Pumping - a tough time getting started

Celeste - posted on 01/05/2011 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I just finished an hour of pumping, and I am absolutely exhausted. After 8.5 wonderful months of breastfeeding, now because I have to go back to work next week, I've started pumping during the day, and only BFing once in the morning and once before bed.

This is only my 3rd day doing this, but I'm feeling so worn out. It's like how things were when he was a newborn... I don't have time to cook, eat, do laundry, shower... every spare moment is taken up with pumping. It's overwhelming. And the baby is just fine with everything, surprisingly. I'm the one who's falling apart.

I just don't understand how working mothers actually do this. My coworkers will be very understanding, but taking 2 hours out of my work day each day to pump milk will be challenging. Not to mention my hands, shoulders and neck are so sore because I have to hand-express for such a long time after pumping in order to meet my "quota."

I need some encouragement. Tell me it's all worth it. Tell me it gets easier!!

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Celeste - posted on 01/05/2011

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Thanks! I will definitely try that tip about oil on the nipples, that's one I hadn't heard yet. Right now I'm setting my alarm to get one good pump in the morning before the baby wakes up. I always have more than enough to satisfy him in the morning, so I'm not really worried about supply.

An hour sounds like a long time, I know... I must say I am really disappointed in my new breast pump. I just bought the Medela Freestyle, and I'm actually getting equal to or less than what I used to get with my manual pump I'd been using before (Medela Harmony). Right now I'm double-pumping with the electric pump for about 15 mins (flow usually stops around 11-12 mins), then I use the manual pump for about 5 mins on each breast, or longer until the flow stops. Then I hand-express the rest until I get up to 4 oz total.

I bought the Freestyle because it's supposed to be hands-free, and thought it would be easier at work taking calls, typing, etc. What a JOKE! It seems that those straps are designed for cartoon-character boobs that point directly forward, instead of pointing downward like mine do. Unfortunately I was a 36G even before pregnancy, so I'm used to disappointment when it comes to fit! What a f'ing waste of $400...

Amy - posted on 01/05/2011

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Try drinking a little more water and just try to relax. I've heard some women don't react well to the pump when there worried/stressed.

First off, are you using a little olive oil on part of your nipple before pumping to help them slide easily?

How often do you pump? Do you ever pump after your feedings? That can help bump up what you'r storing and decrease some of your time pumping at work.

Go hands free! Do you have a laptop you use at work that you can work while you pump? I've got a laptop and try to get work done while pumping, it helps me forget about what I'm doing and many times I'll pump more at work than at home since I'll pump longer when I'm focused on a task.

There are two ways to go hands free, you can get a hands free bra or if you have a specific type of pump you can look into the freemie system. I just bought the freemie system because I didn't like any of the hands free bra's. The Freemie system can also make it so once you pump instead of doing hand expressing you can always hook that up and pump at your desk/office?

If you haven't gone back to work yet I'd also suggest putting your baby back to the boob more and pump in between feedings, so your storing more in the freezer for when you have low days.

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Just out of curiosity..why are you pumping for an hour? Pump until you aren't getting anything even with gentle breast massage. Then come back and pump again. You might even be able to get a couple of let downs within the hour by taking a break and coming back instead of pumping the entire hour. Does that make sense?

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It is so worth it! Hang in there! If you are still home with your baby there are a couple of things you can try to get some extra expressed milk and still nurse your baby. Your body generally makes more milk in the morning so you could try to pump before you baby wakes up and is ready to nurse. Your baby is better at getting the milk out than the pump is so even if you just pumped your baby can probably still get a let down and eat. Once you go back to work you won't have to do that anymore unless you want to get a little extra milk to store. Some babies don't really want a bottle when they are away from mom and at 8 months will settle for solids if you are giving them. My oldest would only take 2 bottles when I was at work, and I worked 12 hour shifts. She made up for it by nursing all night and every two hours when I was home. Take a picture of your baby with you to work in your pump so you can think of your baby while you pump. RELAX and know that you are doing a great job whether you meet your quota or not for the day :) It does get easier and as your child gets older remember that he doesn't need more milk than he did before. Your milk changes to meet the needs of your baby so don't be shocked if he only takes 3-5 oz at a time. Try looking at kellymom.com. There is a link for working moms and it has great tips on how to sneak in a pump here and there to get just a little more milk stored. Good luck and congrats on nursing your little one!

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