More specifically, having a period because you’re a woman sucks. Not only are there mood swings and cramps to deal with, there’s also my monthly dip in milk production. Time to make some lactation cookies with extra chocolate chips and a cup of Mrs. Patel’s Milk Water Chai Tea. At least my daughter hasn’t seemed to notice. I was with her the past four days on a mini vacation and she’s been more interested in eating off my plate than my chest. Today I went back to work and knew it would be a lower volume day. Although I always note thamy the milk I pump during my period is a little creamier and more fat sticks to the sides of the bottle. I hope showing these pictures encourages you that is OK to have high and low volume days and not get discouraged. Love your body. Love the process. Worry and stress don’t help anything. Keep eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, taking your prenatal vitamins and taking supplements as needed. Happy pumping!
I’m a lactation consultant. I’m also a first time mother. My daughter will be nine months old next week. I went back to work when she was just twelve weeks old. I’ve been pumping since then. No one told me how much work that would actually be. Pumping while at work is literally a full time job in and of itself. For most moms that plan to continue breastfeeding after they go back to work, you need to plan to pump when you would typically feed your baby. Feed the baby or feed the pump. That’s how you keep up supply.
But that can be tricky when you’re working. I try to pump three times in an eight hour shift. Every two and a half to three hours. For ten to twenty minutes depending on my break. I’m typing this over my lunch break as hard plastic suction cups suck on my tender bits. It takes scheduling and planning. Some days are easier than others. Some days the milk flies better than others. The most important thing is to not give up and not get discouraged. In the end the benefits definitely far out weigh the risks. Like reducing my risk of breast cancer. Reducing the risk of allergies, eczema, respiratory and ear infections for my baby. Saving the environment from extra trash. Not to mention saving almost $3000 a year from formula costs. You definitely need to keep your goals and your humor about you to persevere.
This is a comparison of several days. My baby has always had enough. Every once in a while I will pump at night before bed to give me a little extra milk if I have a lower day. As you can see, first pump of the day (on the left) always gives me the highest amount with amounts dropping as the day goes on. That is normal for every mother whether she pumps or nurses.)
what have you found to be most helpful for keeping your supply up while pumping at work? Feel free to comment!!!
- Not only am I a lactation consultant, I am also a full time working mom with an 8-month-old at home. I’m gone around 40-50 hours a week for work and am pumping on the go. At the hospital where I work there is an employee lactation room. Half the time I’m in here by myself and the other half there is another mother behind a curtain pumping with me. It is amazing to see how universal our concerns are with breast-feeding.The number one complaint I hear about from the other side of the curtain is that the mom is “not pumping enough” or “can’t keep up with the baby”. I have never been a super pumper and have always had to really work on my supply. It is amazing to me how from day today, pumping to pumping, I can get varying amounts of milk. It’s depends on my stress level, what I’ve eaten, how much water I’ve been able to get in, and how often I can get away to pump during my shift. Pumping is also very psychological. It’s honestly hard to “feed a machine” instead of my baby, but the more I look at pictures and videos of her or FaceTime with her while pumping, the more I tend to make. Here are the top tips I give to the other moms pumping at work:
1. Shake the girls. Give your breasts a good shake before each pumping session. This wakes up the breast and helps release hind milk from the back of the breast.
2. Use the stimulation and let down modes on your pump more often. Use the stimulation mode for 2 minutes followed by the let down mode for 4 minutes. Go back to the stimulation mode for another 2 minutes followed by the let down mode for another 4. Do this up to 4 times in your pumping session to see an increase in your milk. Massaging your breast from top to bottom in a clock wise motion will also help empty the breast. End your pumping session with a few minutes of hand expression.
3. Keep well hydrated. Water water water!!!
4. If you feel like you did not pump enough during the day at work, add in an extra pumping at night before you go to bed. Keep this extra pumping going even if your home with your baby for the weekend. You can stock up this milk in your freezer for those occasional days where you don’t pump enough on your shift.
For more tips and tricks, feel free to give me a call, attend one of my working mother classes, or schedule a personalized consultation!