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Thread: Finding Time to Pump

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    16

    Default Finding Time to Pump

    Hello,

    I am a first time mom with an 11 week old son. I started pumping using an electric pump when he was around 4-5 weeks old. The original information I read said not to double pump more than 15 minutes a day, so this has been my goal. I don't have a lot of output yet, but I see the link for maximizing production so I will look at that today.

    I am wondering a couple of things. One is how do other moms find time to pump? I am alone with baby most of the time and never feel like there's an ideal time to pump. I am always afraid he will get fussy or wake up or want to eat, etc. as soon as I start. I have pulled it off a couple of times, but most days I try to wait for my husband to get home and then there is so much to accomplish in the evenings that I often forget. I just moved the pump station to a tv table next to my bed so I can try to have more frequent access to it. Any tips? Is it OK to pump right after nursing? Or will my supply be lower then? I usually try to wait a while after nursing, but my baby is a frequent eater so that often doesn't work out well.

    Another thing I am wondering, assuming I find the time, is whether it is OK to pump more than once a day at this point. Is the initial 15 minutes/day rule for my nipples to adjust? Or my milk supply? I never feel overfull/engorged except first thing in the morning after baby, sleeps multiple hours. In fact, I often wonder if I am producing enough milk. I have large breasts so it's hard to tell how much is in there, but my baby has several wet diapers per day, so that is the standard measurement for getting enough milk.

    I feel like there are a million resources out there, but it's hard for me to find computer time with an 11 week old. I have also completely run out of extra funds for things like books, or I would buy one. I do own several books already and many of them have info on breastfeeding, but not many have info on pumping. I'd love to hear your opinions.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,960

    Default Re: Finding Time to Pump

    What is your pumping goal? Are you just looking to produce the occasional bottle for a sitter, do you want bottles to be a regular part of your life (like may e once a day or every couple of days), or are you soon returning to work and needing to create a stash for when you're at the office?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Finding Time to Pump

    Good question! I should have expressed that!

    I actually love breastfeeding, despite the difficulties involved. I do not want bottles to be a regular part of our life, at least not yet. I am also not going back to work, so that is not an issue, either. I would just like to have enough of a supply that I don't have to stress if I get a chance to go out on my own or if I leave my husband with the baby while I go grocery shopping, etc. Sometimes I bring a bottle to a social outing if I am apprehensive about breastfeeding or if I know I'm going to have an alcoholic beverage or two. At this point, if I know I am having lunch sans baby with a friend 5 days from now, I worry every day until then that I will have enough milk stored up. I currently have maybe 5 oz. in the fridge. I'd really like to get to a point where it isn't something I have to think about. If we get a chance to go to dinner and leave baby with a sitter, I want there to be milk ready already. I think if I wasn't so anxious about output, I might be able to relax more while pumping, as well. Does that make sense?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Finding Time to Pump

    I don't think you need to worry about having a lot of milk stored up. I do think in your situation, though, it is probably good for you to get a little bit of practice with the pump, which you've done. If I was going out to the store or dinner or something, I'd just try to pump that day or the day before. Then you can leave the milk in the fridge -- it can stay there for a few days. You'll probably only need to leave maybe 2-3 oz. unless you'll be out for a really long time -- and if you were out for that long you'd probably want to nurse or pump at some point anyway! You already have plenty for your lunch out with your friend.
    Mom to my sweet little "Pooper," born 10/12/11, and "Baby Brother," born 6/23/2014, and married to heavy metal husband. Working more than full-time, making healthy vegetarian meals for family, and trying to keep up with exercise routine.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    465

    Default Re: Finding Time to Pump

    I agree with the PP -- if you're only looking at occasional separations for social outings, you don't need to pump multiple times per day to have an adequate frozen stash. From a numbers perspective, the rule of thumb is that baby will need 1.0 to 1.5 ounces per hour away from you. So you can do the math on how many hours per week you anticipate being separated from baby, and your approximate yield per pump session, to figure out how much you need to pump to be prepared for your outings. So for example, let's say you will be away from baby 5-6 hours over the course of the week, and you get 3 oz per pump session, well then you only need to pump 2x in a week to have that amount on hand.

    As for the logistics, you can experiment with when to pump -- some moms do it right after nursing, some wait a little bit to pump in between nursing sessions. Most moms like to pump when their supply is highest, which is often in the mornings, just to get more "bang for the buck" with that pump session. Personally, I used to put baby in his swing around 10am for his morning nap, and use that time to pump.

    If you anticipate using the pumped milk within 5 days, you can leave it fresh in the fridge for the caregiver to use. If it's going to be used any later than that, you'll want to freeze it. I recommend freezing in small portions (like 2 oz) to minimize waste, because once frozen milk is defrosted it has a limited time window for consumption.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Finding Time to Pump

    Thanks for the reassurance, ladies!

    I can't even begin to express how much these forums are helping my stress level. I tend to over-plan for things, which is probably why this is weighing on my mind. I think I can get a good handle on things now. I don't have many outings without the baby or that I'd need a bottle for, and you're right that he only needs about 1.5 oz per hour I am gone.

    My output isn't usually great. Sometimes I can get 3 oz in one sitting, but it's often more like 1 oz. I think if I had 2 or 3 three oz servings in the freezer I'd have peace of mind, and it shouldn't take daily or more than daily pumping to get there quickly. In fact, the bottle I have in the fridge right now is a few days old and should probably be used this weekend, and I have no plans. So, no reason to feel like I don't have enough stocked up!

    Out of curiosity - how long does it take to defrost breastmilk? And do you defrost it at room temperature?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,209

    Default Re: Finding Time to Pump

    Breastfeeding is supply and demand, right? So when you are nursing exclusively, supply and demand eventually match up (often a mom may have some oversupply in the beginning, but this goes away over time). So really, if supply and demand are well matched up, it's not surprising that you wouldn't get much out of a pumping session. And keep in mind that a typical meal at the breast may only be 1 or 2 or 3 oz. All this to say, your pump output is quite normal. And if you were apart from baby and pumping instead of nursing, rather than in addition to nursing, you would likely get more milk out when you pump.

    There are different ways to defrost breastmilk. You can stick it in the fridge overnight. You can put it at room temperature. You can put it under running warm water or into a bowl of warm water. Obviously it will defrost faster under warm water than in the fridge or at room temperature! How long it take also depends on how much you are trying to defrost. But you can defrost a couple ounces fairly quickly with the warm water technique.

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