Back to work and need some help! Cross posted

Amy - posted on 07/08/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 3 1/2 months old and I returned to work on Monday. Up until now she has been for the most part exclusively breastfeeding and taking one bottle of formula a day. I would like to pump at work but I only have an electronic hand held medela pump which is really loud so I'm not able to pump a lot because I can't relax enough while using it at work. I'm debating on whether or not I should rent one of or even possibly buy one that is of a better quality then my hand held one and if I do will I see an increase in the amount of ounces I'm pumping. Is it worth it at this point or should I just pump what I'm able to, and supplement with formula until my supply drys up? Any suggestions would be appreciated, besides quiting my job lol because that's what I would like to do but unfortunately we need the income!

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Amanda - posted on 07/08/2010

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Totally worth it! Nothing beats nursing, for you and baby's health and for your bonding time :) Also, my son didn't nurse any less when he started solid foods at 6 months. He still drank 18-24 oz at daycare every day. I have read that this is because their stomachs grow at six months, the same time it is recommended to start them on cereal and other solids.

My advice is to shell out the money for a double pump. It will pay for itself if it keeps you breastfeeding for another 2-3 months. Also, all pumps make noise, and it may just seem really loud to you, but not so much to anyone else. You could try listening to some music (or watching a movie, if you have a player that does that) while you pump, to keep your mind off of the pump and its noise. Relaxation is key when you are pumping.

Another pumping trick I used with my Medela was to turn the pump off when it seemed like I wasn't getting anymore. I would wait 1-2 minutes, then turn it back on. This put it back into "letdown" mode, and I could usually get another letdown and 2-4 more ounces.
Lastly, you could also try to build in an extra pumping session once a day. I always nursed my little guy and put him down for the night, then waited up a couple of hours, pumped, and then went to bed myself. This usually allowed by 3-4 hours to fill back up before he would wake up to nurse again. This was one of the ways I kept my supply up and kept up with how much he was drinking at daycare. You may not get a lot at first, but you should be able to get a decent amount from this extra pump session in a week or two.

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Amy - posted on 07/09/2010

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Thank you both so much for the advice and encouragement. I ended up spending the money on the medela double pump. Since I'm the store manager I'm just going to put a sign on the only office door Do Not Disturb and just pump in there since there isn't any outlets in the fitting room. Thanks again!

Elizabeth - posted on 07/09/2010

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Pumping at work can be interesting. My suggestion would be to get just a regular hand pump. Most of them are completely silent. There is not much of a difference in electric and hand pump with expression. The secret is how you prepare yourself. To pump at work find a quiet office, not the bathroom if you can avoid it. Take a video and some pictures of your baby on your phone to look at while you pump. Before you pump stimulate your nipples and pull on them a bit. I know this sounds weird but it helps with let down and milk production. The only thing that increases milk production is frequency. The more you often you pump the more milk you will make. This is very important. You are off to a great start with breastfeeding. If you take 15 minutes or so to pump every 2 hours you will see great results. Science has shown that the hormones that regulate milk production stay more stable if you pump every 2 hours, rather than letting those hormones to go down and then bringing them up by waiting 3 or 4 hours. It is a common idea that your breasts have to fill back up in order for you to pump, but this is not so. Our breasts are not holding tanks and when they do fill up it is a sign that we are waiting too long. Our bodies then say hey I don't need to make that much after all if you are just going to let it sit here. I know this isn't always possible at work. Your best bet is to talk to your manager and try to get some cooperation. Another very important thing that you can do is to get involved in Le Leche League. It is great to have other breastfeeding moms to talk to.
Breastfeeding is the best thing you can do as a mother for your child. Keep up the good work.

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