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Secrets to Working and Pumping
When I had my first child I wasn’t planning on going back to work. I suddenly had to go back to work when I was three months old. I was completely unprepared and my son went from an exclusively breastfed baby to a primarily formula baby in a short amount of time. I learned a lot from my experience with him and was much more prepared when I had my daughter. I was able to breastfeed her exclusively and work full time. Because of what I went through, the emotions of trying to get enough milk for the next day, I wanted to collect all my tips and write them down for others to use. I hope you find these tips helpful.
1. Plan ahead if possible. Get a freezer supply before you go back to work.
2. Don’t just pump at work. Pump at home on your days off and before and after work.
3. Pump while breastfeeding. Pump on one side while nursing on the other.
4. Find a good place to pump, where you feel comfortable and can relax.
5. Make sure everyone at work knows how important breastfeeding is and doesn’t interrupt you.
6. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Drink a large glass of water about an hour before you go to pump.
7. Use a good quality double extractor like the Ameda Purely Yours.
8. If your supply is dwindling, rent a hospital-grade pump.
9. Find other breastfeeding and weaning moms to talk to.
10. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t pump a large volume at once. Most moms pump around three oz per pump.
11. Pump frequently. Pumping frequently is more important than how often you pump.
12. Try to pump at least every three hours.
13. Pumping is NOT as efficient as nursing. Don’t measure your milk supply by how much you pump. Your baby will get more milk from breastfeeding than from pumping.
14. Before nursing, relax and give your breasts a quick massage. This will help you get a better disappointment.
15. Every time you give your baby a bottle, make sure to pump instead.
16. Nurse frequently at night or try cycling backwards. Reverse cycling is when the baby nurses more at night than during the day.
17. Sleep with the baby if you’re comfortable so he can nurse more at night. Nursing at night will help your supply.
18. Try drinking breast milk tea.
19. Eat a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Oatmeal is very good for increasing milk supply.
20. Avoid giving the baby a bottle before three weeks.
21. Use a slow flow nipple for bottles.
22. Find a day care provider who is supportive of breastfeeding. An untrained childcare provider can sabotage your success.
23. Take fenugreek or blessed thistle
24. If you need to supplement when you are at home, use a Supplemental Nursing System.
25. Don’t assume that because the baby is fussing it’s your supply. Many times, the baby will be upset for other reasons.
26. When preparing bottles for the nursery, store them in three oz portions. Your baby will likely only need three oz at a time. If you need more up to four.
27. Send small 2oz bottles of breast milk to the daycare provider to give to the baby if you will be picking him up early. This way, the baby will be ready to nurse when you bring him home.
28. Nurse on your lunch break if you can.
29. Take a picture of the baby with you at work. Watch your baby when you pump. It will help you with your disappointment.
30. Bring in a nurse. On the weekend, spend the entire weekend in bed with your baby and relieve as often as you can.
31. During the pumping session, take a break when the milk stops flowing. Massage your chest and use nipple stimulation to go down for a second. You’ll usually get another oz or so if you can get a second down.
32. Cut back on caffeine. Caffeine will hamper your supply
33. Don’t go on extreme diets. Eat a healthy diet.
34. Contact a La Leche League leader or lactation consultant for advice.
35. Avoid using bottles and pacifiers when you are at home.
36. Try to switch nurses when you’re at home. Nurse on one side and then switch to the other when baby seems to be getting fussy. Switch sides two or three times while nursing.
37. Remember all the benefits your baby is getting and that they are worth it!
38. Keep the pump pre-mounted so you can take shorter pumping breaks.
39. If you use a pump with horns, put them in a Ziploc bag and store them in the freezer between pumps. That way, you can just wash them when you get home.
40. If you can, do procedures while pumping. This way you can have more pumping breaks and you will relax more if you are not focused on pumping.
41. Don’t look at the bomb. Looking at the pump while looking at the milk will make the session more stressful.
42. Adjust the suction controls, experiment with speed and suction until you find what works best for you.
43. Keep spare parts available for your pump so you don’t have an emergency.
44. If you have a hands-free pump like the Whispering Garment, try pumping it in the unit to work.
45. Massage your breasts while pulling.
46. Bomb in the morning. Your supply is best in the morning.
47. Wear a baby blanket or baby-smelling piece of clothing. Use your senses to visualize your baby.
48. Close your eyes and imagine yourself breastfeeding.
49. Keep a backup pump at work or in the car in case you forget. The Avent Isis is affordable and a great pump to have as a backup.
50. Give yourself a pat on the back for giving your baby the best!
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