Tomorrow is my first “official” official day back to work. Every day of the week. Which, whatever, it’s fine – I actually like working and OMGAH we need to figure out a routine around this place. I am going to miss the hell out of my kids (and my husband, for that matter) – but it’s part of life and I get to drink my coffee & eat my lunch in peace five days a week so it’s not all bad.
The past few weeks where I have only been working 2-3 days I haven’t been pumping what the baby has been eating. But I had a decent freezer stash. Or not. Because it is pretty much non-existent anymore – which happens when you take one bag out a day and don’t put anymore in. We have had to supplement some with formula when I am gone but are obviously hoping to make that an occasional thing, not a rule.
Again, we still need to work on our routine during the day. But I feed her before I leave for work and I try to feed her when I get home – but sometimes she can’t wait until 6 so I just pump and then feed her before bedtime. So far it has worked out the best to pump twice at work, three times if I can squeeze it in, 15 minutes per session. I have my reminders set in my calendar so I don’t get scheduled for any meetings, etc. I realize that isn’t always when she eats, but it’s the best I can do at the moment. Before bed is always the easiest option – or it would be if I wasn't so freaking tired! But I am also throwing around the idea of pumping on my way to (or even from) work since I have a long commute.
It has also been a bit of a challenge to figure out exactly how much she needs during the day. I have tried to do weighted feeds with her to see what she gets while she eats as a baseline. Sometimes it appears she gets 2-3 ounces, sometimes it appears she gets 1/2 an ounce. She nurses for a LONG time (25-40 min a side, thankfully she only eats on one side at a time!) and just likes to take her time. Apparently she also enjoys pounding down her bottles since it is super easy for her. I am constantly hearing “well, she pounded down that X ounces and probably was still hungry” – I am loosely throwing around the idea of switching her to an even slower flow nipple. Regardless of how long it takes, or doesn’t take, her to eat – she still takes more than I pump in a day so I know that I (begrudgingly) need to work to squeeze in an extra pumping session somewhere.
I am looking for any other tips on helping increase production! I recently started massaging while pumping, and that has helped a little bit with production as well as leaning forward a little bit so I can use gravity to my advantage. I also recently got pumpin’ pals flanges which are SO SO SO much more comfortable! I haven’t used them enough to notice a huge difference in production, but I am hopeful. I do have a hands free bra thing so that helps too.
I am also looking for any other tips related to efficiency when pumping! I always feel like it is such a process to set up (even though I do leave my pump set up all day) and clean up. I have some medela steam sanitizer bags which are really nice. I think it is always just going to be a bit of a process, by nature, but any tips anyone has I’ll take!
And lastly, and this is going to sound totally ridiculous – how do you dress for pumping? I am a dress person, which is obviously not the easiest thing to maneuver when you have to hook your boobs up to a machine several times a day and don’t necessarily want to get undressed each time! Clearly shirts/pants/skirts are the easiest bet and I almost always wear a nursing tank. Any awesome wardrobe tricks that make pumping (and direct breastfeeding, for that matter) less of a clothing challenge?
There have been so many challenges to this breastfeeding journey in the barely three months of Aleesia’s life between her MSPI, lip/tongue ties, her being sick, my low output, a million blocked ducts (and now a milk blister. fun.) but I can’t quit it – and really, I haven’t even thought about quitting to this point. It helps that there is so much support available though, so thank you for supporting me and entertaining my questions and neurosis.