I was fortunate enough to have great luck breastfeeding and pumping with Patrick. A year or so ago I even blogged all about my routine and how I went about "extreme pumping."
Before Rosie was born, I posted about some anxieties and excitements I was having about baby #2. Fortunately, again, it seems most of my anxieties were unwarranted--things have gone swimmingly since Rosie has come into our family. One of my anxieties was about having success nursing and pumping--for whatever reason I had this fear that I wouldn't be able to do either like I did with Patrick. Well, as luck would have it, that anxiety was unfounded and I've had a lot of success again with nursing and pumping.
I thought I'd go ahead and blog what I'm doing this time, and some things I've found/realized doing this nursing and pumping thing the second time around. Hopefully this post will pose useful to someone else AND maybe be some friendly reminders to myself if and when #3 comes along, to qualm some pre-baby anxieties I might have the next go'round. I thought I'd first start with my pumping/nursing schedule and routine, and then go into some points (reminders) that are mostly for myself when I'm re-reading this post before #3 comes along.
I started pumping after feedings with Rosie from day 1 in the hospital. Going back to my breastfeeding class I took when I was pregnant with Patrick, the lactation consultant said if you want to jump-start your supply from the get-go, pump, and pump often. So, I did this with Patrick (and it worked!) and did it with Rosie too. Immediately after my c-section and I was in my room for the next 5 days, I asked my nurse to bring me a pump so I could start pumping to build my supply (especially since I was never in labor). Since this was my second kiddo I wasn't questioned on why I wanted to do this, they just brought it to me.
From the first day in the hospital, I committed to pumping (from both sides) 3 to 4 times a day to build my supply, and so my boobies could get use to a pump (believe it or not, a lot of women don't respond to producing milk from a pump, but do from their baby!). Disclaimer: pumping sucks. It's time consuming and tedious. BUT, it you get one of these bad boys you can at least pump and have your hands free to Facebook stalk people.
Since Rosie was born I always pumped after I fed her, and pumped from both sides. This tricked my body into thinking the baby was really hungry and would need to eat for 5-10 minutes after the real baby had stopped eating, therefore producing more milk. Once my milk came in (about 56 hours after my c-section), it slowly started to build in how much milk I was making during each feeding/pumping session.
The first few weeks you're really feeding baby on demand 'round the clock, so it's hard to get a concrete schedule ironed out--so I just told myself I would need to find some time 3 to 4 times a day to pump after I fed Rosie. Easier said than done, but you just have to commit yourself to doing it those first few weeks if you want to build your milk supply, because your supply is really built within those first several weeks after baby is born.
Fast-forwarded to now, 10 weeks post birth. I am still pumping 3-4 times a day, but not to build my supply (it's built and well-established!), but for relief. I am an overproducer of breastmilk, and my body makes way more than Rosie can eat, therefore I pump. This oversupply is largely due to my pumping and working so hard to build my supply from day 1, but I'll take it, and actually that's what I was aiming for (more on that later).
the result of a 10 minute pumping session right before I went to sleep for the night.
1000+ ounces of milk I donated after following my routine for 9 weeks.
Here is our typical schedule for nursing/pumping for a 24 hour period. I am fortunately building a nice stockpile in my deep freezer of excess milk that I have on reserve if need be (aka night out, or an unexpected trip away from Rosie), but mostly it's a stockpile that I'm building to be donated. Eventually Rosie will drop the 3am-ish nursing session and then I'll be training my boobs to go from 10pm till I wake up for the day, therefore dropping a nursing and pumping session--but, this will happen as babe gets older and doesn't nurse/feed as often.
- 8:00am - Rosie wakes up for the day, I nurse her
- 10:00am - Rosie nurses again, I pump out about 10oz
- 1:00pm - Rosie nurses
- 3:00pm - Rosie nurses, I pump out about 10oz
- 5:00pm - Rosie nurses
- 7:00pm - Rosie nurses
- 8:30pm - Rosie eats a 5oz breastmilk bottle from dad, goes to bed
- 10:00pm - I pump out about 10oz
- between 3:30 - 5:00am - Rosie nurses, I pump out about 15 - 20oz
- 8:00am - REPEAT!
So I'm freezing between 40 - 50 oz. of milk a day, and making a 5 oz. bottle for the fridge for her to take the next night before bed (getting her use to taking a bottle since I'll be going back to work at the end of the summer). Again, this routine is all attributed to jump-starting my supply from day 1 by pumping after feeding 3 - 4 times a day.
When I go back to work, obviously I won't be nursing Rosie throughout the day, so instead I'll be pumping a couple times at work instead, and she'll be getting bottles with dad or with a sitter, so this schedule will change a bit.
I'm not saying this exact routine will give you the same results, but it definitely will help you build your supply and keep it up! Obviously there are tons of other factors that can contribute to your supply (what you're eating, drinking, stress levels, etc...). Without going into too much detail, a little insight into these other contributing factors for me:
- I drink a TON of water, all day and night. I always have a jug of ice water within reach at all times (I am thirsty, but staying hydrated keeps your milk supply up!)
- I take Juice Plus orchard, garden, and vineyard blend capsules (2 of each) once a day, and have been for the past year.
- I take an allergy pill and asthma control pill, because I have horrid allergies and I'm all about preventing an asthma attack
- I eat heartily -- I'm not the healthiest eater, but I do make sure I'm eating enough to keep my supply up and eating a variety of different foods
- I use chasing a 2 year old around as my means of exercise -- and, according to the fitness tracker on my Apple Watch, it's working!
These points below are mostly for me, because I totally forgot about already knowing these things (having experienced them with Patrick) when I had Rosie, but I figured I'd write them down for anyone else to benefit from too.
- It takes a while for your supply to build up. It's unlikely that you'll pump out 5+ ounces on each side from week 1. Give yourself and your body time.
- Nursing + pumping will increase your supply. You're tricking your body to respond to not only your baby but another "baby" (pump) as well.
- Your supply is really built in the first few weeks after birth. Focus on these weeks when building your supply. You can definitely increase/decrease supply later on, but it requires a bit more work.
- Your body will respond to what you want it to do. If you want your milk on a schedule, make it happen--your body will listen. This may take several days to 'regulate', but it will happen. Trust your body, and then tell it what you want it to do (this also comes in handy when it's time to wean or stop nursing/pumping)
- Lanolin is your friend: use it, and use it often from the very beginning. The only thing it can do is help! Sore nips are no fun for anyone!
So that's about it! Really, the whole point of this post was to maybe help out another mama or two looking to increase their milk supply with nursing/pumping, but really if nothing else it was a digital log for me to look back upon when it's time for #3 to come around. And I'm sorry if you're a regular reader here and you're all like "WTF" with this post...guess you shoulda skipped it :) More posts to come about the usual happenings here: babies and dogs.