Monday, October 10, 2011

Pump-a-thon 3

Let me begin with my usual warning...if nursing at all weirds you out, do not continue you reading.

In Pump-a-thon 1, we discussed Pumping Supplies.

In Pump-a-thon 2, we discussed the two different Medela electric pumps.

Today, we will discuss a good strategy for pumping at work.  This is where the commitment part of your "marathon" kicks in.  I will not sugar coat this...pumping was exhausting and took a lot of time.  It was definitely my least favorite thing about having a baby, but I hung in there and eventually was on autopilot.

#1  Mental Preparation...Prepare yourself for awkward moments/conversations.  Unfortunately, my office building does not have a designated pumping/nursing room, so I was forced to use the bathroom stall.  Many, many times I had to converse with complete strangers about pumping whenever I was washing all the parts at the bathroom sink.  Women will no doubt ask what that noise is coming from the other stall.  A random man in the hallway once said to me with a wink wink, "We have a bag like that at home." (I was carrying what I thought was the discreet Medela black pump bag) REALLY!!!!  Do you want to stand in the middle of the hall and discuss pumping with me!?!?  I flashed him an awkward smile and rushed into the bathroom.  It might be a good idea to carry a different bag in case you run into a new father who thinks he is "in on it." 

#2 Supplies...Each morning in my bag I would pack my...

(I would usually have the battery charged from the night before, but always have the cord with you just in case)

(Yes, you must wash and dry every pump part and bottle every time you use it)

(I used mild dish soap, but Palmolive makes the above baby liquid soap)

(Not necessary, but helped lighten my load each day)

(Explanation below)

#3 Scheduling...The Medela pump comes with 4 bottles and a cooler that you could potentially use for storing at the office.  I thought keeping up with all of those bottles everyday seemed a little much.  Plus, I could only imagine the awkward questions I might get about "what is in the cooler?" by people at work looking in the refrigerator.

There are two thing I need to explain before I continue...

  • I read that breast milk can stay good any where between 6-10 hours at room temperature (Ask your doctor for their recommendations on this)  
  • You are not supposed to mix breast milk at different temperatures (Again, refer to your doctor on their recommendations)  
Because of these two things, I decided to use the large measurable container with a pour spout.  I would dump it all in the same container each pump and leave it in my (not so discreet) bag at room temperature at my desk throughout the day.  I got home before the 7-hour mark and could refrigerate it as soon as I walked through the door.  My sitter would use the container the next day to avoid using the freezer supply.  The measurement markers were clutch!  She knew exactly how much to dethaw in the morning based on how much was in the container.

My average pumping schedule went something like this:

5:30am wake up and immediately pump
10:00am second pumping session
2:30pm  third pumping session
4:45 pm placed large container in the fridge and steamed clean all pump parts with Medela Steam bag
6:30pm fourth pumping session
10:00pm fifth pumping session

Definitely don't use this schedule strictly...every one and every baby is different.  When I went back to work, I had to solely pump because L preferred the bottle.  It would have been wonderful if the last two sessions could have been nursing and not pumping, but I did not have that luxury.  I wish you luck!

I hope this helps and please pipe in if you used a different approach.  My schedule was totally exhausting...any suggestions on how to schedule differently?

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