Or out, rather. For many moms who want their baby to receive the benefits of breastmilk, pumping is an essential part of their life. Im sure it’s more of a need for moms who are retuning to work, or will be away from their baby for a large part of the day, but they are some (me, for example) who pump simply because it’s more convenient!
With Izzy, I started off with a Medela Lactina that I rented from the hospital, after my milk
waged war on my breasts and body in the form of mastitis came in. I kept it for 2 weeks, and then moved on to a Medela Pump in Style. Initially, I was only pumping maybe once or so a day, and Izzy nursed for all of her feedings, while I froze everything extra that I pumped. She was only eating from one side per feeding, and ALWAYS fell asleep while nursing. We could barely get her to wake up to empty even one side! I quickly ended up going through my (small) freezer stash, and then came to the realization that I was going to need to pump if I wanted to continue breastfeeding.
I began pumping every 2 hours, and slowly began to see my milk supply increase. Izzy was only taking about 2.5-3oz per feeding at that time, so it was easy for me to keep up with that amount, and have a little extra. Until she started hitting growth spurts! And I got sick! And my cycle came back! And I started working out! And I started to pay more attention to what I was eating! All of these things sent my milk supply on a decline, so I had to start taking a fenugreek supplement, which helped tremendously.
I got a point where I had backed off on the pumping, and went back to nursing. Not a good idea! Rather than being a sleepy nurser, Izzy was now a NOSY nurser, and I couldnt keep her latched because she wanted to look around! Every little noise caused her to pop off so she can see whats happening! So we’re back on the pump!
As it stands now, I pump about 4-6 times a day, every 3 or 4 hours. My usual output is 7-8oz. I can consistently get 5oz on the right, but the left has always been an underacheiver, ever since that very first bout with mastitis(that I didnt properly take care of at first. I think it left me with damaged milk ducts.) Izzy eats four 5oz bottles a day, plus her first feeding of the day is a nursing session (in the bed, right when she wakes up so she’s still too drowsy to do much looking around)
Since pumping can present itself as an annoyance (being hooked up to a milking machine. OH. JOY.) I figured out a way to get my hands free while I pump without paying for fancy bras or equipment. I have a ton of support camis (a tank top with a “bra” layer under the main part of the shirt). So, I took a few of them, and cut a circle, just big enough for the end of the flange to fit through, right at the nipple. When everything is all hooked up, it allows me to have use of my hands, so I can pump while I surf the net, or work, or write blog posts, or whatever. Plus, the shirt is still usable, because the top layer is still whole! ( I only use the ones with holes as undershirts though, because…well, now there’s only one layer of fabric over your nipple area. Unless you’re wearing breast pads. Which show through the one layer sometimes.)
ETA: Drink tons of water, too!
Also, I wanted to share some links (and tips) that I have found VERY useful while (almost) exclusively pumping.
How much milk baby needs (calculator via KellyMom)
Establishing and Increasing Milk Supply (article from KellyMom)
Another way to go hands-free while pumping (article from KellyMom)
Handling Frozen Breastmilk (article & more links from Kelly Mom)