Thursday, November 8, 2012

Working and Being a Milk Cow

Source  This was me the entire first year of Kai's life

As everyone already knows, I went back to work with Kai when he was 12 weeks old.  I was determined to make being a working and breastfeeding mom work so I knew getting a good pumping schedule down was essential.  I was very lucky to have a pro-breastfeeding boss.  Both of his kids were breastfed and he really feels it is important so there was never any problem there.  In fact, he was nice enough to let me pump in his office when he was out of town to make it easier on me.  I also work for a breastfeeding friendly hospital so they have pumping rooms set up all over campus for the times my boss was in town.

I bought the Medela Pump in Style Advanced in the tote bag (since I already carry a back pack with lunch, badges, etc to work.)  I loved this pump and it worked very well for me.  I also liked the tote bag because after I was done pumping, I could keep the bottles of milk in it as I walked back to my lab to put them in the fridge.  It also comes with a small cooler bag with ice pack that I used to store the milk in the fridge until I went home.  I also highly recommend getting a second set of parts to make it easier on you.   I pumped before work and would use one set of parts then and also have a clean set of parts ready to go.  I then stored the parts in a big Ziploc bag in the fridge so I could skip washing them after my first pumping session since I pumped twice while at work.  (Honestly I had three sets and left one at work after my first oops I forgot my pump parts debacle.)  Two other things that were invaluable to have were the Medela quick clean wipes for the days when I forgot my Ziploc bag.  You can use these to wipe the pump parts down without needing soap and water.  I also liked keeping an extra set of membranes in case I accidentally ripped one of mine while washing it and didn't realize it when putting the parts together that morning. 

Now that you have all the tools to make pumping work, you might wonder what my schedule looked like.  I usually woke Destructo up before I went to work and nursed him then and then I would pump for ten minutes before I left the house.  I kept a small bit of a oversupply this way which was important for me since my supply was always just enough.  I usually got to work around 7 and pumped at 10 ish for 20 minutes and then again at 2ish for 20 minutes.  I skipped an actual lunch break so that I wouldn't have to stay later.  Pumping took about 30 minutes total for me when you counted in setting up, cleaning up, and the walk to the pumping rooms.  I left work at 3:30 and usually nursed Kai again as soon as I got home around 4:30-5.  

I stored the milk in Medela milk bottles through out the day and would use what I needed for Destructo's bottles the next day all week.  Then on Fridays I would freeze any extra milk and use frozen milk on Monday (or any other time I was short fresh milk) that way I was constantly rotating my freezer stash to keep it from getting too old or too far past his age since breast milk is tailor made for your baby's developmental stage/age.  I froze the milk in Lansinoh breast milk bags in 3-5 oz increments.  (I did 3 at first, but as his bottles got bigger increased the amounts.)  These worked for us great because they fit on the Playtex nurser bottles we used at first so I didn't even have to do anything but thaw the milk and slip the bag on the bottle.  I used these bottles until Kai started to really show nipple preference to the bottles and then we switched to the Breastflow bottles.  These really helped this issue and actually helped Destructo to improve his latch.

I stored all the frozen milk in ten bags zipped into a big Ziploc bag in our deep freezer in the garage and boy did I check it religiously since it is older and I did not want it to suddenly stop working and lose my entire stash.  I kept about ten bags inside as well just in case and even had a few bags at my mom's house for an emergency. You can keep frozen milk in a deep freeze for up to six months.

Here is a link to safe breast milk storage conditions.

Here is also a great link about being a pumping mom with any information you might need.

Oh and one other thing that made my life ten times easier was a hands free pumping bra.  This way I could pump and play games on my phone or read a book.   I always meant to splurge and get one of the nice ones like these, but never did.  Instead I was super cheap and bought a tight fitting sports bra and cut holes where the pump flanges went.  It was a pain to have to take off my bra and slip this one on and more time consuming, but hey I am cheap.  I also never wore actual nursing bras, I just rocked a sports bra.  I am cool like that.  Okay I am cheap like that, but hey who's counting.
If you guys have any questions, feel free to contact me.  I pumped at work for 9 months, so I know a thing or two about it.
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  1. You are SO lucky to have a job that both appreciates the importance of breastfeeding/pumping as well as affords you the time to!! Despite being in healthcare, there's very little appreciation at my work for it. Furthermore, there's nowhere to pump nor am I allotted time to without working extra to make up for it since my job is based on productivity. I'm jealous!!!! And since lil Mr won't take bottles anyway...I have to take an extended lunch break to come home & feed him which means we both go about 6hrs between feedings the days I work :(

    I really should look into the extra parts & that bra idea though! Thanks!

    1. I am sorry that it is such a struggle for you. Definitely get the sports bra/no hands thing. It was such a life saver. I would not have made it without it.

  2. Love how "cheap" you are! Whatever works, right? I also appreciate how detailed you are in this post as well as how supportive your boss is of your breastfeeding! Stories like this make the Breastfeeding Blog Hop worth hosting. Thanks for linking up this week! ~Jeniffer

    1. Thanks for hosting it. I think it is a great wealth of info for new breastfeeding moms.


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