Breast feeding, as rewarding as it is, can also be quite tedious. I’ve breast fed/ pumped with all 4 of my kiddos and each experience has been different. My first daughter would nurse and I would be bawling within seconds, I won’t be surprised if they start releasing information about nursing tying in with baby blues, so I switched to pumping. My second daughter was easy to nurse but I realized it just wasn’t my thing to be needed literally All The Time! So I pumped with her as well. My third daughter was on a feeding tube for 7 months so nursing her was literally impossible and now my first son is 7 months old and I am still going strong with pumping enough for “a growing boy”. I honestly feel like a veteran in the pumping department so I hope some of my information will help.
The key to establishing any kind of routine for nursing or pumping is consistency. Now even though I did nurse a little with my kids, this information is going to be for you mamas hoping to establish a good flow by pumping.
Once that cute baby has arrived and you’ve been through all the “after math” (stitching, room swapping, pain killers, skin to skin, nursing…) go ahead and get started pumping. They do recommend nursing for an entire week before introducing a baby to a binky or a bottle but I never did. I would recommend getting a baby book you really like. My all time favorite is “Baby Wise”. I had my babies on an 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. schedule from the start and all of them slept through the night by 2-3 months. No joke! So that meant I was pumping at 7:45, 10:45, 1:45, 4:45, and 7:45. I also pumped at night for a little while because “ouch”, that’s a long time to go without emptying the tanks if you know what I mean. Yes it seems long and hard, and yes it is. BUT if it’s the route you choose to go… well I definitely didn’t regret it. Once again, get started and then pump often. At least as often as baby is nursing throughout the day.
Take Your Vitamins
Ok there is a list a mile long of things you can take to increase your milk supply. Ok not a mile long but yes there are a number of supplements that should help. Fenugreek, Mothers Milk, and Blessed Thistle are a few just off the top of my head, although I never actually took any. I had just enough milk to freeze a little and sustain my babies until they were 1 year old. I do believe in taking a vitamin regularly though. I have a multivitamin I take with a green company I’m part of and I’m in love with it. I really feel like it helps a ton with my energy levels and gives me that extra boost I need. Just think, if you fuel your body with various nutrients… you will be fueling your baby with the same nutrients. It’s a Win Win! Along with a pre-natal or multi vitamin…
Eat LOTS of Fruits and Veggies
We all know fruits and veggies are good for us, they are jam backed with natural vitamins and your body is in major recovery mode, I mean… you just built a baby! I like to think the baby is also in “major recovery mode”, that sweet bundle of joy will likely tripple his body weight in one year and if his main source of fuel is breast milk… he is eating what you’re eating, so my advice… try to keep it healthy.
Drink LOTS of Water
Drink LOTS of water. Trust me on this! We should already be drinking half our body weight in ounces every day which means to keep a baby fed you need even more. If I ever noticed my milk supply dropping off I would almost drink so much I felt water logged and within a day or two my milk would be back to normal. My advice is take a water bottle with you everywhere. Contigo is probably my favorite. Why? Because I have all sorts of sticky hands and faces that prefer my water bottle over the dozens I buy them. A Contigo water bottle has it all when it comes to (Child proof). It has a lock, a lid and a nifty button that kids need to master in order to accomplish drinking out of your bottle and leaving behind all those appealing little floaties. Plus the one linked above doesn’t have a straw which is a major yes for me because straws are hard to clean and are just another way to trap germs. If you can’t stand the taste of water try some lemon or cucumber in a glass bottle (why glass? Because plastic breaks down and lemon breaks it down even faster). Try to drink 8 oz every time you pump.
*Bonus tip- this is a great way to flush all those toxins collected through pregnancy, delivery and your 6 week recovery.
Get a Good Pump
Once again, trust me! I have a cousin who tried to pump and she had a single hand pump. Yeah that is going to take forever and we are already crunching time as it is. Seriously there are not enough hours in the day and when you add a newborn to the mix… the hours basically fly out the window, so don’t waste your time on a cheap pump. I am in love with Medela, (next to the hospital pump which is Ah-MAZ-ING!) it is honestly one of the best pumps out there. It has a “stimulate” setting and you can adjust the pressure which is a must for some of us starting out. (ouch) It’s also easy to wash, sterilize, and travel with.
I hope you have good luck with your sweet newborn and I hope pumping is a good experience for you. I have so many people ask me how in the world I survived pumping each of my four babies and honestly it was easy. (The decision, not the act)
I love being able to slip in a room for ten minutes and then anyone else can help me feed my baby, especially the hubs. What a relief it is to take a tylenol p.m. once in a while and let your significant other help out and bond with the baby. Once I have a great routine down, I set my pumping routine to 4 times a day: When I wake up, around noon, around 4, and before I go to bed and I start this right around the time my babies hit 4 months. I can keep a good flow and even continue freezing for some time. Pumping is not for everyone so don’t worry if you’re reading this and thinking “uhhh, no way, I could never.” These are just a few insights I’ve gleaned over the years. Feel free to comment or contact me with any additional questions.