Milk Supply


The thought of going back to work was pretty stressful. I mean being apart from your new baby for that length of time is scary. But what really freaked me out the most was having enough milk stocked up. I’m determined to provide milk for Hudson until he’s 1 or so. 
Being new to this though, I don’t think I know or have all the answers, but I will share what’s worked for me and how I’ve managed this hard transition from being home all day to going back to work. 
Prep
I started pumping when Hudson was around 10-11 weeks. Mainly because he was a super hungry dude and bottles worked better in 1) getting him full 2) in less amount of time. 
About a month out from going back to work, I really started to build up my bottles. It was great having a couple handy for weekends (going out to lunch and grocery shopping) they were perfect for preventing melt downs, but I knew I needed to up my game since I was going back to work. But you gotta start slow, less pressure you put on yourself the better.
Staying hydrated really helped with my supply too – drink a ton of water. 
Keep the nipple cream handy. The plastic will provide a different kind of sore, but just like nursing it’ll get better.
Key Times
Know what times produce the most. The times in which you produce the most, pump exclusively. 
Every morning I can pump around 9-10oz of milk, where Hudson will drink 6-7oz in a bottle. I’m up 3-4oz or so and that’s where you start building the supply. Know which times are the best for you and pump your little heart out. Morning and night are my sweet spots, but it works great for Hudson too. Mornings he’s starving from sleeping 8-9 hours and at night, we want to fill that tummy up to the brim so he sleeps all night long. We’ve found bottles are the best for those feedings specifically. 
Weaning 
It’s common sense but it’s hard to break – nursing and pumping don’t truly mix. Hudson is 17 weeks now and the only time I nurse are when he get’s up in the middle of night or super early in the morning. Other than that, he’s all bottle. He typically drinks (6) bottles a day, 5-8oz per bottle. Little guy can drink! But the more I nursed, the less I pumped. And I knew I needed to pump more and nurse less. Again, I started with dropping the morning feeding and the bedtime feeding and bottle fed him instead. 
Work the Schedule 
Around the time you go back to work – your babe should be on 7-6 feedings a day. Hopefully (2) of those by now are bottle feedings. When Hudson would go down for a nap (hopefully an hour or so after I nursed) I would pump. Pump anything. At first it feels like there is either a baby on you or a machine, but once you start building up the milk, you can’t stop. You’re super woman! The pressure of having enough milk will slowly melt away. 
Soon most* of your baby’s feedings will be bottles, so then you can alternatively pump. 
The more you pump, the more stimulated you’ll get and things will get easier.
The ultimate goal is to pump when you would normally feed him – every 3 hours or so. 
Magic Number 
I feel the best when I have (4) bottles in the fridge. My husband and I give Hudson his morning and evening bottle so our nanny or Hudson’s grandma will give him 3-4 bottles throughout the day. I’m fortunate that I can come home at lunch so I bring what I pumped that morning (typically 8 oz or so) and then I come home with another 8-10oz bottle.
Anytime I get more than (4) bottles in the fridge, I freeze the excess. It’s also peace of mind having some stocked away in the freezer – plus frozen breastmilk has amazing shelf life! 
Know how many you need and feel good about it. Anything extra put in the freezer.  
Pumping at Work 
The key is to be scheduled. Pump every 2-3 hours (when your little one would typically eat). 
Continue to drink a ton of water and don’t let the stress of work interfere. 
If you are having an absolutely crazy day and you’ve gone 4 hours and haven’t pumped – force yourself to take the time. Maybe bring your computer and work while you pump. 

I always have my phone on me so I can stay connected, but I typically pump 20 mins, 3 times a day. Some days are less, but that’s okay. It’s important to be nimble and flexible. As a mom you totally get that things happen and stressing out ultimately doesn’t help anyway. But with that being said, it can and will be stressful… just do your best. That is always enough. 

Other reference I found helpful: Extreme Pumping Tips & Tricks

Comments

  1. Wow! You are AMAZING!!! How did you figure all this out on your own? So basically he is exclusively breast milk bottle fed? That's so impressive to me that you don't even have to use formula!! And wow, he drinks a lot!! What a healthy guy! 😉 When I pump I found it tiring bc it would take thirty minutes and not even get a full 7oz and then I'd have to spend time feeding him after…but the pump was a real lifesaver the first month when it was so painful to breastfeed!! I'm really impressed by your supply! It's also great that your husband can feed him while you pump. And that's great that you can pump at work that often! I didn't know how strict companies are about taking breaks to pump. It seems like a lot of work but you really are committed! Thanks for all the tips!!

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