Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Exclusively Pumping

There are many reasons why direct breast feeding may not work for a mother. Exclusive Pumping (EP) is an option for mothers. Again, I leave that choice up to you.
Pumping requires discipline. Be mentally prepared to commit.
I really really really miss those days where I would just grab him and put him to breast and that would be it.
With EP, I would have to pump first then feed through the bottle. And then wash all the parts.
To me, it was the least I could do at my own inconvenience.

Buy a Good Pump

Invest in a good pump because you will literally waste your money trying to buy the cheapest one. I personally bought Medela Pump In Style Backpack. I highly recommend getting one with double pumping and something that plugs in. For those that own cordless vacuums, you know what I mean. Make sure the breast shield is the correct size to optimize pumping and reduce pain. Get multiple sets of accessories so you can reduce number of washings and wash in bulk.

I bought extra sets of accessories used through Craiglist/Ebay and used the Quick Clean Steam Bag (You pop into microwave) to disinfect. From then on, I usually wash with hot water and soap, with a bottle bristle brush and air dry. To me that was sufficient. Other moms like to disinfect via Steam Bag or Boiling Water after each use. The choice is up to you. The Medela instructions state you dont have to wash tubing but sometimes water particles build up inside. To remove, run the pump for a couple of minutes. Medela also offers new tubing via mail. All you need to do is go to the "Contact Us" portion of their website. I'm not sure if other brands offer the same as well.

Breast Milk Storage

There a some options of how you want to store your breast milk in the freezer.The ones I chose initially were Sensible Lines (http://www.sensiblelines.com/) where it's like an ice tray that allows you to store 1 oz sticks.I chose this method because I can control how many ounces I want to put into a bottle whereas the bags you have to defrost the entire bag and if your baby doesn't consume it all, then you have to throw it away. (Useful at first but when your baby is bigger and does consume more, it's not as important to freeze by ozs) The other reason is you can use regular freezer bags and double bag if you want. This method is more economical because storage bags can be costly. The one thing to be aware of is that it will melt if you try to put it in boiling water and from regular use it can warp and be hard to completely close. With some finesse you can get it to close completely.

I later did end up using Medela storage bags as well. My sister gave me a bunch and since I got a deep freezer, I was no longer too conscious about trying to save space. It also made pumping at work easier because you can pump directly in the bag and then I would throw it into the freezer when I got home.

Consider using a Deep Freezer if your supply exceeds your baby's demand and is taking up freezer space. The freezer section of the refrigerator can store milk between 3-6months. That range is quite big depending what you read so just to be on the safe side and if you plan to store extra breast milk, it might be worth buying a compact deep freezer if you dont already have one. I had to do some research on which type. I recommend the Chest Freezer instead of the Upright Freezers because if the electricity goes out, the contents will still stay frozen for 1-2 days. Also, I read the temperature is more regulated and more energy efficient. Chest Freezers are manual defrost so you want to buy a decent one where you only have to defrost 1-2x a year. Getting the freezer provided me huge relief because supply was so great, we couldn't buy anything to put in the refrigerator freezer.

How Often To Pump?
I've read women pump between 4-6 times a day. I personally decided to go with 5x a day and usually up to 10 minutes each time. I was fortunate where my breasts were trained early on and could still produce more supply than demand with 10 minutes of double pumping. You may need to experiement yourself. I don't pump at night during sleep. This may be hard at first but gradually decrease at night and your body will learn. To key is to pump as often as your baby feeds.

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