When should I pump and how often?

Sara - posted on 01/25/2010 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I am just wondering when I should pump and how often? I'll be going back to work in 5 weeks and I wanna get into the routine of things before it's too late. Also, I may not be able to pump at work. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Carrie - posted on 02/16/2010

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Hi Sara, I just read your reply! I completely understand being uncomfortable pumping at your job. With my first I was uncomfortable and I worked with all women (other nurses) on the postpartum floor! Crazy I know! Well, I hope that you and your little one are doing well and that everything is working out nicely for you...pumping wise! Take care!

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I pumped every 2-4 hours and aimed for pumping/nursing 12 times a day for the first 2 months of my son's life (suggestion per lactation consultant). I pumped until I completely emptied my breasts (which took anywhere from 20 min to 45 min at a time. It was hard to do it that much and for that amount of time, but it really paid off. I had an enormous amount supply of milk, which helped for when I went back to work. As far as not being able to pump at work, are you able to take breaks? I pumped in my car several times when I was at a training for work. I would do it in the back seat and use a nursing shawl (or a towel would do just fine) to cover myself up. If you have any further questions, you can contact a lactation consultant (ususally free of charge for phone consultations) at a hospital. It doesn't have the to be the hopsital where you delivered at either. Or you can find a Leleche Leader at http://www.llli.org/ which is free as well. Good luck!

Sara - posted on 01/26/2010

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Thank you. :)

I am thinking about switching jobs... I work in supportive living and both clients are wheelchair-bound. One has to be pushed in a Hoyer to be moved when he's not in his chair and he weighs at least 250. [had a cesarian so want to make sure I don't mess myself up] The reason I may not be able to pump at work though is because I do in-home and both clients are male. Very uncomfortable.

As far as the rest of the stuff, thanks a lot for the advice. I might give it another week or so before I start really pumping.

Carrie - posted on 01/25/2010

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Once you and your baby are comfortable with breastfeeding, you could start pumping to build up a supply. You want to be comfortable with pumping before going back to work too (as it can be a headache). One suggestion is to pump about an hour after baby has nursed for the first two morning feedings. This is when your milk is most likely to be plentiful. When you're back at work, you should pump around the same time that the baby eats at home...even if they are short sessions and then try to pump for a full 15 - 20 minutes during you lunch break. I would try everything you can to pump at work, it's the only way to keep your milk supply up. I'm a nurse and work 12 hour shifts and when I had my first, I didn't pump as much as I should have when I was working and my supply started to deplete when she was around 7 months old. Drink lots of water as this helps maintain your milk as well as other things...I've heard eating Oatmeal (not the instant kind) helps maintain it too. I hope it works out smoothly for you and that you are able to pump at work! Congratulations on you new blessing! Take care!

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