Returning to work after having a baby can be disconcerting. When you have decided to breastfeed, it can be even more traumatic. However, with some planning and foresight, returning to work doesn’t have to be the end of your breastfeeding relationship. If you work near your baby, you can go on site to feed him each day or you can have your baby brought to you during each feeding. If these options are not possible for you, just like with other working mothers, then you would have to pump at work that your baby may consume on the following day.
The first step involves determining just how much you will be pumping. If you estimate that you will be pumping a lot, i.e., working full time, five days a week, etc., you will have to select the best pump you can afford. For the part time mother or just wanting to pump to run errands, a smaller electric or manual pump should do just fine.
What you are trying to do with a pump is to fool your body to think that the baby is nursing. These pumps are designed to mimic an actual baby’s sucking to help you get a letdown and be able to acquire more milk. Letdowns are very important in pumping. It is normal to be able to get 1 to 2 ounces of milk at each pump session just as it is also normal to be able to get 11 to 12 ounces of milk at each session. Every woman is different and it all depends on the circumstances around your pump session. This includes your schedule, level of relaxation, having a letdown, day of the week and the time of day You can expect to pump more on a Monday than you can on a Friday and produce more milk in the morning than you do in the afternoon or evening.
When your output is low, there are some tricks to help increase your supply. Try pumping more often, such as every two hours at work instead of every three. You might also want to try nipple stimulation, breast compression or massage to achieve a second letdown within the current pump session. Lean over to let gravity help, squeezing the part of the breast outside of the horn. It is also important to keep a regular pumping schedule. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest. There are also other ways to increase your supply such as taking the herb fenugreek or eating oatmeal. Keep in mind when you use these methods to help build your supply it’s going to take a couple of days so don’t expect it to happen on your next pump session.
You should know that when your pumping career begins, things may get a little hectic and your schedule might get messed up. Just try to relax and get extra rest. Things will get easier and before you know it you will feel like the pump is just a part of your day.