Tips for returning to work & pumping?

Niki - posted on 07/20/2011 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I return to work next week, 12 hour night shifts and even though I have read a lot about pumping at work, I'm curious to know what worked/didn't work for pumping at work for other moms out there. What's a tip that you wish someone had told you when you started? I'm a little concerned about supply since my job does not always make it easy to get away for 20-30 minutes at a time. One of the things I'd like to know specifically is what was the easiest ways you found to clean pump parts at work? Thanks for the help!!

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Niki - posted on 07/23/2011

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Thanks for the tips, Amy! It's reassuring to know that things I'm already doing worked for you. I have a Medela pump & style, but as a L&D nurse, I also have access to a hospital grade pump in our lactation lounge at work. I do only pump for 10 min, but it seems to take me another 10 to setup & cleanup.

My biggest concern with supply is that working nights my LO will on get to bf twice a day when I am working. I'm not sure if I should wake up & pump once during the day or just get the sleep! I'm lucky to get 6-7hrs a day when working. It's not like a traditional job where he can nurse at night while we sleep. Right now he only nurses one side at a feeding & I pump about 4oz total. It's so hard to know how much will be enough!

Amy - posted on 07/21/2011

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My daughter is 16 months old, still bf'ing and I work full-time out of the house 12+ hours a day. I never pumped for 20 or 30 minutes at a time only about 10-15 minutes at a time. I pumped till I stop getting any would shut the pump off for a minute or two start again to get a second letdown and then I would be done. As far as cleaning the parts medela had these cleaning wipes to use so I just used those in between pumping sessions at work and cleaned everything really well at night.
When I first returned to work I tried to pump every 3 hours, although it was difficult on some days. When my daughter was 6 or 7 months old I only pumped twice a day, at about 11 months I went to once a day, and at 13 months I stopped pumping at work. One of the things that I did and still do to keep up supply is a dream feed before I left for work in the morning because my husband takes care of the kids during the day so I didn't have to drop her off anywhere. If I was working late at night, same thing I'd offer a dream feed when I got home, the baby is more efficient then the pump so that's one way I tried to help keep up my supply.
Another thing I learned after a few days of work was that if I didn't drink enough water my supply was drastically effected, so I would bring two-2 liter bottles of water to work and my goal was to finish it by the time I left for the day.
I was sad when I stopped pumping at work because that was my me time during the day and I enjoyed that I had 15 minutes where I could shut the door and not be bothered. Make sure you have a good pump a dual electric pump is even better and if you get a hands free one you can do computer stuff while pumping. I was always self conscious about how loud my pump was so listened to my iPod and played games on my phone to take my mind off of everything. I hope this helps, it's not easy but it's so worth it if you can make it happen! Good luck!

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