Pump it up

Since Julian never took a bottle, I was really scared into making sure Holden would take one, so he got one bottle each day since he was three weeks old (at least three times a week and no more than once a day).

My best tips for pumping:

  • Free your hands. Get the easy expression pumping bra or make your own by cutting holes out of an old bra. Seriously, it allows me to have both hands free so I can surf the web, read, talk on the phone, or scratch my nose.
  • Make the time. It is hard to find time for pumping… especially at first. I didn’t know when I could do it. If you do it right after feeding, that works. If you do it right after putting the baby down for a nap, that works too. Your body will make more. I got in the habit of pumping right before bed while Alec was doing the dream feed.
  • Pump in the early morning. You’ll get the most volume and the best “sleepytime milk” if you find the time, energy, and inclination to pump before you wake up at around 4am or 5am because you’re well-rested. If that sounds like a good idea to you, do it. If you’d rather be sleeping, I highly encourage it.
  • Warm it up. When family circumstances forced me to be away from Holden, I had to pump pump pump. The pump just isn’t as effective for me and the effect was cumulative, but heating up a warm compress and some massage seemed to do the trick for my lazy boob.
  • Think nurturing thoughts. I like to begin by saying “sweet Nolan” because a woman in my breast-feeding support group used that as a mantra; her baby was named Nolan and I just thought it would be funny to copy her. After that I suggest looking at baby photos, reading baby blogs, writing baby book entries, or just checking your email.
  • Get creative. At first, nursing and pumping are very private (embarrassing at times) events… after a while, with some courage, I got used to asking total strangers, “excuse me, can you think of a place where I could plug in a breast pump?” Any semi-private, clean place will do. Other moms share their pumping stories on our pumping project.
  • Boost production. As long as you’re making milk, you’d like to get the most out of your sessions, right? Right. Everybody seems to use Mother’s Milk Tea, but for the full dosage, you need to let the tea steep for 10 minutes, drink it three times a day for the entire duration of your nursing relationship – wow! Instead, I squeeze a little Lactation tonic into my morning juice whenever I feel like my production is dropping. I got it from Whole Foods and after 9 months of using it, I’m still on my first ounce. And there’s always beer.
  • Maybe watch TV. I don’t know if the quality of the show impacts the quality of the milk, but I do not get much volume when I’m watching Lost… and it may taste like fear.

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