Pumping my own milk was alway a mystery. I couldn’t figure out WHEN to do it. If I did it between feedings I felt like I didn’t have enough for baby to eat. If I did it after feedings I didn’t have enough to pump. In anycase I figured if I came up with a regular schedule to pump, my body would eventually supply enough from the given demand but I could never establish consistency. My life with little kids was nothing near predictable to set aside a time to sit and be attached to a pump to join the ranks of a dairy cow while I got milked. That too. I couldn’t handle being tethered to a pump and it was a discouraging realization that a 1/2 hour of pumping only meant 1.5 oz of milk. Hardly. Worth. it.
That was the story of my pumping life for my first two kids. So if you can imagine, I didn’t collect much milk. Maaaybe one bag or two of precious frozen milk on hand that we could use only if we REALLY needed it.
Until Baby #3. I figured out a method that WORKED really well for me.
I hope it works for you. Or at least maybe inspires new ideas that WILL work for you. Please note that every body is different and produces and functions uniquely. This method might not be effective for you…but hey, if you are like me…in the manic midst of mothering, I know that I’m certain to try just about anything if I’m on the hunt for a long searched for solution.
I noticed when I nursed on one side the other side would also get a let down and leaked like crazy (especially in the beginning months after my milk came in). In the past it was quite a nuisance and meant over saturated nursing pads. This time I decided to try something different and collect all that dripping milking.
If I caught everytime (or almost everytime) I nursed for the day I had a full feeding ready to freeze by the end of the day.
- I was so excited to discover this because:
- I could do this SIMULTANEOUSLY as feeding my baby so it wasn’t extra time.
- I wasn’t attached to a certain place where the pump was or tethered to a pump.
- My milk leaked easily and naturally and I didn’t have to endure the strange sensation of the pump drawing my milk. I noticed if I applied slight pressure at the begininig it helped the milk flow (I pressed the attachment towards my chest).
- My pads weren’t saturated.
I found using a mug to put the shield and bag was way to hold it up while I was getting ready to nurse, switching sides and store the milk in the fridge while I was filling up for the day. I don’t recommend going more than a couple days to fill up a bag as the milk might start to spoil. You will notice your milk will start to separate if it sits a while, this is normal. Just squish the bag to blend, your milk is still good for baby to drink.
Most of the time I caught milk from both sides. Obviously the 1st caught way more but doing it from both sides helped me catch some of the hind milk from the other side.
If you don’t leak on the side you aren’t nursing on, you could latch your baby, let him suck until the let down, attach the bag and switch baby to nurse on the other side. Oh the things you learn.
In just a couple days I was so excited I had a whole lineup of milk! I couldn’t believe it considering I could NEVER accumulate that much milk before let alone in that short amount of time with little effort! At one point I had over 20 bags of milk that I used about every other week when we went out…unbelievable for me.
Before this experience, I was about to replace my old low quality pump and invest in a really good pump…you know the Mercedes of pumps: a Medela pump at $215.49 but a friend temporally let me borrow hers and I only spent money on the Medela Breast Shield, Valve and Membrane and some freezer bags (Medela Pump and Save Breast Milk Bags). Save myself a couple hundred dollars not to mention all the above perks. Yay!
DId you try this method? Did it work for you? Have any other genius nursing ideas?? We all want to hear!! Comment below.