Before I start this, I will tell you that every single woman and baby are different. What worked for me may not work for you, and that’s OK! I think as moms, we can all learn from bits and pieces from everyone. What to do, what works, what not to do etc… So, this is the start of my pumping journey. Just a few tips and hacks I have discovered in the past three months and hopefully one will help you!
When I first found out I was pregnant, I thought so much about breastfeeding. I wasn’t sure I wanted to even do it, let alone do it for a full year! I thought about it on and off for 9 months. I got a pump and some accessories and it sat around until the day Luna came home from the hospital. I honestly didn’t think I would use it that often, and was SO intimidated by it. When my supply came in, it took me weeks before I even thought about the pump. I had zero clue what to do with it, when to use it, and how long to pump. So, I scoured Pinterest, blogs, and YouTube for schedules and how tos.
Eventually, schedules, videos, and blogs landed me with a vast knowledge of information, but also feeling dizzy. I quickly realized I was getting way too overwhelmed with the thought of pumping, therefor staying away from it all together. Well, when you have an impending date to return to work you can’t do that. Here are a few tips and hacks that helped me get over my fear of the pump and what helps me stay organized:
Gather the right supplies (and PLENTY of them)
You are going to go through tons of pump parts/bottles daily. Especially if you are pumping at work or exclusively pumping. I used this pump and so far have loved it. If you purchase this pump it comes with everything you will need (tubing, shields, membranes, etc..) however I recommend getting TONS of back ups. I have probably 10-15 sets of connectors, shields, and membranes and they are all washed and ready to go. I also have a back-up set of tubing just in case and quite a few of these kits. Purchase one of these so you can have the connectors to pump directly into storage bags and then get more bottles and the little vials on an individual basis. *Bottles and vials screw right into the pump!
Organize all of your pumping parts
Being organized is key with pumping. I keep all of my pumping parts organized into drawers at home. One drawer is only for spare parts, one drawer is for spare sanitizing bags, tubes, and membranes that have not been opened yet, and one drawer for parts that have. They are also easily accessible in the kitchen.
Get set up on a schedule
This doesn’t need to be anything specific. I learned that having one time of the day where I definetly am going to be pumping works best for me. If I pump more times that day, great! If not, that’s ok. There is no pressure to do things at a set time. But once my daughter started sleeping through the night, I started getting up at 2:30 A.M to pump. If I make sure I hit this 2:30 A.M time, it helps keep my supply high, as well as keep from engorgement.
Pump for 15-20 Minutes
This was something as a first time pumping mom, I was very unaware of! I would often times in the beginning pump for maybe 5-10 minutes and get 2 ounces and just be done. But over time, and research, I realized the best way to make sure you are getting all foremilk and hindmilk is to pump for at least 15 minutes. During the day (since I pump at work), I always pump for 20 minutes. The middle of the night feeding is usually just 15 minutes so I can scurry back to bed.
Do something relaxing while you are pumping. Pumping is SO hard and time consuming so find something you really look forward to doing while your pumping. I found a Netflix show to binge on while pumping and put it on my cell phone. This gives me something to really look forward to while pumping, instead of just dreading it. Also, have a comfortable spot to pump with a snack or nice pillows or a cushioned seat. Just try to make it as nice for yourself as possible.
Getting pumping and nursing down is really difficult. I am still researching things and trying to find the best way to pump at work. I plan to try a few routines of work pumping and report back to you in a month. So stay tuned for those!