I guess you could say that my life these days revolves around that little 'tingle' of a let down. Anyone who has had the pleasure of pumping knows exactly what I'm talking about when I say I have a love/hate relationship with my Medela. Pumping is such a time consuming process but the fruits of my labor is so rewarding in the end. What keeps me going is the pure satisfaction of knowing I'm able to give my son the best nutrients possible except mine is seasoned with a little Dr. Pepper!
I remember back to the very beginning of mommy-hood when my little gremlin was eating every 2.5-3 hours a day and it seemed like such a CHORE to fit in another session to pump. It's still a chore to fit in these pumping sessions, but now this chore happens while I'm at work.
Thankfully at my job we have access to a 'mothers rooms' where you can book it as many times a day as you need and it's a quiet secluded place to get away to pump. Currently on my calendar, I have the room reserved at 10a/1p/4p and I'm able to come home with about 12-14 oz of liquid gold a day.
Below are some tips/tricks/advice that have helped me have a successful pumping experience so far.
Tips, Tricks and Advice
1. Make the time. As hard as it is to get away from the hustle and bustle of work - find 20 minutes or so a few times a day to get away. If you can't get away multiple times a day, try your best to pump in the morning. I'm not sure why, but we produce more milk in the morning than in the afternoon.
2. Find a way. I know not everyone is as fortunate to have dedicated pumping rooms, but if you can't find an open room - sneak away to the restroom or invest in a car adapter.
3. Pack the right supplies. I always have two small Medela bottles with a (correct sized) breastshield, valve and membrane. An extra big bottle with lid to pour the pumped goods in, an extra lid for the small Medela bottle just incase I pump more than what the big bottle can hold, and a freezer bag just in case my memory fails me and I forget the big bottle or extra lid at home. Lastly, all of these items fit nicely into a handheld cooler that snaps on my pump's bag and fits easily in the fridge at work.
4. Don't wash the parts after each pumping session. Fresh breastmilk is good in the fridge for up to 8 days - so the bottle and parts will keep the same way as long as they are stored in the fridge. Most days, I wait until I'm home from work and toss everything in the dishwasher to be cleaned. This means I don't wash anything all day through 3 sessions of pumping and it saves so much time!
5. Wait for that second let down. Usually I spend 20 minutes during each session and if I'm patient I can have two let downs (sometimes even 3) in that time frame. If you find yourself not being able to have a second let down, when you notice the milk is no longer coming ... switch the pump back to the 'quick sucking' speed which usually helps promote that let down. More let downs = more milk.
6. Pull up pictures or videos of your little one while you are pumping. Some say this helps relax you and aids in the let down process. Either way, it helps me miss my little one less and if it helps with the let down thats a bonus.
7. Have a package of oatmeal for breakfast and try to drink as much water as possible. Like I said before - my drink of choice is dr. pepper and I'd drink that all day everyday if I could. But I can't, so I make sure to fill my tumbler full of water as soon as I get to work and I make sure it says full throughout the day. Do what it takes to stay hydrated, preferably with water.
8. If you have your own office, invest in a handsfree bra so you can multi-task and work while pumping.
9. Consider freezing your freshly pumped milk and using your freezer stash for the next days bottles. This is a little more work and costs a little more because you having to invest in more freezer bags, but this way your freezer stash won't get close to expiring. The worst thing ever would be having to throw away frozen milk that you slaved over, all because it had expired.
10. Always double check your outfit prior to leaving the pumping room. Thankfully I haven't had anything happen to prompt this piece of advice, this is just one of my biggest fears. How awful would it be to return to your desk with your cami still pulled down under your bra or your breast pad hanging out the top of your shirt? SO awful!
Hope these helped!!
Working/pumping mamas ...what's worked best for you?