Hi there! Happy Wednesday!
Last week I shared What I Eat In A Day and How I Increase My Milk Supply and I was thrilled once again that people were interested to hear more about my pumping schedule and tips. This post is mostly about pumping and not breastfeeding itself. Once again, I am not a doctor or a lactation consultant, these are just my own opinions and what has worked for me.
*Note: I love breastfeeding but I absolutely understand that not everyone can or wants to breastfeed and I am totally okay with that!! My middle child, Connor, had some pumped breastmilk but was unable to breastfeed. : )
My Breast Pump:
I use a Medela Pump In Style Advance and love it! I bought it when my daughter was born in April 2011 and am once again using it. I also have a manual hand pump for car trips, or when I don’t want to lug out the big electric pump. I really liked having a manual pump when he would only eat on one side during a session instead of eating on both when he was a newborn but my other side needed some relief from engorgment.
Obviously you need to wash the bottles and pump flange/breast shield, but you also should replace the membranes of your pump! I have had issues not pumping as much and just replacing the membranes makes a huge difference! You can buy them online, at medical supply stores, or at Target for only a few dollars for several of them in one pack. Also, be sure to replace your pump tubing every once in awhile, I have also noticed a great difference with that! I also let my pump run for a minute or so after each pumping session so that the tubing stays clear. You *can* clean it yourself with rubbing alcohol, which I did once following an online tutorial, but it was a huge hassle and it’s much easier to let the pump run to keep them clear and then replace them every so often in my opinion.
Initally, if your baby has a hard time nursing at first, PUMP AS MUCH AS YOU CAN! It is exhausting and a pain in the butt, but it will make a huge difference in the long run. I was very lucky with Logan because he latched on right away, and I think that is largely do to the fact that I knew what I was doing this time. So, with Logan, I have only pumped once a day from the beginning. Hailey had a very hard time breastfeeding for the first several weeks, and I would say we didn’t have it down completely until 6-8 weeks. So, with Hailey I pumped several times a day those first few weeks to establish a supply.
Once you and your baby have established a routine decide when and how often you want to pump. With Hailey I pumped every single night after she had eaten and every single morning after her first feed. Now, because Logan is such a good eater and because with 3 kids under 4 is a lot busier than just 1 kiddo, I pump only in the mornings BUT I pump Every.Single.Morning. Ideally you should pump at a time when you want your body to produce more milk because your body will start to produce when your baby nurses or when you pump on a regular basis. Try to stick to a similar window of time that you pump each day if possible. I wake up every day at 5:30 to feed Logan and then I have coffee and get ready and by 6:30 or 7 I am pumping. I often pump while doing my makeup 🙂 See below for information on a hands-free-pumping-bra a.k.a a lifesaver!
I don’t suggest using one of these right away, because at first you’re still getting used to pumping, and sometimes need to read, watch tv, or look at a picture of your baby so you are able to relax. I even downloaded some free relaxation apps to listen to although I typically just watched tv. Once you are comfortable pumping, I definitely suggest making or buying a hands-free-pumping-bra. I have this one and I love it! Even if I am just sitting watching tv when I pump, I can wear it and eat breakfast, drink my coffee, or even type a blog post ; ) I am not pumping right now, but I could be! haha : )
I had never “power pumped” until I switched up my diet with Logan too suddenly and my breastmilk supply plummeted. Power pumping is a technique that is used to trick the body into releasing more prolactin which is the same as when a baby goes through a growth spurt and wants to eat more often or cluster feed. Power pumping will tell your body that you need more milk! I used this website to help me power pump and it absolutely worked! I pumped from 6:30a.m to 7:30a.m for 5 days in a row and I saw results in 3 or 4 days.
To power pump, pick one hour each day or night and pump using this routine:
Pump for 20
Rest for 10
Pump for 10
Rest for 10
Pump for 10
This provides 40 minutes of pumping in an hour. It is not as awful as it sounds because during the “rest” periods I would go get breakfast for the kids, switch a load of laundry, etc so I wasn’t just sitting…I am not good at just sitting ; )
Breast Milk Storage:
This is definitely a matter of preference! I love my Lansinoh breastmilk storage bags, but I know other people love other brands. I have heard great things about the bags made by the Up and Up brand from Target as well. I store my milk in 4 oz bags with the occasional 2 oz bag for when baby is very young or for when the baby is older and may need 6 oz (this way you don’t throw away good milk by combining 4 oz bags and potentially having extra). I freeze my breastmilk flat and then use boxes to store by date starting with the oldest milk so that is what gets used first. We purchased a deep freezer chest when I was breastfeeding Hailey because I pumped SO much breast milk. Hailey was weaned by 13 or 14 months, but she had breastmilk daily (along with cows milk) until 18 months because I had pumped so much.
Breastfeeding Supplements and Diet:
If you have questions about any of the supplements I take please see this post where I explain what I use, and if you have further questions or want to know something specific please ask in the comments!! : )
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