Tuesday, July 2, 2013

We're Here to PUMP You Up! (Pumping Tips)

A pumping update is here.

Oh Hanz and Franz, if only you could really help me!

During my maternity leave, I had a specific idea of what pumping would be like at work. Here is what I thought: I would pump about three times a day and get a bounty full of milk that would be just the amount that I would need to give to the daycare provider the next day for Ben to consume. Oh hell! There would even be some leftover that I could store for use in the future!

Cut to my first day back at work and the sound of a record screeching to a halt. I pumped three times and got a total of 9 oz. Meanwhile, Ben drank every single ounce I sent with him to daycare (15 oz.), and the provider wanted more for him the next day. I FREAKED OUT.

I started work on a Friday. So that Monday, I pumped at work 5 times and got 14.5 oz. Better. Tuesday was even better - I pumped 4 times and got about 15 oz. It has been up and down (mostly down) since then. No day have I pumped what he has consumed. What the what? During maternity leave I would pump once per day in the morning about a half hour or so after his morning feed and would get anywhere from 1 to 4 oz. The handful of times that I pumped in place of a feeding, I would easily get about 4 oz. So, pumping at work as been a rude awakening.

Here are the tips I have been trying to increase my supply.*
  • Relaxxxxxxxing. Not easy to do when I am constantly stressed about if I am producing enough. Sometimes I use my hooter hider to just cover up while pumping so I don't look down.
  • Fenugreek Supplements - Jury is still out on whether this is helping.
  • Warm Gel Pads - I put these on to help with let down occasionally. I thought they helped at first, but now I don't really see a difference.
  • Higher Suction - I crank it up way more than I did at home during my mat leave. I *think* this helps.
  • Replaced Membranes - Those little white doo-dads in your pump parts. I think this may have helped. I plan to do this at least every month or maybe more.
  • Water. I drink it.
  • Oatmeal - I already eat an oat granola bar for breakfast every morning. I decided to use this as an excuse to make a big batch of oatmeal cookies and pig out on them last weekend.
  • Massage. Picture me squeezing the gals like a cow udder. Not cool. This definitely makes more come out towards the end, but not for a long time. Plus, come on! I just don't want to have to do this. I got a hands free pumping bra so that I could just go about my business. I can't be squeezing myself the whole time.
Right now I am supplementing the difference each day with frozen milk from my freezer stash or from milk I have pumped at night/over the weekend. I'm trying to be at peace with the fact that I will probably have to supplement with formula when the freezer stash runs out. I think that will probably be next month. This makes me pretty sad, because breastfeeding was going so well when Ben and I were together. If I would have stayed at home, I feel like I could have easily met my loose goal of breastfeeding without supplementing for a year.

Currently, Ben is getting three 6 oz. bottles at daycare. 6 ounces sounded like a lot to me, but that is where we landed. I also give a back up fourth bottle of 4 oz. I have only been back at work for about 7 workdays, but I feel like my production ranges from 10 oz. to 15 oz. I hope it increases!

*As a side note, I hate the word "supply" in reference to my production of breast milk, but I have nothing else to call it. It just makes me feel like a boat down at the proverbial docks doling out boxes of imports or something. I can't really put my finger on it, but it's icky.

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