As promise! I want to write an update on my breast pumping routine and how I’m storing my milk. I mentioned in my last post my goal is to stop breast pumping when I reach 6-8 months. It’s been my goal since day 1, so as soon as my milk came in I started storing them if I have left over. In my last post, I wrote about how breastfeeding/pumping sucks. I’m in month 2, well, it sucks less…. I’m not in pain like I was in month 1, it does get better and easier.
Here are some the common questions I always get:
It’s so much work!! Why don’t you just breastfeed?
I’ve always been a busy body, I function better when I’m multi-tasking. Even though I’m on maternity leave, I still run my shop, blog and I am still on the CDWPAC – Centennial College teaching association which meets once every couple of weeks. Along with all that, I am so OCD, so you can expect my house to be spotlessly clean and tidy. I still cook 4-5 times a week and of course taking care of baby! For me, it’s MUCH easier for me to schedule my pumping time than to whip out my boob whenever my baby is crying for food. I’m such a structure person, if I were to breastfeed, I can’t control when she’s hungry…. but I can control when I want to pump and make my day work around it. It’s also less stressful for me.
Bottles, bottles, and bottles!
I’ve often get asked, you must have 3483795847 bottles to wash every day. Why put yourself through that? It’s actually not that bad! within 24hours – she uses 7 bottles. So…. really I have to wash only 7 bottles once a day. I raise my pumping bottles after each pump (I currently only pump 5 times a day). So, to me it’s really not that much of a hassle to wash all the bottles. I’ll get into my routine later in the post. In month 2, my baby is sleeping a good 7-8 hours throughout the night (HELLO SLEEP!!!!!), also means less bottles. She was at 8-9 bottles the first month.
You can’t bond with your child
Who says you can only bond with your child through breastfeeding? I’m still holding my child when I’m feeding her the bottle. I read and make eye contact with her while she’s feeding. My husband and I bath her together, and the best part? When I’m tired…. my husband can feed her! Or other family members can feed her too! So, this way I can have a break.
Does it feel weird?
Pumping? Not at all! I have a low tolerance for pain, don’t ask me how I gave a natural birth with an 8.3lb baby. But believe me, I have a low tolerance for pain. I’m actually more scared to breastfeed my child! I do use a nipple guard when I have to breastfeed her. I know I am a different species when it comes to breastfeeding, I’m in the small percentage of mothers who would rather pump than breastfeed, but if you read my birthing story, it’s actually not that surprising. I’m just not a very emotional, cuddling, attached kinda gal. The less bonding, less emotional talking is better for me.
There are both pros and cons with breastfeeding and breast pumping, it really comes down to what works for you! I see way too many women being judged how they “mother” their child. I’m always been very outspoken and very strong willed and not easily influenced. So, I’m the last person to judge any mother of what they do unless they are harming or neglecting their child. There’s really no wrong or right way to nurse your child, as long as they are getting the nutrients they need! Formula or breast milk.
How much milk do you get per pump?
My morning pump has the largest supply (roughly 250 – 300ml), then throughout the day I get about 120ml to 200 ml). So roughly I get 730ml to 1100ml. It depends on the day. Drinking water, or mother’s milk tea and eating lactation cookies helps!
Don’t be surprised if one side produces more than the other side…. which results in one boob is bigger than the other…. oh the joy of breastfeeding.
Pros and Cons
Here are some of the pros and cons I see since breast pumping
I can pump according to my schedule
I don’t always have to do the feeding – Grandma to the rescue! I can leave Ariya with her while I run errands and not have to worry she might cry for my boob. I have my milk supply ready for Grandma to feed her.
I have an option of storing my milk
Once I have enough milk, I’m can stop pumping
Know exactly how much your baby is taking each feed
Hands-free pumping (I have the pumping bra) so I can do other tasks while I’m pumping
There is cleaning involved (pump, bottles and the topless pumping bra)
There’s no skin to skin feeding
Do have to be very organized
It’s messy – took me awhile to not spill my breastmilk all over the house
There are lots of parts/bottles to carry
Here’s my day to day routine (roughly):
[First pump 9 AM: Pump for 15 -20 mins] I wake up and the first thing I do is pump for 15mins -20 mins. My last pump for the day is usually at 11 pm or 12 am, so I do go a good 9- 10 hours of not pumping. I’m way too lazy to pump at night. I get roughly 300ml for the morning pump! Once I’m done, I’ll start cleaning all the used bottles from the night before. I use the Aleva for washing the baby bottle soap. Throw them all in the big pot and boil them for roughly 10 mins. Once boiled, I will remove the bottles and place them all in the drying rack.
[Second pump 1pm: Pump for 15 mins] I usually space out a good 4 hours before I do the next pump. During this 4 hour period, sometimes my baby will wake up for a feed, sometimes not. But usually I do get a good 4 hours of me time. Either it be cleaning the house or working on my orders or just Netflix for 4 hours.
[Third pump 5pm: Pump for 15 mins] I normally do my 3rd pump around 5pm after I finish cooking dinner. I usually start cooking dinner around 4:15PM so wen my husband comes home – everything is ready to eat!
[Fourth pump 9 pm: Pump for 15 mins] Depending on how full I feel that day. I sometimes skip this pump and go straight to the 11 or 12am pump.
[Fifth and final pump 11 pm or 12 am: Pump for 15 mins] Before I go to bed, I will for sure pump just to clear out my breasts for the night. By the next morning, I’m usually pretty full.
And voila! That’s usually my pumping routine. Of course, this is my home routine, if I have to go out that day for appointments, I will adjust my pumping schedule. And if I have to be out for longer than 5 hours – I do bring my pump out with me and a cooler bag to keep my milk refrigerated. I’ve actually pumped in the back of my SUV plenty of times. I’m SO glad it’s tinted and I normally do keep a muslin blanket in the car just in case.
Because breast pumping has so many parts. I store them all in my little basket (got this from the dollar store) it makes carrying this around the house so much easier. No mess, no spills. I got the cooler bag from winners (Skip hop for $12) best investment ever. I use that nightly when I go to bed, it was SO helpful during the 1st month when my baby was waking every 2-3 hours for a feeding. I REALLY did not want to go down get the milk and go back upstairs. So, I will store 2 bottles of milk in the cooler bag for the night. It was a life saver because it saved me a trip going up and down the stairs at 3am in the morning. So if you are pumping, you might want to invest in a cooler bag as well! Also, it’s very useful when you are out too.
NOTE: You will notice my pumping schedule only consists 4-5 times of pumping within 24 hours. If this is your first month after birth, you should be pumping at least 6 times a day. I was pumping every 3 hours on the dot for the first month to establish my milk supply. I still wasn’t pumping throughout the night… but during waking hours, you should be pumping every 3 hours to get your milk supply coming!
So, there you have it! I wouldn’t say breastfeeding is “easier” or breast pumping is “easier than breast feeding” I think they both requires work, but if I were to get preggo again.. I will still choose breast pumping. It just works for me. I do get it’s not for everyone, it requires so much planning and organizing. But hey! It’s not surprising it’s “easier” for me because my career involves planning years and years ahead… so, this is rather easy for me!
Hope this was helpful for those who are thinking of breast pumping.
Thanks so much for reading!