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I’m not big on pumping
Pumping is a confusing topic for me. Up here in Canada, I have the pleasure of taking a whole year off, which makes it really easy to be the constant and ever-present food source for my son. So far, I’ve breastfed my two kids a total of almost 43 months (wow… I had to step back and double check that math!).
Related post: Secrets to Achieving Your Breastfeeding Goals
My daughter reluctantly took a bottle, but then began refusing at about 3 months of age, so I only pumped a few times. I think at about 2 years of age, I finally gave up on my emergency freezer stash that never got used and threw it away (it was maybe like 25 oz of milk). Frankly, pumping manually is work.
So I never really planned to pump much with my son, now 3 months old. I did end up buying a cheap pump for the initial engorgement phase of breastfeeding. It cost me about $20.
Cue up about 2 months into a wonderful breastfeeding relationship and I am in writhing pain. Dental pain. I need a root canal. It’s a 90-minute procedure. At a dentist’s office that will require an hour’s total commute.
About one feeding cycle.
Because my dentist is insanely booked, I’ve had a month to prepare for this day. Here’s a few little tips and tricks (and favorite products!) that I’ve discovered in the last month in regards to pumping.
Pumping Hack for Non-Pumpers #1
Pump first thing in the morning. I have a fantastic milk supply in the morning, and can usually pump about 4 ounces of milk in the 15 minutes it takes to do the 5 am early morning feed! My son is a one-sided feeder, so I just attach the pump to the other side and doze while my breast and the pump do all the work for me!
This is the magic little pump that I’m currently using. It pumps using suction alone, so it’s hands-free!
I just put this pump outside Leo’s bedroom door so I can grab it as I stumble through the dark into his bedroom. It even comes with a little lid so I can pop it into the fridge when I’m done without having to bag, label and freeze it! I do this part at a more reasonable hour 😉
Pumping Hack for Non-Pumpers #2
In general breastfeeding, you need to stay hydrated! I have an awesome Contigo water bottle that I fill up with ice and pour water on top. Sip, sip, sip!
If you’re needing to generate some extra milk for your baby or a small freezer stash, hydrate like heck. I’ve heard anecdotally that Gatorade helps too!
Also, Mother’s Milk tea is something that I recommend if you’re feeling like there’s a dip in your supply.
At around 6 months of age with my daughter, I really felt like she was needing more and at the breast making her order for MORE MILK! It was hard to keep up, and a cup or two of this tea made my body kick into gear!
Pumping Hack for Non-Pumpers #3
Set up to win! You need to have a storage system to keep your liquid gold frozen and safe! With my daugher, I purchased the Nuk freezer storage system.
It’s a very simple storage system that keeps the oldest milk on the bottom and the freshest on top- that way you’re cycling through your milk in a good fashion. It’s perfect for storing a couple of days’ worth of milk. I liked this system so much that I gifted it to my sister-in-law!
For Leo, I have a new house and new freezer. It’s the french door kind with the freezer on the bottom, and honestly, I’m not sure the Nuk system would fit. So… I purchased a basket at the dollar store and it works just as good!
The other piece of your storage system is, of course, milk storage bags! I’m a fan of the Nuk ones, but there are lots of awesome ones out there that will work just fine. I’m a fan of the ones that have double zippers to keep your milk safe. There’s nothing worse than defrosting milk and having it leak out of the bag *cue tears*.
Pumping Hack for Non-Pumpers #4
The bottle! Breastfed babies can be notorious for not taking a bottle, which is endlessly frustrating for the mom who works hard to pump some milk to give to baby in her absence. It also gets expensive trying bottle after bottle and inevitably having it fail. There are two particular brands of bottles that worked for us, here they are below:
Of course, every baby is different, but here are a few tips to get a breastfed baby to take a bottle:
- purchase a bottle with a slow flow nipple
- consider the breast’s shape and function when selecting a bottle- you want something similar
- warm up the breastmilk to a nice warm temperature before feeding (don’t use the microwave!)
- If that doesn’t work, try going in the opposite direction and feed the milk cold or at room temp
- try a bottle for a week or more before you decide that baby doesn’t like it. They could just be protesting because it’s different.
- Try at least one bottle a day for a week before your planned absence.
- If baby won’t take a bottle from you, try dad or a grandparent, and leave the house. They might be able to smell you and refuse any other food source.
What are your pumping hacks?
I’d love to hear what you other moms are doing to pump, freeze and give some breastmilk! Leave a friendly comment below 🙂