Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tips of the trade

   When I was at home during my maternity leave from work I thought about how I was going to continue feeding my baby while I was away from him.  I knew that I wanted to continue giving him breast milk for as long as I can.  I just didn't know how it was going to be possible.  During the last few weeks I pumped as much as I could so I could stock up enough milk for at least the first few weeks.  It was really hard.  I was able to get enough in the freezer for only 1 week.  I figured that was going to have to work one way or another.  I was lucky enough to go back to work part time for a month that allowed my supply to last longer. When I went back to work full time I felt like I was not pumping enough while I was gone and I was afraid that my supply was going to reduce. I was pumping twice a day.  I knew that I should pump about every time that he was scheduled to eat, for me that would be every two hours.  That was difficult with my schedule at work. I thought that there had to be another way to make this work better. Here are a few tips that has helped me so far:

Pumping while commuting   Yes, I actually pump while I am in the car.  I saw this idea on a YouTube video while I was looking at different ideas other moms had for pumping while going to work.  This mom pumped using a pumping nursing bra under her shirt.  Although, it was a good idea, I couldn't make it work for me because I thought it was a little difficult.  Instead, I decided that I would just pump one at a time, this way I had control over the bottle.  (I guess my controlling personality would not let me do it this while I drove)  You might want to try her way first, it may work for you.

At first, I used my electric pump using a car adapter for the power.  I only used one of the pumps while I held it under my shirt.  This worked good for me except that I hated bringing the electric pump with me everywhere everyday.  Every morning I was dragging 5 bags with me to the car along with the baby in the car seat.  I wanted to reduce my load, so I left the pump at work.

Using a manual pump  I know most of you are thinking that I must be crazy. (well... I have heard that before.)  I decided that I was going to buy a cheaper manual pump so that I can use it it the car and at home during the week since I am going to be leaving my electric pump at work.  This is working well for me so far.  I bring home my electric pump on Fridays and sterilize everything and bring it back to work on Mondays. 

Hands free pumping bra  At work I use the hands free pumping bra from Medela to pump.  This way I can pump both breasts at the same time.  Since my hands are free I can multi-task.  I try not to take my computer in with me so I can work because you should be relaxed while you pump.  I usually put a timer on my phone and either go on Facebook or check my email on my phone.  Sometimes I just close my eyes and relax for a few minutes.

Cleaning pump accessories  Every minute of pumping time at work is precious.  I pump for about 15 minutes and it usually takes a long time to clean everything and put things away for next time.  I found that if I just quickly wiped down the shields and put them into a gallon size Ziploc bag, I can just put them into the small refrigerator.  This way I do not have to clean them completely every time I used them.  Putting them in the fridge allows any milk left in the shields not to go bad.  At the end of the day I use the Medela Quick Clean Breast pump & Accessory Wipes and let them air dry in the accessory bag.  On Fridays, I bring everything home and boil to sterilize everything.

Cooler bag  I bought this really handy cooler bag at the baby store.  This bag has freezable ice packs inside the bag already.  You just fold it and put it in the freezer and it stays cold all day.   While I am at work I usually leave this bag in the refrigerator along with the milk.  When I get home I separate the milk he will need for the next day and if I have anything extra I put it into milk bags to freeze.

Last but certainly not least, I nurse him every chance I have with him.  It is real important to have body contact with baby to keep your body producing milk.  It is also important to drink tons, I mean tons of water.  I usually drink about 120 oz of water a day.  That is 15 8oz cups.  If I can squeeze in more I do but never less than that.  I also have taken Fenugreek supplements which help with milk supply.  I have heard that Mother's Milk Tea works too, but personally, I do not like the taste. (I am very picky)

Please share with us if any of this worked for you?  Or if you have any other cool tips that we can use please share.

No comments: