Thursday, August 18, 2011


Pump-a-thon is the perfect title for this post!  When I think about running a marathon (or actually think about my friends that have run marathons because I, most definitely, have not), I think about goal setting, commitment, time management, exhaustion, preparation and calorie burn. 

ALL of these things directly relate to pumping and going back to work.

WARNING:  I have given this warning before, but if nursing at all weirds you out.  Do not continue reading.

When I began nursing, I set a goal of 4-6 months.   I lasted 4.5…BARELY made the goal.  I am happy to share my experience…what I thought worked, what didn’t, and what I will do differently next time.  I touched on this briefly in my Liquid Gold and Billy Madison posts so please you those as a reference as well.


Things I did right:

  • I used the Medela pump and thought it was great.  No complaints.  If you are planning to go back to work, the manual pump just won’t cut it.  You must have the electric one.  To justify the price…it will cost less than you would have to spend on formula in the long run.  As a cost cutting suggestion, put the pump on your registry.  You will most likely not get it because it is expensive and is a pretty awkward gift to give.  BUT when you close out your registry at most places, you receive a discount.  Be sure to buy your pump at that time to take advantage.

  • You will need more than the 4 bottles that are included when you purchase a Medela Pump. 

  • Use the Micro Steam Bags to quickly clean your pump accessories.

·    Buy some freezer bags for storage.  They sell a few different kinds, but I used the Lansinoh ones. One of my friend’s husbands said they freaked him out when he opened their freezer and had to read “My Mommy’s Milk” every time.  I have to agree with him on that, but they did get the job done.

·    Be sure to get out your pump, figure out how it works and have it charged before you plan on using it for the first time.  It will be painful for you if you are not prepared and have to wait for the pump to charge.

·    A few helpful suggestions on how to start pumping that I read that rang true for me…wait an hour after the first morning feeding to work in the daily pump session because your production is typically lower in the afternoon.  (If you have not introduced the bottle to your baby yet, just pump once a day)  

What I did wrong:

·    I started pumping at 8 weeks periodically.  Next time, I will start around 6 weeks and make sure to do it daily.  I would do it randomly thinking I would have plenty stored up before I went back to work.  FALSE!

·    Try your best not to use the freezer supply before you return to work.  I was careless with them because, again, I thought storing up would be easy.

·    Store 2-3 ounces in each bag.  Once you thaw it out, you are not supposed to refreeze it and are forced to throw it out.  I made this mistake the first few bags by putting 4 ounces in a bag.  It took no time at all to thaw out 2 ounces at a time.  I would run the bags under warm water for a minute or so.  Ask your doctor about further suggestions on how best to thaw out frozen milk...for example, microwaving is not recommended because it creates hot pockets that could burst in your baby's mouth.

Please speak up with other suggestions if you made mistakes when stocking up.  Look for another post about what I did when the time came to head back to work.


Emily said...

I love your post! This will be so helpful.

A few Hicks said...

Here's a few things I did:

1. I got the converter kit for Avent bottles so that I could pump 2-3 times in one set of bottles (Avent bottles are much larger than Medela). This saved time when baby needed to eat immediately, saved cleaning and also saved storage space when I was transporting milk back and forth to work.

2. I pumped for the first time when baby was only about 5 days old. Once baby would sleep longer periods, I would pump right before bed and then first thing in the AM. I was essentially tricking my boobs into an extra feeding. This was great for filling the freezer!

3. Instead of saving 2-3 ounces in each bag, I saved all sorts of amounts. Sometimes 2-3, next time 4-5, etc. When it came time to unfreeze, I could always do the math to figure out how much I would need. I never wasted any.

4. I kept an inventory. Every time I pumped and baby wasn't needing it right away, I would put it in the freezer bag (labeled) and add it to my inventory on the fridge. It was like a trophy - when I had a full gallon in the freezer, I did a victory lap! This helped me use the oldest first and also keep track of amounts (when I went to unfreeze). I also knew how long the milk would last once I stopped pumping.

I took it a step further by then placing the frozen milk in larger ziploc bags with the date range labeled on the front. I just had a lot in the freezer, so this helped me stay organized.

5. Do NOT pump directly into a bag. It is not an accurage measure and you'll save a little washing in exchange for a headache for when you refreeze. BAD IDEA!

6. Alcohol - I never tried this because I learned it too late, but it makes sense. After consuming alcohol, I would "pump and dump" so that baby didn't get drunk! Well after I stopped nursing, I learned that you could pump and DILUTE! It makes sense that you could water down alcoholic breast milk with non-alcoholic breast milk, then freeze it. After learning this, I almost cried over all the milk I wasted!!! I will use the Breastmilk testing strips if I do try this in the future to make sure it is safe to feed baby.

Simple Mom said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment! I think it is nice for others to get different perspectives since certain things work best for different moms. I welcome you comments any time :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...