The @WHO says that, “Mothers and babies form an inseparable biological and social unit; the health and nutrition of one group cannot be divorced from the health and nutrition of the other.” And yet somehow I had to justify the need to pump milk at work.
Anyway, based on my extensive experience of pumping for a full 3 months this time around, :-) I have come up with 10 tips that moms like me could use. Please note these are tips that I have concluded based on my experience and may be different from what might work for you.
🍼Invest in a good hands free pumping/nursing bra. Trust me ladies, you want those hands free so you can catch up on reading or watching a show, or eating, or taking a power nap.
🍼 Pump when you feel full (for me it is usually every 4 hours or so now). Initially I pumped every 2 hours when Veer slept for longer or else fed him on demand. I knew I had to go back to work as my maternity leave was only 12 weeks and didn't want the transition to be difficult for him so I started pumping and introduced the bottle to him slowly with each feed.
🍼 When exclusively pumping, pump at least once in the night if milk supply is less. For me, I pump right before I sleep and then first thing in the morning (which is usually a 6 hours gap).
🍼 Every drop counts, and don't be hard on yourself if you pumped more or else in one session. Trust me if you feel stressed it is going to affect your milk supply. Try to have happy thoughts, try thinking about your baby. Being distracted is better than being overly focused on the level in the bottle.
🍼 Pump a couple extra times on the weekend if you can. As I see patients most days, I have to follow a very strict 30 minute pump and eat schedule while at work and have to stop pumping even if I am not done coz my patients are waiting. Knowing that I have a little extra from the weekend on reserve makes my work-week pumping sessions less stressful.
🍼 Leave a pump at work if you can. To be honest I am still working on this one coz I have still not found my perfect fit. I lug around my breast pump but I have one from Laksh's time that I am planning to leave at work once my full time location is settled.
🍼 Wash parts with warm water and air dry in between sessions while at work and once you get home wash with soap and water and run it in a sterilizer. You can also store the parts in the fridge while at work in a ziplock bag if there is no access to water, but make sure you clean thoroughly when you home.
🍼 Store the milk using something called the 'bricking'. It is a life changer and I only learned about it through another mom a few weeks back. It saves so much space and is super efficient to keep track of the dates.
🍼 Write words of encouragement, note to your future self, or something that seems like a big dilemma to you right now on the storage bag, and see how you feel about it when you do end up using the milk.
And last but not least,
🍼 Remember, exclusively pumping is also breastfeeding. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.