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Thread: Pumping & back to work questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    50

    Question Pumping & back to work questions

    Hello, I have begun my 2nd week back to work and I'm not quite as depressed as I thought I'd be when this time finally came. I have some general questions about the most efficient ways to pump my milk.

    1) Is it better to pump less frequently, like twice a day (every 4 hours) to let my milk supply build up? Or more frequently, like every 2 hours and just get smaller amounts?

    2) When I pump, which is best for optimal production: Should I pump until my breasts are completely "empty" (until no comes out)? Or should I only partially empty them at each pumping session?

    3) Should I pump just before going home, or should I let my supply rebuild a bit before going to feed DD? (I have a 1/2 hr drive and don't know if that's long enough to build up a full meal for her)

    Thanks in advance!
    Cindy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Pumping & back to work questions

    Hi! I have been back to work for almost 7 months now and have been pumping everyday for my baby.
    1. I find that during an 8 hour shift, I pump 3 times a time. I get to work at 8:30, pump at 10:15, 1:15ish and 3:30; then I go home at 5:00 and end up nursing my baby at 5:40. In my experience, it helps milk production to pump more often in smaller intervals of time.
    2. Pumping until your breasts are "empty" is definitely optimal, that way your body knows to make more milk. When I have my first let down, the milk comes out really fast in like 5 or 6 streams. Then after about 8 minutes or so, it slows down to 1 or 2 slower streams. Then a few minutes later, it sort of tapers off. Then, if I have time, I'll pump for a little while longer to get another mini letdown or to stimulate for milk production for my next pumping session. (I'm not sure if there's anything to that, but it does seem to help me if I'm having an end-of-the-week issue w/ supply.)
    3. I don't think that you should pump right before you go home, but sometimes I pump just an hour before I go home and Autumn gets enough milk when we get home. Sometimes she just has to nurse a little longer than other times to get the same amount of milk, depending of when I last pumped. Remeber, your baby is more efficient at getting milk than any pump could be, so it shouldn't really be too big of a deal if you pump later in the day.
    Well, I hope this helped a little bit... I'm here (at work) all day if you any other questions for me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Pumping & back to work questions

    Thank you very much for the detailed reply. I did think of two more questions for you:
    1) Do you find that you get less milk at each consecutive pumping session? I have also been pumping 3x's a day and at the first session I tend to get 10 to 12 oz, 4 to 6 oz at the second and only 2 to 3 at the 3rd. Is this to be expected?
    2) Do you pump for "right on time" feeding, or do you keep a frozen surplus supply? I ask because I've heard that it is much better to provide bottled EBM that has not been frozen. This, after I've developed a pattern of taking my milk home and putting it straight into the freezer and rotating it out to the fridge in a first pumped, first used process.

    Thanks again!
    Cindy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Pumping & back to work questions

    Hi, Sorry this took so long. Work got kind of busy for a few minutes...
    1. Yes, the amount does sometimes seem to fluctuate during the day. Sometimes I'll get less towards the end of the day or very little during the first pumping session. It really seems to depend on how much Autumn nursed before going to day care. Like today, she nursed a lot really early in the morning but not so much before going to day care, so I got a lot of milk on my first session. So, yes it's definitely normal. Sometimes I even find that it happens throughout the week too. Like on Monday, I'll get a lot, but by Friday, I might get a little less and have to pump longer than normal. The weekend always brings the supply back though.
    2. It's funny you ask this because I had a system set up too where I would freeze it right away in rotation and thaw some out for the next day. Then I heard the same thing as you that it's best to feed the new milk right away. So I've started using mainly unfrozen milk, but I do want to keep up a freezer supply, so I occasionally thaw the frozen milk and use it so I can freeze the freshly pumped milk.
    HTH!

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