Sorry if the title of this post was misleading, but unfortunately this is not a porno…well okay…we are going to be talking about boobs…actually, more like pumping our boobs. Wow, the excitement here is going downhill pretty fast isn’t it? I mean, as much as I love watching my nipples reach unimaginable lengths like the nursing version of Stretch Armstrong, I must admit that pumping makes me a little worried for the safety of others….for real though, it’s a good thing we have those protective shields or someone might lose an eye! Basically no mom likes to pump whether it be at home or work, but we all do it even when it can sometimes be a struggle. Recently a friend’s Facebook status inspired me to come up with ways that can make the pumping experience more… “enjoyable,” if you will. I came up with 7 different annoyances that most moms might experience at one point or another while pumping. These can be remembered by the acronym L.A.C.T.A.T.E.
1) LOCATION– I recently went into school on a mission to determine where I’d be pumping when I return to work. My previous principal basically told me that there were several bathrooms available for pumping. UMMM, no thanks! I wasn’t about to pump on a toilet seat, so I went out in search of a pumping spot around the school. While looking for a spot I had three criteria- 1) No windows, 2) A lock on all doors, and 3) An outlet available. It took me about 30 minutes to find a single space in the entire school that met these criteria! You want to know where it turns out I’ll be pumping- the P.E. teacher’s office! Luckily the teacher is a woman, very sweet, and promised to make me a key and “do not disturb” sign to use. I guess it’s a step up from the art closest I used to pump in at my previous job after having my first child!
- Look for a spot that has a comfortable bench or chair to sit in
- Find a spot with an outlet
- Make sure there is a sink nearby to wash your pump parts or a microwave nearby to sterilize
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
(820 ILCS 260/15)
Sec. 15. Private place for nursing mothers. An employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where an employee described in Section 10 can express her milk in privacy.
(Source: P.A. 92-68, eff. 7-12-01.)
2) AMOUNT- It’s a constant battle to keep up with the supply your baby demands, but don’t give up just yet! There are tons of ways you can boost your supply…
- Eat Oatmeal Everyday- Not only does this breakfast help increase your supply, but it is also high in protein (especially if you make it using almond milk) and can be loaded with just about any type of fruit!
- Drink Water- Cut down on other sugary and caffeinated beverages and drink more water. They say you should aim for drinking half of your body weight in water! E.g. If you weigh 180 pounds then drink 90 ounces of water each day. It may seem like a lot, but if you think about it, breast milk is mostly water. Plus, staying hydrated is another great way to maintain your energy…BONUS!
- Power pumping- No, I’m not suggesting you turn into a meathead! After you nurse immediately pump for 10 minutes. This will get any extra milk out that the baby didn’t need during that session. Another way is to pump for about 10 minutes, take a 15 minute break, and then pump for another 10 minutes. Do this for a couple of cycles. The way power pumping works has to do with supply and demand. Your body produces more if you tell it to.
- Fenugreek- This is a dietary supplement that can be found at Whole Foods (and other stores I’m sure). I took this supplement after my first child was born and didn’t have to supplement with any formula until she was 8.5 months old! Basically, nursing moms take 2-4 capsules, 3 times per day. You can also purchase Fenugreek as a tea! Sounds like a great way to begin your morning and a nice way to de-stress each night!
- Lactation Cookies- I’ve never tried these, but I certainly love to bake! As a bonus, try killing two birds with one stone by creating family time when you invite your children to help you bake! Here’s one recipe, but I know there are several variations out there- http://www.mamasaywhat.com/lactation-cookies-for-nursing-mamas/
3) CLEANING- Personally, it’s not the actual pumping that bothers me, but rather the cleaning. Most of us only have about 15-20 minutes to pump at work, which doesn’t allow for much time to clean our pumping parts. I have 3 ways to help make the process less time-consuming so that we moms can save more time for pumping and spend less time on cleaning.
- Micro-Steam Bags
2. Quick-Clean Wipes
3. Consider purchasing 3-4 sets of these parts that you can just rinse in the sink with water after each pump and toss into a grocery bag to take home and wash. In fact, throw them in the dishwasher each night with all your bottles!
4. TEMPERATURE- It’s so hard to remember all the rules for breast milk storage and thawing so here they are!
5. ATTITUDE- Pumping is HARD WORK!….STICK WITH IT! This may sound cheesy, but my dad always says “Believe and you will achieve!” As long as you make up your mind that you want to be the main source of food for your baby, then you will do it. Moms are superheroes, remember? Every little bit you are making is saving your family money on formula and building your baby’s immune system. Even if you aren’t making as much milk as you’d hoped to that’s okay! One ounce is better than none! Don’t get down on yourself. Keep a positive attitude. You are doing great!
6. TEMPERAMENT- Your supply depends on your mood. Going back to work can make your stress level sky rocket for many reasons. Unfortunately this can lead to a decrease in milk supply. Try these tips to help you relax a little before sitting down to pump at work…
- Play relaxing music from your phone (since you can take it with you to any location)
- Bring a picture of your baby with you while you pump. Just seeing your baby and thinking about him/her can stimulate milk let-down.
- Take deep breaths before beginning to pump
- Pump somewhere quiet
- Come prepared with all your pump parts and extra parts just in case
- Leave yourself plenty of time to pump
- Establish a routine for pumping
7. ENERGY- Pumping is exhausting! It is just one more thing to add to our already super busy days. Try your best to get as much sleep as possible. Ask your spouse to bottle feed once during the night if you need to. Eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Routines can break down the day and make time go by quicker. Setting goals for yourself is an easy way to make it through each day one step at a time. For more ideas on maintaining energy throughout the day, see my previous post :). Most importantly, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!