Pumping for Returning to Work

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If you are planning to go back to work, you will need to build up a supply of breast milk for your baby to have after you are at work. It may seem impossible that you will ever be able to pump because you spend so much time breastfeeding. Here are some suggestions:

-  Get a good pump [see the Medela range of Breast Pumps here] – there are several brands that have good pumps, but you definitely want an electric pump. A manual pump will be too cumbersome and take too long if you are going to pumping on a regular basis.

— Be patient – you won’t get much milk at first from pumping, but as you gradually build up a supply and as your milk comes in more, you will get more and more by pumping.

— Choose one feeding in the AM and only feed your baby on one breast. Pump the other breast (you can actually pump both – the extra stimulation helps you develop a stronger milk supply!).

— After a “shorter” feeding, pump both breasts to get whatever remaining milk is left (there won’t be much, but that is how you slowly start to build up a supply).

— Do an extra feeding. If your baby normally eats at 10 am and naps til noon – do another feeding at 11 AM while the baby is napping.

— If your baby sleeps for a long stretch at night, pump about an hour after you put him down. That will give you a good supply and will make you less “engorged” when you feed him during the middle of the night.

— Be consistent. If you add an extra “feeding” by pumping (either in the AM or PM), do it at the same time everyday. That way your body will learn that it needs to supply extra milk at that time everyday.

— When you give your baby a bottle for the first time, he should be at least 6-8 weeks old. You don’t want to introduce it too soon or the baby won’t want to go back on the breast. Drinking from a bottle uses different mouth motions and is easier because the milk comes all at once and the baby doesn’t have to wait for your let-down. But you also don’t want to wait too long or the baby may never take the bottle. Have someone other then you give him a bottle once per week starting at least two weeks to a month before you plan on returning to work.

— Massage your breasts while pumping starting at the outer edges and working your way in – this will help to empty the milk ducts.

— Make sure your nipple isn’t hitting the edge of the pump shield to avoid irritation. Many people who buy breast pumps end up having to get a larger or smaller breast shield for pumping. The size of the breast shield that you need is dependent on the size of your nipples, not on the size of your breasts – so don’t think that you don’t need one because you have small breasts