We are in our 9th month of breastfeeding here and still going pretty strong. Of course we have had some ups and downs throughout this journey but overall everything is going well…
I have been back to work for 4 months now and have developed quite the knack for pumping… So I thought I would share some of the things I have learnt with you.
(Yes, learnt is a word. Yes, I have had this discussion quite a few times. Yes, I used it frequently.)
1. Invest in a nice double electric pump - I feel like this is a no brainer. Having to use a manual pump day after day. No thanks!
2. Have 2 sets of pump parts - I started back to work with one complete set of pump parts, some spare tubes, extra membranes and a bunch of bottles. Each night/next morning either Neil or I (who am I kidding, it was mostly always Neil) had to disassemble, wash and reassemble the pump parts. When Reid was in the hospital, I was given a set of pump parts to use with their hospital grade pump. Lucky for me, everything would work with my pump too. Score! Extra set of parts for me. Let me tell you… Having two sets of parts is like heaven. Now we do not need to (and usually do not) wash dishes and parts each night.
3. Prepare as much as you can the night before - We always try to have the parts washed the night before and at least drying on the rack when we head to bed.
4. Don’t wash your pump parts between sessions in a work day - I work at a small manufacturing company that resides in 2 twin houses… There is no kitchen, there is no sink other than that in the restroom… The place gets cleaned once a week. I am not comfortable using that sink to wash and clean things that are going to touch my babies milk. No thanks! I start out the day with clean parts, pump once, store the milk in a bottle, wipe the flanges, connect a second set of bottles and pop everything back into the cooler.
5. Bring a cooler - I actually am using an insulated lunch bag as my cooler with a reusable ice pack made to fit around soda cans. I keep my pumped milk and parts in the cooler for the entire day. It was easier than storing the milk in the fridge (we do have a small common fridge for all 20+ of us). I was afraid someone would get into it or I would forget it. The lunch box next to my desk works great.
6. Have a freezer stash - I went back to work with an awesome freezer stash… 1000+ oz… Yes, I was crazy. Is that much necessary? No. We had some issues early off where Reid refused to nurse for about a week and I was exclusively pumping. I realized at that point, once I was pumping for entire feedings I was not going to keep up with him for long.
7. Drink - Water that is. Drink lot’s of it. I think I pee more now that I did when I was pregnant.
8. Don’t worry so much - I found that if I worry about the amount of milk I am producing, it just makes it worse. So now I just go with the flow.
There you have it. My tips for the breastfeeding/working/pumping/do it all momma.