I just cried over spilled milk. Five ounces of breast milk gold, gone. To understand just how tragic this is, you have to consider the amount of time I spend either nursing or pumping. Its about 100 minutes per day. You breastfeeding moms can relate, right? So much of our lives is spent producing milk. But we do it because we love our babies and thats what matters.
A It is a lot of time, though. I am always curious to compare my schedule with other moms”maybe they know a better system! Please share your breastfeeding and pumping schedule in the comments below. Heres a look at my schedule during the work week. On the weekends, I exclusively nurse.
Stress can hinder your body’s natural ability to release breast milk. Find a quiet place to pump. It might help to massage your breasts or use warm compresses. You might want to think about your baby, look at a picture of your baby or listen to relaxing music.
2. Pump often
The more you pump, the more milk you’ll produce. If you’re working full time, try to pump for 15 minutes every few hours during the workday. If you can, pump both breasts simultaneously. A double breast pump helps stimulate milk production while reducing pumping time by half.
3. When you’re with your baby, breast-feed on demand
The more you breast-feed your baby when you’re together, the greater your supply will be when you pump. Depending on your schedule, try more-frequent evening, early morning or weekend feedings. If you have a predictable schedule, you might ask your baby’s caregivers to avoid feeding your baby during the last hour of care — so that you can breast-feed your baby as soon as you arrive.
4. Avoid or limit formula feedings
Formula feedings will reduce your baby’s demand for breast milk, which will lower your milk production. To maintain your milk supply, it’s important to pump anytime your baby has a feeding of formula or expressed breast milk.
Remember, the more you breast-feed your baby or pump while you’re apart, the more milk you’ll produce. You might also pump extra milk — either after or between breast-feeding sessions — and freeze it for future use.
5. Drink plenty of fluids
Water, juice and milk can help you stay hydrated. Limit soda, coffee and other caffeinated drinks, though. Too much caffeine might lead to irritability or interfere with your baby’s sleep. If you choose to have an occasional alcoholic drink, avoid breast-feeding for two hours afterward.
6. Don’t smoke
Smoking can reduce your milk supply, as well as change the taste of your milk and interfere with your baby’s sleep.
Secondhand smoke also is a concern. Secondhand smoke increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), as well as respiratory illnesses. If you smoke, ask your doctor for options to help you quit. In the meantime, avoid smoking just before or during a feeding.
7. Take good care of yourself
Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Sleep when the baby sleeps — and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Also consider your birth control options. Breast-feeding itself isn’t a reliable form of birth control, and birth control pills that contain estrogen can interfere with milk production. While you’re breast-feeding, you might want to use condoms or other forms of birth control.
Breast-feeding is a commitment, and your efforts to maintain your milk supply are commendable. If you’re having trouble maintaining your milk supply or you’re concerned that you’re not producing enough milk, ask your doctor or lactation consultant for other suggestions.
How Important is Sticking to a Pumping Schedule?
When you have a newborn, sticking to a defined pumping schedule can be a challenge – you are likely sleep deprived and busy, so it’s easy to forget to pump. Skipping a pumping session every now and then is not a big deal, especially if you are able to make up the time during a later pumping session that day or squeeze in a power pumping session.
If you’re finding that you’re missing pumping sessions regularly, there are a couple of tools that you can use to remind yourself. I got an Itzbeen as a gift when I had my first baby, and you can set an alarm with it (either a silent flashing light or beeping) to let yourself know it’s time to pump. Alternatively, the iOS Milk Maid app has a reminder function that allows you to enter your pumping schedule, and it will notify you every day at your defined pumping times.
With older babies (after 3-4 months), sticking to a schedule is less important. As long as you get your total number of pumping sessions (and pumping minutes) done in a given day, you should be fine.
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