March 6, 2009

Secrets to Working and Pumping

Mom with breast pump

by Patty Hone

When I had my first son I hadn’t planned to go back to work. I suddenly had to return to the workforce when he was three months old. I was completely unprepared and my son went from an exclusively breastfeeding baby to a mostly formula baby within a short period of time. I learned a lot from my experience with him and was much more prepared when I had my daughter. I was able to exclusively breastfeed her and work full time. Because of what I went through, the emotions of trying to pump enough milk for the next day, I wanted to gather up all my tips and write them down for others to use.

I hope that you find these tips helpful.

1. Plan ahead if possible. Get a freezer stash going before you go back to work.

2. Do not just pump at work. Pump at home on your days off and before and after work.

3. Pump while nursing. Pump on one side while nursing on the other.
[ad#ad-2] 4. Find a good place to pump, where you are comfortable and can relax.

5. Make sure everyone at work knows how important breastfeeding is and not to interrupt you.

6. Drink plenty of fluids through out the day. Drink a large glass of water about an hour before you are going to pump.

7. Use a good quality double breast pump like the Ameda Purely Yours or Medela Pump in Style.

8. If your supply is dwindling rent a hospital grade pump.

9. Find other moms to talk to that are breastfeeding and pumping.

10. Do not get discouraged if you don’t pump a large volume at once. Most moms pump around three oz per pumping.

11. Pump frequently. Pumping frequently is more important than how long you pump.

12. Try to pump at least every three hours.

13. Pumping is NOT as efficient as nursing. Do not gauge your milk supply by how much you pump. Your baby will get more milk from nursing than you will make from pumping.

14. Before you nurse, relax and do a quick breast massage. This will help you get a better let down.

15. Any time you give your baby a bottle make sure you pump in place of that.

16. Nurse frequently at night or try reverse cycling. Reverse cycling is when baby nurses more at night than during the day.

17. Co-sleep with baby if you are comfortable so he can nurse more at night. Nursing at night will help your supply.

18. Try drinking Mothers Milk tea.

19. Eat a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Oatmeal is really good for boosting milk supply.

20. Avoid giving bottle to baby before he is three weeks.

21. Use a slow flow nipple for your bottles.

22. Find a day care provider that is a breastfeeding supporter. An uneducated day care provider can sabotage your success.

23. Take Fenugreek or Blessed Thistle

24. If you need to supplement when you are home use a Supplemental Nursing System.

25. Do not assume because baby is fussing it is your supply. Many times baby will fuss for other reasons.

26. When preparing bottles for day care, store them in three oz portions. Your baby will likely only need three oz at a time. If he needs more up it to four.

27. Send small 2 oz bottles of breast milk for day care provider to give to baby if you will be picking him up soon. This way baby will be ready to nurse when you get him home.

28. Nurse on your lunch break if you can.

29. Take picture of baby with you to work. Look at your baby when you are pumping. It will help with your let down.

30. Have a nurse in. On the weekend spend the entire weekend in bed with your baby and nurse as frequently as you can.

31. During pumping session, take a break when your milk stops flowing. Massage your breast and use nipple stimulation to get a second let down. You will usually get another oz or so if you can get a second let down.

32. Cut down on caffeine. Caffeine will hinder your supply

33. Don’t do extreme dieting. Eat a healthy diet.

34. Contact a La Leche League Leader or lactation consultant for advice.

35. Avoid using bottles and pacifiers when you are home.

36. Try switch nursing when you are home. Nurse on one side then switch to the other when baby seems to be getting fussy. Switch sides two or three times while nursing.

37. Remind yourself of all the benefits your baby is getting and that it’s worth it!

38. Keep your pump pre-assembled so that you can keep your pumping breaks shorter.

39. If your using a pump with horns put them in a Ziploc bag and store them in the freezer between pumpings. This way you can just wash them when you get home.

40. If you can, do paperwork while pumping. This way you can have more pumping breaks and you will relax more if you are not focused on pumping.

41. Don’t watch the pump. Staring at the pump watching for milk will make your session more stressful.

42. Adjust the suction controls, experiment with the speed and suction until you find what works best for you.

43. Keep spare parts readily available for your pump so you don’t have any emergencies.

44. If you own a hands free pump like whisperwear try pumping on the drive to work.

45. Massage your breasts while you pump.

46. Pump in the morning. Your supply is best in the morning.

47. Bring a baby blanket or item of clothing that smells like baby. Use your senses to visualize your baby.

48. Close your eyes and picture baby nursing.

49. Keep a back up pump at work or in your car in case you forget. The Avent Isis is affordable and a great pump to have for a backup.

50. Pat yourself on the back for giving your baby the best!

About The Author – Patty Hone is a wife and mommy to three kids. She is also the owner of For quality breast pumps, slings, and other attachment parenting products please visit her site at

Breastfeeding Comprehensive Video – Learn the basics of breastfeeding, including how to express breastmilk, with high-quality video footages and advice from experts

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