The Power In Pumping

by - November 29, 2016

I have pumped since Milo was born, even though I was nursing. I had a surprisingly strong milk supply, despite my c-section. In the early weeks I had to pump at least every 2 hours. Milk was lactating everywhere, it was like a children's splash park under my top. My breasts were engorged so often it was painful. The worst was during the night, still is. I dont know if it's the mysterious powers of the gravitational rock in our sky, or if it's just a swell time for my milk supply. Either way, in the middle of the night I produce so much more. Pumping is not fun, at least not for me anyway. I don't enjoy it or even particularly like it. I could even say I hate it. It's boring and time consuming. I feel like a dairy cow and it is even a little embarrassing. However, I do want Milo to have breast milk now and for as long as possible. His first year is my goal and would be ideal. So I suffer through the mechanical suction that inevitably draws on my lady lumps.

Recently Milo has decided he doesn't want to nurse anymore. I don't blame the little guy. It looks uncomfortable, if you ask me. For the past few weeks, with his neck muscles getting stronger, he has loved to sit. The moment you set him up he smiles the biggest toothless smile his little baby mouth allows. I'm sure he would still nurse if he was big enough to sit up at the same time. I have tried all kinds of different positions and even brought it up to the pediatrician. Some babies just kind of grow out of it. They decide they like bottles better. It honestly doesn't bother me that much. Yeah, bottle feeding comes with its cons. More dishes and clean up, warming up bottles takes time, and the dreaded pumping. On the other hand it's more comfortable for Milo and myself. I can just plop him on my lap in whatever cozy position I'm in. Now, I don't always have to wear clothing conducive to nursing. I can also add extra vitamins to his bottles. Like my Baby DHA from The Honest Company. I'm even still taking my prenatal vitamins. I will continue taking those till I'm done breastfeeding/pumping.

So since I now feel like the Yoda of the pumping world, I have compiled a short list of pumping tips and tricks. These are practices that I have tried, tested, and are Emma approved. Here they are:

1) Water, Water, Water.
Staying hydrated is so important. I don't know about you ladies, but I can become engorged just by drinking a bottle of water. If you are trying to stock up on milk so you can quit pumping early, like me, then try doubling your normal recommended water intake. Don't drown yourself, just sip a little more than usual.

2) Power Pumping
Set aside an hour in your day to power pump. I do this while Milo takes his longer nap of the day. Typically around noon. It sucks, but it will help increase your milk let down.

    Power Pumping Guide
Pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
Pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
Pump for 10 minutes

3) Pick your Pumping Perch
I always pump in my bedroom on my bed. I sit back, get as comfy as I can, and begin my session. Find a place where you can relax and get comfortable. Read a book, watch YouTube videos, think of your baby. Whatever you can to relax and help make the time go by faster.

4) Pump After Nursing
If you are still nursing, always try to pump afterwards, if you can. This can promote a second let down. Also, there are different types of milk that release at different times while breastfeeding. Pumping after nursing will make sure you don't waste any of the good stuff. While increasing your milk production.

5) Warm It Up
If you are having a hard time with production try a warm compress, or heating pad. Warming up the breasts can allow your milk to release. Also, a warm bath or shower can help too. I always pump after a shower. I have even pumped in the bath before.

6) Double Milk/Half The Time
Try double pumping. There are bras that help support this, so you can be hands free. This will allow a double let down, cutting pumping times in half.

7) Pump During Hot Times
My "hot time" is at night. About 3 to 4 hours after I fall asleep and Milo wakes me up for his first feeding. That's when I produce the most milk. Typically between 12:00 - 2:00 am. Find your "hot time" and pump as much as possible.

8) Last But Not Least
Always make sure your device is well maintained and clean. Making sure all the pieces are clean and dry inhibits proper function. Also make sure you are using proper sizes. Using pieces too big or too small can make pumping more difficult.

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