To go along with my breastfeeding post, some people had asked about what it was like to pump and go back to work. So here it is. Again, I’m no expert. This is just what has worked for me.
When Hayden was about 2 weeks old I started pumping after every feeding because I knew I wanted to get a good stash built up for when I went back to work. I was also never really comfortable nursing in public so I also wanted to be able to give him a bottle when we were out and about.
I had a pretty good freezer stash built up by the time I went back to work at 10 weeks.
From talking to other moms and what I had read, I figured out that I would need to pump about every 3 hours while I was away from Hayden.
The general rule of thumb is that you need to pump as many times as the baby is eating while away from you. You basically need to “replace” those feedings with pumping sessions.
For me, it worked to nurse Hayden first thing when he/I woke up and then pump right after.
*I would always pump after every nursing session to make sure I “got” everything out.*
Once I got to work I would pump at roughly 9 am, noon, and 3 pm. Then I would nurse him when we got home from work/daycare and pump right after that. I would also nurse him before he went to bed and then I would pump again before I went to bed for the night.
I never once woke up to pump in the middle of the night. Hayden started sleeping through the night at 4 weeks old so my body just adjusted to that long stretch from the beginning. We did go through a few periods (hello 4 month sleep regression!) where he would wake in the night and I would nurse him back to sleep. Thankfully he never really got into a habit of that.
Now that he is older we’ve just gradually adjusted the schedule. I have always had the philosophy of letting Hayden dictate his eating schedule. I know this doesn’t work for some people, but it’s worked for us. When he was first born I just always fed him on demand and a schedule just sort of worked itself out from there.
After we introduced solids (around 5 months) he slowly began drinking less during the day BUT I have still kept up my 3 pumping sessions at work. Now I typically only pump once at night (before bed).
Now that Hayden sleeps until about 7 am, I pump when I wake up and then just give him that milk when he wakes up. During the day he gets frozen milk from the stash, and at home at night he gets whatever I have pumped from the day. Anything leftover from that day gets frozen.
I just take a cooler bag full of frozen milk to daycare and when she’s running low she lets me know. Right now he’s drinking milk that’s from the end of November so I have a good two months built up.
I know pumping at work can be difficult for people depending upon your situation. It has been easy for me because I have my own office. I just shut and lock the door and everyone knows not to bother me. I know others (teachers and nurses especially) whose schedules just don’t allow for them to pump as often. I’m thankful that it’s been quite easy for me. Although I do worry about the guys’ whose offices are next to mine and if they get annoyed by the loud pumping sound every 3 hours haha! Oh well 🙂
Some days I don’t think the pumping thing is so bad but others I don’t think I can make it another day. I know I have a couple months worth of milk frozen so I feel like if I can just make it about 2 more months we can easily get Hayden to the 12 month mark with just mama’s milk. That’s something that I would be so proud of, but again, I’m not going to stress over it. It would be ideal, but if not, it’s not the end of the world.
I have a post coming up with all of the “things” you need to be successful with breastfeeding and pumping.
If you have questions let me know! mkuhlman32 (at) hotmail