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Secrets to Working and Pumping
When I had my first son, I hadn’t planned on going back to work. I suddenly had to go back into the workforce when he was three months old. I was totally unprepared and my son went from being an exclusively breastfed baby to a 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 pump enough milk for the next day, I wanted to gather 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 are 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’re going to pump.
7. Use a good quality double breast pump like Ameda Purely Yours.
8. If your supply is low, rent a hospital-grade pump.
9. Find other moms to talk to who are breastfeeding and pumping.
10. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t pump a large volume at once. Most mothers pump about 3 oz per pump.
11. Pump often. Pumping often is more important than how long you pump.
12. Try to pump at least every three hours.
13. Pumping is NOT as effective as nursing. Don’t measure your milk supply by how much you pump. Your baby will get more milk from breastfeeding than you will from pumping.
14. Before breastfeeding, relax and give a quick breast massage. This will help you get frustrated better.
15. Every time you give your baby a bottle, make sure to pump it in place.
16. Nurse often at night or try reverse cycling. Reverse cycling is when the baby nurses more at night than during the day.
17. Co-sleep with the baby if you feel comfortable so he can nurse more at night. Nursing at night will help your supply.
18. Try drinking Mothers Milk tea.
19. Eat a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Oatmeal is really good for boosting milk supply.
20. Avoid feeding the baby a bottle before he is three weeks old.
21. Use a slow flow nipple for your bottles.
22. Find a daycare provider who is supportive of breastfeeding. An uneducated daycare provider can sabotage your success.
23. Take Fenugreek or Blessed Thistle
24. If you need a supplement when you are at home, use a Supplemental Nursing System.
25. Don’t assume baby fuss is your supply. Many times the baby will fuss for other reasons.
26. When preparing bottles for day care, store them in three-ounce portions. Your baby will probably only need three ounces at a time. If more are needed, up to four.
27. Send small 2-ounce bottles of breast milk to the day care provider to give to the baby if you’re due soon. This way the baby will be ready to nurse when you get them home.
28. Nurse on your lunch break if you can.
29. Take a picture of the baby with you at work. Look at your baby when you pump. It will help you with your frustration.
30. Put a nurse in. On the weekend spend the whole weekend in bed with your baby and breastfeed as often as you can.
31. During pumping, take a break when your milk stops flowing. Massage your breasts and use nipple stimulation to let you down. You’ll usually get another ounce or so if you can down a second.
32. Cut back on caffeine. Caffeine will block 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 changing nursing when you’re home. Nurse on one side, then switch to the other when baby seems to be fussy. Switch sides two or three times while nursing.
37. Remind yourself that all the benefits your baby is getting are worth it!
38. Keep your pump pre-assembled so you can keep pumping breaks shorter.
39. If you 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 paperwork while pumping. This way you can have more pumping breaks and you will relax more if you are not concentrating on pumping.
41. Don’t mind the pump. Staring at the pump while watching for milk will make your 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 readily available for your pump so you don’t have an emergency.
44. If you have a hands free pump like whisperwear, try pumping the drive to get it to work.
45. Massage your breasts while pumping.
46. Pump in the morning. Your offer is better in the morning.
47. Bring a baby blanket or baby-smelling outfit. Use your senses to visualize your baby.
48. Close your eyes and picture the baby nursing.
49. Keep a spare pump at work or in your car in case you forget. The Avent Isis is affordable and a great backup pump.
50. Pat yourself on the back for giving your baby the best!
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