*Warning* Throughout this post I’ll use words like breast, breast pumping, breast milk, nipples, etc. If any or all of those terms offend you in any way, shape, or form, you may click the little “x” in the corner of your screen! 😉
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The number one thing I was most worried about having a baby this time around was pumping. I was so, so scared. I didn’t have to pump with Alea because I was lucky enough to be home with her until I went back to school very, very part time when she was 10 months old. And by that time she was eating enough solids where she wouldn’t need breastmilk for the short time I was away from her in class a couple of days a week. I can even count on one hand the amount of times she would actually take a bottle from us. Therefore, I never had to know about or worry about bottles, either.
Bottles and pumping, I tell ya. Just the thought of them was keeping me up at night. Or maybe it was because I was already up during the night to feed Mckenna? Ha!
After requesting advice from some of my pumping mama friends, doing some serious internet research, and even pinning to my breastfeeding Pinterest board, I feel like I started out my pumping journey on the right foot. A little knowledge to suppress some of my fears and a little knowledge to hopefully get started out on the right foot.
At this point, I have 248oz of breastmilk in my freezer and I pump at least 2-3 times every single day. After receiving some questions + positive feedback on my Instagram story and Snapchat story, I thought a blog post may be in line!
The pump can make or break your experience when it comes to breast pumping. Trust me on this one! I 110% recommend a double electric breast pump. They’re the most efficient, most comfortable, and get the job done. I personally have the Medela Pump In Style Advanced, but I also know people who have great success with the Spectra breast pumps. These pumps are great for moms who are going back to work and will need to pump on-the-go. If you’re not going back to work, don’t plan on pumping a whole lot and need a less expensive option, you can always snag a hand-pump, too.
A lot of mom’s struggle with when they should start pumping. I know that was one of my first questions. It’s hard to get into that routine with a newborn when you’re life is anything but routine! You can’t predict whether your baby will want to eat again sooner or if they’ll nap for a certain amount of time. That’s why I recommend starting to pump once your little one starts following a slightly more predictable schedule.
Now that Mckenna follows a more predictable “routine”, I pump in the morning after she wakes up– that’s usually anywhere from 7am to 9am in the morning. I always, always, always get the most when I pump at this time. I usually save about 3.5oz to feed her in a bottle and freeze whatever is leftover. Then, I usually give her a bottle early in the afternoon. So I’ll feed her a bottle around 1pm or 2pm and then pump immediately after.
Sometimes, if Mckenna goes down around 10pm or 11pm and if I feel motivated enough, I’ll pump after she nurses for the last time or an hour or two later. She’s been sleeping in 7 hour stretches pretty consistently, so I wake-up in less pain if I empty my breasts before going to sleep.
Slowly but surely, if you’re pumping on a regular basis and not feeding your baby the milk you’re expressing, you’ll start to build-up a stockpile. As I mentioned before, I only feed Mckenna 3-3.5oz of the milk I pump each day so anymore than that gets put into the fridge or the freezer. I’ll go more in-depth with how I’m managing my milk supply, working to gently increase my supply and building my stockpile in another post.
Inevitably, if you’re pumping frequently, you’re going to have to store the excess milk you pump. I love the Medela Storage Solution Kit because it comes with everything you need to get you going. I love that the lids twist so you can easily mark the day of the week and the time during the day (AM, midday or PM) when you pumped that bottle of milk. It also comes with a nifty fridge storage container to keep all of your pumped milk in order before you freeze it. This will come in handy more so when I return to work and am bringing my pumped milk home to send to daycare the next day as opposed to now when I’m freezing it right away. As for freezer bags, I’m loving the Medela Breastmilk Storage bags so far, but just recently found that Target’s Up & Up brand is significantly less expensive AND after talking to some other pumping mamas, they’re just as good as the Medela and Lasinoh bags! Score!
I freeze bags that contain 3-4oz of breastmilk. Sometimes I’ll freeze a couple bags of 2oz or 5oz. That way, I can take out what I need and avoid wasting the precious liquid gold if I have to take out more than she needs. Freezing in smaller quantities also helps with the thawing processes. For example, 3oz will thaw quicker than 5 or 6oz.
Since there’s a lot more I’d like to cover on this pumping topic, that won’t fit into one blog post. (Trust me… I could talk for hours about this.) So, I decided to split things up and plan to hopefully cover things on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. For example, when I return to work and get the hang of the pumping at work thing, I’ll likely do a post on that as well!
Coming up Next:
+ Increasing Your Milk Supply
+ What’s in my Pumping Bag
+ How to Successfully Pump at Work
+ And More!
What are your pumping tips for getting started?
What advice would you give to other mama’s when it comes to pumping?