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Thread: Prepping to return to work - pumping

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2016

    Default Prepping to return to work - pumping


    Sorry if there is a post somewhere about this, but i cannot find one...

    My baby is 4 weeks old and is EBF. I will be returning to work part-time at 3 months. Luckily I work for my husband´s company and the office is super close to my house so I will have lots of flexibility. Nevertheless, I would like to go ahead and start preparing for the return to work... by starting to pump to see how much I need, how much I can pump... basically I want to get all the kinks worked out before returning to work. That way I can ensure my supply isn´t affected.

    Right now I just have a manual pump, but am in the process of selecting an electric pump that I will buy soon.

    I guess I´m just kinda lost as to how to start pumping as right now she only nurses. As I understand it, my body is producing only what she eats so if I start pumping I will be taking away from that supply??

    I have been looking online for a breast feeding/pumping plan to help moms get prepped to go back to work, but I haven´t found anything, which surprises me. I plan to nurse at night and in the mornings.

    BTW, I am taking fenugreek as I had or thought I had supply issues early on. Now that my supply is stable (baby is gaining weight well), I am going to slowly wean myself from that.

    Any suggestions on how to get started slowly?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Prepping to return to work - pumping

    There is no single pumping plan because each situation is so different. But there is good info out there to help you figure out how much milk to leave for baby and how to bottle feed a breastfed baby to prevent overfeeding and other issues. There are also good articles about what to expect when pumping, how to increase pump output if needed, etc. I will link info below.

    As I understand it, my body is producing only what she eats so if I start pumping I will be taking away from that supply??
    No this is not how it typically works. Normally lactating breasts are always making milk and mothers rarely make 'just enough' milk. Pumping many times a day might be problem if your milk production is truly borderline. But pumping once or twice a day would typically NOT take away milk from your baby, in fact pumping on top of your baby's normal nursing frequency will act to increase milk production.

    Many moms worry about when to pump. If you are concerned that there would not be enough for baby, the obvious answer is to pump directly after nursing. But many moms prefer to relax and let baby nurse to sleep and do not feel like disturbing baby by jumping up to pump. That is entirely fine. You can pump between sessions too. If baby wakes up or cues while you are pumping or just after, no worries. Put baby to the breast. Soon more milk will flow.

    If you wanted to start pumping now, you could. It you wanted to wait a few more weeks, that would also be entirely fine. Many moms vastly over estimate how much milk they actually have to have 'stashed" before returning to work. If you are responding well to pumping and will have adequate break time for pumping while at work, then all you really need to have before the first day back at work is enough for that first day, and as an example, that would be about 8-12 ounces for an 8 hour separation. But many moms wish to have a nice cushion and that is probably a good idea. How much of a cushion you will want will depend on many things. But let's imagine you wanted enough for first day back plus an extra 2 day's worth. That would be a total of 24-36 ounces. Let's take the average and say 30 ounces. If you needed 30 ounces and had 30 days, you could get that by pumping one ounce every day or 2 ounces every other day. And you could do it that way.

    Or, if you find you can pump 3 ounces at a time, and prefer to do that, you could do that for 10 total days. Or you could pump 2 times a day, and take 2 ounces each time for a total of 4 ounces, and then you would be able to get the milk you need in even fewer days. Etc etc. As you can see, as long as mom has a little time, there are so many possible options.

    Now of course you will probably want to give your baby some bottles before you return to work. This is not strictly necessary, but most moms feel better if they know baby will take a bottle before they go back to work. So of course you would also need to pump milk for that. But how much? In fact if all you need the expressed milk for is to get baby used to the bottle, those bottles are for practice and consequently can be both small (an ounce or so) and infrequent (a few times a week, not daily.)

    Here is some info:
    Bottle feeding breastfed baby: (Second page covers milk handling guidelines) http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...fyour_milk.pdf
    Milk storage guidelines: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...toringmilk.pdf
    How much milk will baby need (with calculator) http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/pumping/milkcalc/
    Pumping - what is normal and tips: http://kellymom.com/hot-topics/pumping_decrease/

    Kellymom has a wealth of knowledge if you want to explore that site further, I recommend it.

    The book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition) answers just about every breastfeeding question a mom may have, and a good part of the book is devoted to pumping and handling separations.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; November 25th, 2016 at 01:22 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Re: Prepping to return to work - pumping

    I pumped an oz or 1.5 oz a morning. If I pumped much more I frustrated my baby. I started before 4 weeks and stopped when I had 20 some oz, or so. I do regret not trialing bottle more because my 12 week old just screamed at the bottle and it has made for a rough return for both of us. My husband brought her for lunch break to nurse then.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2016

    Default Re: Prepping to return to work - pumping

    Thanks so much for your response! I had read all the links you posted, but your response kinda puts everything into a little plan to start for me. I was a bit overwhelmed with info. Sometimes I read and read and read and then I get paralyzed and just don´t do anything.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!

    Default Re: Prepping to return to work - pumping

    Here's the thing- you don't need a huge stash to start with. You only need enough to cover your 1st day away from the child. Then, hopefully you will pump WHILE AWAY from your baby as you would feed while together. On average the baby will drink 1-1.5 oz of milk for every hour away from you. So 8-12oz if you are going to be away 8hours. So if you have 15-20 oz like Krystine said, you should be fine. So the way it will work is, The 1st day you send all frozen milk. The 1st day you pump (hopefully) the amount baby needs and you leave the fresh milk with DCP when you pick up baby. That milk stays in fridge. If there are issues with leaving it there you take it home but that is the milk you leave for Tues. Repeat all week. Fridays milk gets taken home and frozen. Any extra milk that you still have stashed in freezer is what you pull out Monday morning. So that the oldest milk is always coming out and getting used before it has to be wasted.
    I like Krystine could get a yield 1st thing in the morning that in no way affected my supply or my baby's intake. I could actually get more like 4-6 oz in 15 minutes. Try every day when you get up to pee. See what kind of yield you get. Most women have an abundance after sleeping.

    Way too lazy for formula

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