First of all, let me just preface this by saying that I feel extremely fortunate that I have been able to breastfeed both of my kiddos. Miles has been even easier than MacKenna – either it’s like riding a bike and just came back to me easily, or he’s just a better eater (or both, really). Besides the overactive letdown/oversupply issue we had early on in his life, he has been a great eater and I feel very blessed to have gone almost 5 months without having to supplement. (I only made it about 4 months before I had to start giving MacKenna formula 1 bottle per day.)
Thankfully, this has made my experience with pumping at work much easier than it was the first time around. Oh, and that experience part again too. Don’t get me wrong… I still LOATHE my breastpump, but not nearly as much as I did with MacKenna.
Pumping at work when I was breastfeeding with MacKenna was stressful. Like I said, I only made it 4 months (aka back at work for 1 month) before we had to start supplementing my supply. I just was not producing enough to keep up with her (very minimal) demand. She has always been a terrible eater, which caused my supply to be completely lacking, no matter how much I was pumping. I would pump for 20-30 minutes and only get 1 or 2 ounces on each side. It made for a not very pleasant experience and something I was definitely not looking forward to with Mr. Miles.
But, I have to admit, this time around has been much easier. Again, he’s also a better eater, so I think that makes a huge difference. Here’s how my day typically goes:
I wake up at 4:15 AM every day to shower and I usually pump while I’m putting on my makeup. I have a makeshift hands-free bra and just set the pump on the counter, plug it in, and pump. It usually takes me 10-15 minutes and I get about 3 ounces on each side, which equals a bottle for him. Go Me! I wake him up around 5:30 to feed him, so I think that has really helped with my morning supply.
I have been extremely lucky with my pumping situation at work with both babies. Both times I have had a tiny little closet to go in to have some privacy while pumping and a big break in the middle of my day to spend some time pumping. I know not everyone is that fortunate to have breaks built into their day. Of course, there is always something that can come up during my plan time and I have actually not been able to pump because I was stuck in a meeting and then had to teach, but I mostly get those 15 minutes to pump in the middle of my day. I don’t get nearly as much – maybe 4 ounces total – during my lunch time, but that’s the only time I have and I still have to get things done during my plan time. Once the school day is over, I spend about 15 minutes pumping before either going to work out or heading home.
Throughout the day, I typically pump 8-10 ounces total. Add in the morning 6 ounces, and I’m still a full bottle short of what Miles typically eats during the day. This time around, I was smart enough to pump every day on my maternity leave after I showered. I had a HUGE supply built up and I try as much as I can to pump on the weekends, although I’m the first to admit that I probably don’t do it nearly as much as I need to. Right now, I’m only 2 or 3 days ahead of what the babysitter has, but I only have to make it 6 more days of him taking a bottle before I’m off for the summer.
Other things that have helped me make pumping at work easier:
- Hands-free bras – I just took some old sports bras, cut holes in them, and I wear them under another sportsbra.
- Finding a bag that could fit all my c.r.a.p. and my pump – I am a minimalist so the less bags I can carry in, the better! My ThirtyOne bag works perfectly and fits all my stuff, including workout clothes and shoes, in it.
- Extra pumping supplies – I’ll admit that I HATE cleaning the pump parts. I borrowed a pump the first time around but bought one this time, so I actually have 2 sets of parts. Usually one is at home being cleaned or soaking in the sink and I can have the other set at work with me.
- Not washing the parts after every feeding – As long as the milk and parts are refrigerated, there’s no need to clean them! I know Caitlin puts hers in a bag until the next time she pumps, but I just stick the parts in my lunch box and put it back in the fridge. Makes it so much quicker and easier!
So, that’s what works for me. Right now, it’s going pretty well and I’m thankful that it looks like I can make it through the summer still exclusively breastfeeding. Miles will be 5 months next week (what?!) and my goal was 6 months exclusively breastfeeding. I’m hoping to at least make it to August and then I will decide from there. I still plan on breastfeeding him as long as possible, but am trying to avoid supplementing if I can.
The next thing I’m going to have to figure out is how to pump and store my milk while I’m away from him for 3 days in Chicago. Any advice would be greatly appreciated on traveling, racing, and pumping!