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Tips from Working Mamas for a Soon-to-be working full time mama

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My LO just woke up from her nap so I ran out of time to search the pre-existing posts! Apologies since I know there are probably prior posts on this topic.

I have been a SAHM for the first 6 months of my daughter's life and am currently job hunting and intend to return to work full time.

I have a cheap Playtex Nursing Necessities Petite Double Electric Pump System that I have used to pump the occasional bottle since she was born. I am thinking I may need to upgrade to a better pump since I will soon be pumping every day.

My questions are:

What pump would you suggest I purchase? We are relatively low income but I am dead set against formula so I need to make sure to have something that is going to work.

What should I do to prepare for the first week? We are also moving so I can't really start a supply in the freezer yet...not to mention it is near impossible to build up enough to pump when I am home all day with her (she likes to nurse often)...or find the time to pump (it seems to take at least a half hour or more to get 2-4 oz even when I feel full).

Any other tips or direction to make this a successful transition? I am so nervous!

TIA
post #2 of 9
I only work part time, but you can definitely do this!

The good thing is that since your baby's older, other foods start to be an option.

I personally have no strong opinion on pumps. I have used an expensive high end Medela, medium quality Baby First and a piston type hand pump. They all seem to work about the same. They also seem to only last about a year before the pumps start to fail. It depends on your situation, but I've heard the ones you rent from the hospital are outstanding. Personally, the next one I get will just be a cheaper middle of the road, since they all seem about the same to me. The one that works the best is the hand pump, but it also only pumps one side at a time and takes forever.

Good luck. hopefully, others have opinions.
post #3 of 9
For full-time pumping, I recommend the Ameda Purely Yours or the Medela Pump In Style (both double electric pumps). I have been using the Ameda for 4 months full time since I went back to work and I have no complaints and I mention the other as that is the other pump that I see recommended time and time again with the Ameda. There may be others out there that will work just fine, but those two seem to be the go-to pumps for working moms and since time is short for research and you want to make sure you are good to go, either one of those should work for you. I know you can get just the pump without extra storage bottle and bag for the Ameda, so if you are looking to save money I recommend that route and just put it in a bag you already own and use the bottles you will use to feed for storage (most regular sized bottles fit on the pump just fine, my Dr. Brown's bottles do no problem).

To prepare, you need enough milk to give your careprovider the first day for your baby's meals and some extra frozen milk, as much as you can, but don't make yourself crazy either. The idea is to pump at least as much as you need for the next day, that keeps your supply where it needs to be and makes it so you don't need a huge freezer stash for day to day. The freezer stash should ideally be for when your baby has a growth spurt or (ack!) milk gets spilled or something. For how much your baby needs, it depends on your baby and a lot of other things, kellymom.com can give you numbers to work from. At 6 months, just before I started solids, my girl took 3-5oz bottles while she was at daycare for just under 9 hours and she took that pretty much from when she started at 4 months after a couple week adjustment period where who knew what she would take and when , at 8 months she takes 2-5oz bottles and 2-3 "meals" of solids a day. My advice is to make smaller bottles for the first day (maybe 3-4oz) so less is wasted while your caregiver figures things out. They can always combine bottles together if they figure out quickly your baby wants more at once. And let your caregiver know that while they should obviously feed the baby if hungry, the bottle shouldn't be the answer to every cry, that leads to overfeeding sometimes. Also, have a plan for how/where you will wash pump parts. I do it at work and leave my pump at work except on the weekends, but some people wash parts at home. I also don't wash the parts until the end of the day, I just stick them in the fridge in the bag with my milk, saves some time there too.

Other preparations, when you get your new pump make sure you know how to use it and have hopefully used it a few times before you are using it at work. Make sure you work out with your new employer an acceptable place to pump (should be private with a lock, have an outlet, chair and table of some sort, and available when you need it) and that your employer knows you will need 2-3 breaks for ~20 minutes to pump every day. And that you can be somewhat flexible with the exact time, but they need to happen around the same time each day. Since you are currently interviewing, something to bring up if they call you back for a 2nd interview, probably not necessary in a 1st interview, but it does depend how they do their interviews too. And I would plan to pump 3 times a day and hopefully you will only need 2 times, it just depends how well you respond to the pump, but 2-4oz while fulltime BFing your baby is pretty good actually, you'll get more when you are replacing feedings.

I like having mild distractions while pumping, usually web surfing, sometimes reading or listening to music, so I would prepare something you like that would be a mild distraction. I also like to keep track of what I have pumped at each session, how long they were, what time, etc. Some don't like to do that as it actually creates more stress for them, but if it helps relieve stress for you like me, I recommend it! I'm a complete nerd, so I do it in excel, but notes on paper would be fine too I'm sure. If you have time, pick up the book "The Milk Memos" from your library, excellent read of stories and insights of a bunch of working moms who pump breastmilk for their babies. Oh, and I also like having at least one picture of my baby to look at occasionally while pumping. I'm not sure how much it helps, but it can't hurt and makes me smile

And try not to beat yourself up the first time you spill more than a few drops of milk. It sucks and we all do it one time or another

That's all I can think of for now, I'll post more later if I think of more and feel free to PM me or use this thread more for specific questions.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Wow thanks, this is precisely the kind of info I wanted to get! And I just did a quick search for the Ameda pump and found it on sale. Thanks so much!
post #5 of 9
Quinalla covered everything really well. I'll add two more things that worked for me.

The first is that I started building a stash by pumping first thing in the morning every day. I'm usually full then, so I get the most milk, and that's true for most women. When my mornings go perfectly, I get up and pump, get several ounces, shower, then my baby wakes up and I nurse.

The second is that you may have to play around to find what works for you to get the most milk. The mild distractions that work for Quinalla have the opposite effect for me. I find that I need to either zone out, blanking my mind and just getting lost in the rhythm of the pump, or I need to look at a picture of my daughter or otherwise focus on her mentally.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdg View Post
The second is that you may have to play around to find what works for you to get the most milk. The mild distractions that work for Quinalla have the opposite effect for me. I find that I need to either zone out, blanking my mind and just getting lost in the rhythm of the pump, or I need to look at a picture of my daughter or otherwise focus on her mentally.
This is so important, finding what works for you! I read a lot of books and got caught up in all their "You must do this..." and took me longer than it should to find what works for me.

Oh, and if you have problems getting enough or things going to slowly, look up breast compressions. That helped me get a bit more and speed up my pumping sessions a bit too.
post #7 of 9
Quinalla basically nailed it. One thing I would do is stick a receiving blanket in your pump bag and put it on your lap while you pump. Spills WILL happen.
post #8 of 9
Do you qualify for wic? I hear they cover pumps. Some insurers do to. By the best you can buy or consider buying used. It would be helpful to have a big stash and an oversupply. Consider pumping every am EVERY day until you start your job. You have to build that supply and have to be consistent. Ideally you'd produce a bottle every day for the stash. Add a second session at night if you can't get the bottle in the morning. It is so very much harder to build a supply or maintain a supply apart from a baby. I'd personally rec the medela. Pisa and then use those bottles for feeding too.

As for feeding, babies nned more or less the same amount of milk until age one. Solids won't or shouldn't make a difference. 3 x 4 oz bottles are average. Some drink a bit more and some less. As they ger older they supplement with food but they drink the same amount.
post #9 of 9
Also I like the lansinoh freezer bags.

And most people use extra milk in a bottle for the next day, just so you know. Kellymom had a since caregiver worksheet. And taking a hot shower before pumping always helps
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