Jennifer’s Note: Hello, all. I’m finally through the first trimester yuck and working to get myself back on a blogging schedule. I have also invited a few of my close mom friends to share their motherhood journeys with you.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to my first guest-blogger. Laura is a mother of three who exclusively pumped for her first two children and is currently pumping for baby #3. We recently found out she is (and I mean this with respect and awe) a milk machine, so naturally we wanted to know how she did it. Laura was happy to share. Here she is…
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or licensed lactation consultant. I am a mother who has exclusively pumped for three children. I offer these tips mother-to-mother as a way to troubleshoot and get the most from your pumping experience. What worked for me might not work for you, and when in doubt you should consult a medical professional.
1. Have boobs that can do it.
Not everyone can supply their baby’s entire diet through pumping. If you’ve tried everything and your supply is not increasing, make your peace with the fact that you’re doing your best for your baby.
2. Hand compress while you pump.
You do not need to do this every time, but it is helpful at first to establish supply and pump quicker. Tutorials like this one are useful.
3. Get your boobs sleeping through the night.
You need sleep to do anything. Keep stretching how far you can go at night.
I would start this after a few weeks (once supply is established). I would really empty them at night and then really empty them again in the morning to get it all.
4. Empty your boobs fully each time.
Pump until no more milk is coming out. Not forever, but enough to build a solid supply.
5. Drink lots of water.
This one is self-explanatory for many reasons.
6. Do something to distract yourself from how long you are sitting around having your boobs tugged on all day.
I recommend binge watching TV shows or getting the library app to read on your phone.
7. Set mini goals to keep going.
Mini goals make the most daunting task seem manageable.
8. Turn up your pump as much as you can without blistering.
You waste time if the pump suction is too low. However, pay attention to your body – tearing up your nipples does you no good either.
9. Rotate frozen milk.
Rotate frozen milk so you don’t waste any, so baby is used to the taste, and so you feed from the same stage of life (Note: As long as milk is within storage guidelines, it is safe to feed; however, your milk does change with baby’s ages and stages).
10. Purchase helpful accessories.
Get a car adapter to pump in the car, a good hands free bra, and enough parts so you’re not constantly washing. Do what you can to make life easier.
11. Prepare for power outages.
Have a hand pump or formula ready in a pinch.
12. Research appropriate supplements/galactogogues.
I would pop fenugreek capsules at first. I would also eat oatmeal, and avoid mint and sage. Some of these might be wives’ tales, but they seemed to work for me! [Note: Use caution when starting a supplement routine. What is appropriate or safe for one mother may not be appropriate for all. For instance, some women have reported a supply decrease when taking fenugreek, while others saw marked improvements.]