisions.You have a right to raise and feed your child in a way that works for you. Don't let anyone make you doubt yourself; choose what is best for you and your family.
What advice would you give mamas that you wish you had as a new mom?
My advice for new moms is to “find your voice so you can find your peace.” Parenthood changes us to our core. Embrace this new version of yourself and voice your concerns or needs. Not everyone is a mind reader so it's best to speak up for yourself.
It may take a bit to adjust to this new situation, your new body, new identity and responsibility, and it's ok to mourn your pre-motherhood life. Please take a moment to embrace the person you're becoming.
This is why I started my lactation private practice: to be able to help moms prioritize themselves, not give up on breastfeeding, stop breastfeeding when they are ready, and realize that pumping is still breastfeeding.
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