Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Tips for Exclusive Pumping Moms

 Exclusive pumping is a hard job, and it is not one to be undertaken lightly. I definitely didn’t know what I was getting myself into in the beginning. Now, that things are getting a lot easier for me on the pump front—I thought I would share a few of my tips.

FAQ—these are questions that I had when starting my exclusive pumping journey and the answers that I have found that work for me.

Q: How long should I pump?
A: This is really a tricky one because some people prefer to pump a certain amount of time, some have an volume goal they are trying to reach, and some just pump until empty every time. The answer is different depending where you are in your current pumping journey (and I do consider it a journey).
If I am having a hard time with my supply, then I will pump until empty every single time for a few days. This (to me) means at least 15 minutes or up to five minutes after the last drop. You do not want to do this for too long because your nipples will be really sore.
If I am not concerned about my supply and just want to maintain where I am, then I will pump towards a particular volume goal. My current goal at least 6 ounces per pump.
If I have somewhere to go and don’t have as much time, then I may set my phone timer for 15 minutes and then just cut it off. However, I never pump less than 15 minutes. EVER.

Q: How often do I need to pump?
A: this again is based on where you are in your journey with pumping. In the beginning I was pumping 6 times a day because my baby was eating 6 times a day. However, I eventually got to the point where I was producing almost twice what she was taking in a 24 hour period. I was running out of room in my freezer for all the extras and milk was starting to go bad. So, I cut out a pumping. This is where I currently am in my journey. P still has 6 feedings a day, but I only pump 5 times. I am still able to keep up my supply and her demand plus I am able to save about 6 ounces a day.
If you are just starting out, then I would say that you need to pump as often as your baby eats. Keep a notepad near where you pump/feed your baby with two columns on it. One for the number of ounces your baby takes at each feeding, and one for the number or ounces your pump for that feeding. Add the up at the end of the day and see where you stand.

Q: How do I cut out a pumping without affecting my supply?
A: I cut out a pumping by just increasing the amount of time between pumpings. If you are currently pumping every 3 hours, then start pumping every 4 and cut one out that way.

How Can You Make Exclusive Pumping Easier for You?
This is the biggest issue with exclusive pumping—it is inconvenient. One of the hardest things with pumping is that you are tied to a machine with a plug, and it can make it hard for you to get out. For instance, we have a white water rafting trip planned, and I am going to need to go 6 hours without pumping. This is not ideal, but I am going to have to figure out a way to make it work.

Here are the things that I have found to make my life easier while pumping

1.       Get a hands free pumping bra—This saved my life. I am a work from home mom, and when my husband is not home there are times that I have to feed P and pump at the same time in order to be as efficient as possible. I picked up a hands free pumping bra and I will never hold the bottles while pumping again! It allows me to have my hands free to hold P or work while pumping.

2.       Get a car adapter for your pump—I have pumped in the car while driving and while being a passenger more times than that can count on both hands. It makes getting out of the house so much easier. When I have a makeup job, then I pump on the way there, and then on my way home. The adapter saves me from having to pump while I am there! It also makes date night a lot easier.

3.       Get extra pump parts and extra bottles for storage. Getting these extras will just mean that you have to wash less.

4.       Pack your pump bag the night before when you can. It is often a mad dash getting ready to go somewhere in my family. Therefore, I like to pack everything up ahead of time if I can so that I will not forget something important.

5.       Grab some Medela steam bags for quick sterilization for pump and bottle parts.

6.       Get some quick clean wipes for cleaning your pump on the go.

Here is what My schedule with pumping currently looks like

7:00 am—Wake P and feed
8:30—P’s nap
10:00—Wake P and feed
11:30—P’s nap
1:00 pm—Wake P and feed
2:30—P’s nap
4:00—Wake P and feed
5:30—P’s nap
7:00—Wake P and hubby gives P a bottle while I pump
7:45—P’s cereal feeding
8:00—bath time
8:30—P’s bedtime
10:30—Last pumping of the day
11:00-P’s dream feed

I hope that these things help you exclusive pumpers out there! I wish you the best of luck and the most encouragement I can. I know we all need it!

1 comment:

  1. Wake P. Eat. Pump. Nap. Wake P. Eat. Pump. Nap. w3rd