Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumping pointers...

Probably TMI for moat people... but I think there is a population looking for support.  I know I looked for advise when I first started breast feedong/pumping and had trouble finding it... so here is my two cents.

So let's get down to it. People tell you "breast is best," but what does that really look like in real life.  This post is entitled pumping pointers... But I will probably add some tidbits about my whole breast feeding experience.
First let me say this:
So when we had BD one of the things I was most nervous about was not producing enough milk for her. This is a very real situation for some women. And it is okay... I have a theory... Babies are resilient. I encourage you to try, get help from a lactation consultant, pump while you are trying to figure it out.  Push through the pain, I mean this quite literally. But if you discover you have to supplement, it is okay, and life goes on :).
Now that we have that out of the way...

Getting Started

First of all, I was not one of those moms who had that magical moment, where straight out of the womb baby was breast feeding. So don't worry things can still work out even if this is your experience. I don't know if it was BD or me, but I don't think she ate much for her first 2 days. We kept trying every 2 hours and eventually we got it.
Now, if you are going to pump (or really breast feed in general), the first thing you need to do for the first few months of life is feed on demand. Scheduling mamas out there probably don't want to hear this, but it is usually necessary to pumping success.  Why you ask?  It is all about supply and demand, and when you limit the feeding through scheduling so early it can diminish your supply. But I promise it is not bad.  Even at the beginning I could make a general prediction of how long BD would go between feedings. And now, I would still say I feed on demand, but we have really fallen into a schedule and rarely deviate from it.

Starting to Pump

I found that at first I was feeding BD so often that I did not know when I was going to be able to pump. I  was worried thinking, how will I ever build up a stock (at this point I thought I was going back to work full time). I started by just setting up my pump stuff so it was ready, and after a couple of feedings a day pumping whatever was left. Then at about a month BD transitioned to only feeding off of side each feeding, so then I could pump the other side ( this does not happen for everyone, but works for us). Then I transitioned to pumping before bed and first thing in the morning. Since I am not working full time, I realized I only needed to pump first thing in the morning to get enough milk for BD's bottle, so we moved to that. We have plenty stocked and I pump 1-2 bottles each day. Could I pump more, yes, but it is just not necessary, breast feeding is just so much more convinence than bottle feeding. We try to only give one bottle a day since we can.

Pumping at Work

Now if you are working full time you will have to work it out with your boss or schedule to pump as often as you usually feed your little one, this probably means every 3 hours at the beginning. You might have to get work done while pumping. I know many women who have sat in meetings while pumping or continue to work at their computer. You do what you are comfortable with.... make it work. But if you want to exclusively breast feed, you are going to have to pump often, even at work.

Freezer/Fridge Storage

This was one of the hardest parts for me. Our fridge and freezer were already so full... How was I going to make room. The fridge ended up easier than the freezer. I just designated a small section just for breast milk. I keep less in the fridge, so it takes less room. I usually keep a bowl toward the front for any milk being defrosted... just in case somehow a bag has a hole in it ( this has happened before... no fun).  
As for the freezer, this is where I had soooo much trouble at first.  I can say even with the most organized system, you are going to need some space.  We have a really small freezer and 1/3 of it is breast milk!  That being said, I have devised quite the system.  
I have turned a rubbermaid ice bin on its side.  There I stack breast milk bags laying flat to freeze.  Newest milk goes there.  Once it is full, I rotate them standing up into gallon size bags.  This keeps everything organized by date, so I can make sure to use the oldest first!


This does not have to do with pumping... but I feel it needs to be said.  Just because you are out, does not mean you have to use a bottle.  You can breast feed in public.  The reality is that this is not a weird thing and really needs to be normalized.  Personally, I like to use a cover or blanket even with my wiggly 7 month old.  

When I started pumping, I searched for pointers on getting started, storage, and making it work...I hope  this provides helpful info to someone out there. 


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this! My baby boy turned 1 this past Monday and when he was born I had the hardest time breastfeeding. I wanted to breastfeed SO bad that I was determined to do whatever it took... after many hours of crying, frustration, lactation consultants, nipple shields, nursing pillows, and pumping endlessly IT WORKED! I will remember that moment for the rest of my life!!!! I wish someone had told me to feed on demand - everyone around me said "schedule, schedule, schedule" and I honestly believe that it made my supply diminish. I never had an abundance of milk and one week at work my milk suddenly completed disappeared after I got sick. With my next baby I will certainly feed on demand... I miss that experience so much! It's a beautiful thing :)