Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pump Pump Pump the Milk!

First of all-- welcome all 30 Days of {blank} visitors! It's the middle of World Breastfeeding Week, so that is my focus for now, but there will be more variety to come!

Pumping. I am not sure why I have not really blogged about pumping. Obviously I did pump and hand express (tomorrow's topic) or I would not have made it through over two years of nursing while working outside the home with The Boy in daycare. I think pumping might be the most asked about topic in my email in regard to breastfeeding and breastmilk, so I am going to try to post a bit more on the topic based on my experiences. If you have a specific question, leave a comment or send me an email (through my profile).

A pump. I used the Medela Pump-in-Style Advance (PISA). I actually purchased the backpack version from a local hospital, because it was the pump my aunt used and I could get service/parts in Germany (where The Boy was born). The PISA is dual phase to more closely mimic a baby's nursing pattern. It is important to check that the flanges for your pump are the right size for your breasts. Medela has a sizing guide on their website, but for the most part, you want your nipple and part of your areola to enter the flange. If your entire breast is being sucked in, the flange is too large. If only the nipple is being pulled in, your flange is too small.

Um, yeah. That's the equipment. Other optional equipment includes extra bottles, a little cooler with ice pack, extra flanges, and a hands-free bra or kit. None of these items is required and many come with the pump, depending on which pump you purchase.

My #1 tip
RELAX! If you do not relax, you will probably struggle. I could tell the difference between when I truly relaxed and when I just went to pump because I had to. I am not talking about an ounce of difference. For me, it was up to four ounces of difference!

How did I relax?
Truthfully, it was hard to do at times. There were people in and out of the sitting room portion of the lockerroom. I pumped in a convention center sitting room just outside a restroom where tons of people walked through all day. These are not easy relaxing situations! None the less, some things that did work for me include listening to relaxing music (thank you ipod), sit in silence and focus on The Boy, visualize the milk flowing out of me (do not laugh!), look at pictures of The Boy, and deep breathing exercises.

When to Pump
When I first had The Boy I had no clue and had to ask a friend this very question! What I found out in time, through trial and error and some reasearch on the side was that pumping in the early morning is most productive due to the hormones in the body. Early on, I was not that dedicated. I would pump for ten minutes after the morning feed where I was willing to get out of bed. Also, any time I wanted to leave the house alone, I would nurse The Boy so he'd finish approximately twenty minutes before I needed to leave, pump for ten minutes, and then dash out the door. OK. I cleaned my pump first.

Once I went back to work, I nurse The Boy prior or at drop-off, pump three times (10, 12, 2) and then nurse immediately at pickup. In the end, he reverse-cycled and I had excess milk from pumping, which allowed me to stop pumping earlier than I might have (or maybe not...I developed a love-hate relationship with my pump around 13 months) and still give The Boy breastmilk instead of cow's milk.

Trips away from home-- now that's an entirely different post! Oh the places I have pumped...and at STRANGE hours too!

Different people have different schedules, however, and it might take you a while to find what works best for you. Experiment and don't get discouraged!

Something to Remember
Your baby is far more efficient than a pump at removing your milk-- in part due to his structural make up and in part due to how you relax to nurse him-- so don't be discouraged if the first few times you only get an ounce or less.

A Word or Fifty to the Wise
Unless you absolutely have no milk stored and must have a bottle in a certain amount of time, do NOT pump after each and every session. This will increase your supply and lead to oversupply issues. Trust me. You do not want to go there!

A couple of Additional Resources
Dr. Jack Newman on Kellymom Re: Expressing Milk
Video on Pumping from About.com (I do not agree with everything the lady says, but the proper placement and positioning of the pump is helpful!


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