BACK TO WORK: Pumps and storage
Hi Anne, I enjoyed reading about your experiences. I am 24 years
old and my daughter, Leah, is almost 3 months. Breastfeeding is going
great, however, pumping milk is not. When I pump, I only get 1
ounce per side. I am worried because I am returning to work in
2 weeks and I am not going to have enough bottled to get her through
the days I am working (3 per week). What do you suggest? I know
that when I feed her she is getting more than 1 ounce per side
because she's a big baby (97th percentile), it's just when I pump
I stop at exactly 1 ounce per side! I use the Avent Isis manual
pump and it does give me let-down. Also, a few storage questions:
1. Is it OK to pump my milk and then put the pump and milk in
the refrigerator with the bag still attached and then pump again
into that same bag later on in the day? In other words, pump body
temperature milk in to refrigerated milk? I want to avoid having
a bunch of 2 ounce bags instead of full 4 ounce bags. 2. Can I
combine two different bags of milk to make one bottle? 3. How
long can I keep milk in the refrigerator before it goes bad? Thanks
for your help! Dayna
Since your baby is gaining weight so well, you're probably correct
in assuming that she is getting more than an ounce on each side
when she nurses. One problem may be the type of pump you are using.
Manual pumps are portable and relatively inexpensive. They are
fine for occasional use, or for the mother who has an abundant
milk supply and an efficient let-down reflex. It is important
to remember that no breast pump is as efficient as the baby at
removing milk, and manual pumps are generally less effective than
electric ones. Typically, mothers find that they can get some
milk out with a manual pump, but they don't empty the breasts
completely the way a good electric pump does. The Avent manual
pump is one of the very best manual pumps on the market, but it
may not be adequate for expressing your milk while you are at
you are going to be pumping regularly, or if time is an important
consideration (as it usually is when you re pumping at work),
then you might want to consider renting or buying a larger, more
efficient (and more expensive) professional or hospital grade
pumping is an important feature. Not only does it cut your pumping
time in half (from 20-30 minutes with single pumping) to 10-15
minutes or less, but your prolaction levels are higher when you
double pump, so you actually produce more milk in less time. This
is especially important when you are pumping frequently, or when
you are working and have limited break time in which to pump.
answer your storage questions: You can pump directly into
refrigerated milk as long as you add the milk within 24 hours
of when the original milk was expressed. If milk has been stored
at room temperature, you can pump directly into it as long as
you do it within eight-ten hours. You then need to use the milk
as soon as possible.
milk can be kept in the refrigerator for up to eight days. Store
it toward the back. If you plan to use the milk within 8 days,
don't freeze it. If you do plan to freeze it, do so within 24-48
hours of expressing it. The sooner you freeze it, the better.
can add fresh milk to a container of frozen milk as long as there
is less fresh milk than frozen. Cool the milk for 30 minutes first.
For example, you can add 2oz. of fresh milk to 4oz. of frozen,
but not 4oz. of fresh milk to 2oz. or frozen. You don't want it
to thaw and then refreeze.
Label each container with the date it was expressed. If you are
taking it to day care, put your baby's name on the label. Since
the composition of human milk changes to meet your baby's needs
as he grows, always use the freshest milk possible. That means
using the oldest milk first.
For more detailed information about the different types of pumps
and about storing your milk, see my article "Collecting
and Storing Breastmilk" in the StorkNet Breastfeeding Cubby.
BACK TO WORK: Milk supply?
I'm breastfeeding as I type this! I have a 4 month old son. He
weighs 20 lbs and is 28 1/2 inches. I am working full time and
breastfeeding. I try to use a double pump at work but I don't
seem to be getting much milk anymore. It feels like my supply
has gone way down. Do you have any tips on how to build up my
milk supply? My poor little guy seems hungry all the time. I try
to pump at three times a day in an 8 hr period but sometimes it's
just 2 times. Is that enough? Thanks, Glenda
Many mothers find that keeping their supply up when they return
to work is a challenge. Most moms don't get the same stimulation
when they are separated from their baby that they get when they
are at home. At home, you tend to do little "snack feedings" throughout
the day, and when you're at work, you tend to pump on a set schedule.
Also, there is no pump on the market that is as good a healthy
nursing baby, so the stimulation you get is not the same.
range from pumping more often at work (this may not be realistic
for you since you are already pumping 3 times), pumping after
feedings or on the other breast when baby only takes one side
at home, nursing more often when you are together (especially
during the night) and feeding less during the day, taking herbal
supplements, using techniques to facilitate let-down when you
pump, and supplementing with formula. Unfortunately, drinking
water or eating a special diet doesn't have a big impact on your
supply. I wish it was that easy.
at the following articles on my site: "Increasing Your Milk Supply,"
"Collecting and Storing Breastmilk," and "Returning to Work or
to nurse after you return to work can be very challenging, but
it is a real labor of love and is well worth the effort. It is
especially challenging when you return to work with a baby this
young, but even if you end up having to supplement with formula,
it is worth hanging in there. I wish you all the best, and hope
the information in the articles is helpful.
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