Jennifer – Pumping to Donate

In honor of World Pumping Day on January 27th, we are recognizing some of the incredible parents who pump or express milk. Here is our first interview, between team member Georgette and interviewee Jennifer V., who pumps to donate her milk. Check out her story below!

 

G- What were some of your goals when you first started your breastfeeding journey? Did you plan to be an exclusive pumper? If so can you tell us what lead to that decision? If not, will you share what lead you to become an exclusive pumper? 
J- My journey started off really hard to be honest. I had to start off as being an exclusive Pumper since both baby and I had major complications right after birth. She was rushed to the NICU and I was unconscious for hours due to Chorioamniosis (infection in the amniotic fluid, Pre-Eclampsia and bleeding out too fast for doctors to stitch me back up). Macy had severe trouble breathing and was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension. She was sent to level 3 NICU immediately where she was put on a CPAP machine to help her breathe and given TPN via IV. After 2 blood transfusions I was allowed to go visit her but wasn’t allowed to pick her up because she was connected to so many wires and machines. The hospital I delivered at was very Pro Breastfeeding so they sent in a Lactation Consultant every day to work with me and help get me on a schedule. Every room had a Medela Symphony!
My goals are to hopefully reach 2 years since that’s what is recommended by WHO and the AAP. I’ll be happy if we make it to 18 months though.

 

G- What difficulties have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

J- When we got home I was still having lots of pain nursing her even though she had been checked for a tongue and lip tie so I figured it was just going to take time getting use to her latching on. After 3 weeks and multiple visits with the LC, we were nursing like champs. But sadly I just wasn’t making enough milk for her. I was still having to supplement at least 2-4 feedings with formula and she wasn’t liking that at all. I felt terrible, so I started looking into ways on how to increase my milk supply. I tried the lactation cookies and power pumping which worked a little but it wasn’t enough so my friend whose also an LC recommended me to try these particular supplements. Let me tell you those supplements work! They turned me into a cow within a few days lol. I now had a huge over supply! I could nurse my baby on demand and still pump an extra 20-40oz/day for my freezer stash! I knew I wanted to donate so I started looking into Human Milk 4 Human babies in my state. A friend from college had recently had a baby as well and introduced me to a mom who had recently adopted a baby and was looking for milk through Human Milk 4 Human Babies. I looked her up on Facebook and started a conversation. She was perfect in every way I could’ve imagined! The sweetest lady ever and was willing to drive to me to pick up milk for her son Rowan. Her goal was to have him on donor milk for the first month then she would switch to formula but I was looking into long term donation and since I had quite a bit of milk to give it was a match made in heaven.

I had major anxiety about giving away my daughter’s milk but I had to remind myself that she was always fed first no matter what. You don’t think you would be so attached to milk, but pumping is hard work and can be painful at times. After about 5 weeks my anxiety calmed down and we are the best of friends. Our babies have play dates and we get lunch when our schedules match. Rowan’s birth mom was very excited to hear that he’s still on donor milk. His adoptive mom is so thankful that I put in so much time for pumping extra milk for him. She didn’t have that special “connection” bringing him home from the hospital like she did with her 3 other kids and not being able to breastfeed made it harder to bond with Rowan. Having donor milk has allowed her to have peace of mind that her baby is getting the very best nutrition that he can have and not have to have something off the shelf ( not that there’s anything wrong with formula). Her original goal was 1 month but we are going 6 months strong now on all donated milk.

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On all of my bags, I write a special note of encouragement or something quirky to get a smile on her face and mine. I label each bag if I have ever taken a medication so that we know if baby is having a reaction such as Tylenol or antibiotics even Tums! I consider him my own baby as well. I check to see how he is doing and love to hear that he is doing well when he goes to the doctor for check ups. Another difficulty I have is recurring clogged milk ducts. I get them weekly even though I nurse and pump every 3 hours like clock work. My baby has been sleeping through the night since she was 5 weeks old so I set alarms in the middle of the night to pump. But having such an oversupply has given me lots of clogged ducts, so I take a vitamin supplement to help bust those clogs. I also had a pretty bad case of Mastitis around 5 months. Antibiotics and lots of rest helped me recover.

 

G- What do you wish others knew about pumping?

J- Pumping is Breastfeeding too! There’s nothing wrong with giving a bottle of pumped milk so you can have some “me time”. Self love is needed and you can’t be a good mom without taking care of yourself first. Exclusively Breastfeeding means a baby’s diet is solely breastmilk and no formula. Doesn’t matter if its straight from mom, pumped or donor milk.
Being a NICU mom is hard but pumping is not impossible. Take the baby’s blanket with you so you can have their scent. A picture or video of baby crying will help you pump more milk. It may take a few days for your milk to come in. Lastly, Breastfeeding doesn’t always come natural to baby and mom and that’s ok! It may take time and that’s perfectly okay.

 

G- How has Milky Mommas helped you?

J- I have loved learning so many tips and tricks when it came to breast feeding. You don’t always have to pump and dump either! Infant Risk, Mommymeds and LactMed have been a life saver for me. Having a community that has the same goals as you is amazing. We live in a world where moms are told to feed the baby in the bathroom or to stop after just a few weeks and that’s not what Milky Mommas is about. They’re all about empowering women and bringing us closer together. There’s always another mom who has gone through what you’re going through and it brings great relief to be able to get the support and help you need when you need it.

 

G- Have you discovered any pumping tricks you want to share with others?

J- No matter what you do, water is the best thing for your supply. Even if you’re not thirsty, force yourself to drink water to keep up your supply. No supplements, cookies or brownies are ever going to help if you don’t drink enough water! Lube your flanges when pumping with a little bit of coconut oil. Pump at night since your body makes more milk at that time. Definitely invest in a good hands free pumping bra and make sure your flanges are properly sized for you. If you have to exclusively pump for your baby while in the hospital, ask your nurse to bring you syringes for you to send your milk to baby. Even if it’s a few drops. That’s drops of precious liquid gold that your baby needs.

 

Thank you for sharing your story with us Jennifer, and congratulations on your amazing gift and hard work! You are amazing! ❤

 

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*NEW* Idaho Breastfeeding Protection Law!

Congratulations Idaho on joining the rest of the states, and passing a law to protect breastfeeding mothers from prosecution for public indecency for nursing or expressing milk in public. This is a HUGE victory for Idaho Mommas, and for all of us supporters nationwide. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2018.

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This law is really special because it specifies that mothers expressing milk for the purpose of feeding a child is protected. Pumping mommas- do your thing!

Idahoan Mommas – be sure to download our business-card-sized Breastfeeding Rights card. This simple tool can give you confidence while breastfeeding in public, and allow you to educate others on your (and their!) rights to breastfeed Anytime, Anywhere. Print, share, and keep a couple copies in your wallet to empower breastfeeding mommas you may meet!

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Did you know we have these Breastfeeding Rights cards for all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico? You can check out the full album to print and download your state’s card here.

Nurse and Pump on, Milky Mommas – you rock!

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Meeting Milestones ~ {Free Downloads!}

There is no greater feeling than when you reach your goal, especially in breastfeeding. The early days can be so hard, and for some the trials don’t end there. It takes commitment, perseverance, and passion to continue breastfeeding in the face of challenges.

So lets celebrate!

We have designed this set of beautiful phone backgrounds to help you show off your breastfeeding achievements. Whether you’re exclusively breastfeeding, combo feeding, pumping and nursing, exclusively pumping, chestfeeding, donating breast milk, feeding donor breast milk, you deserve to be celebrated! You’ve given your baby breast milk, and #everydropcounts.

So show off. You’ve earned it! Download these gorgeous images and update them as you persevere through the weeks, months, and years of your journey. You go Momma! ❤

Download the whole set here, or click to save individual images that celebrate your latest milestone.

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Check in with us again soon, as we start rolling out more fun free pretty things to celebrate YOU and your journey ❤

Milk on the Job – Military Mommas

Happy Veteran’s Day, y’all! We are so grateful to the brave men and women in uniform for their service. It is a unique sacrifice to serve in the military, and especially for mothers of young children.

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Like many other jobs, the military has regulations in place to protect working Milky Mommas. Do you know your rights? Here are some resources for our Military Milky Mommas, to ensure that they’re protected when pumping at work, and even services for veteran mommas!

Thank you for your service, and keep on milkin’! ❤

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Hand Expression

Learning to hand express breast milk is a “handy” skill (pun intended!) that so many mommas never learn. It requires some practice to master, but once you do, it is a convenient method for expressing milk anytime, anywhere- no special equipment required.

Hand expression is free, all you need is a cup or bowl to express into, and your hands! It is also a cleaner method of expression than pumping, since the milk comes into contact with far fewer surfaces on its way to baby. Fewer contact points means less chance for contamination- win, win!

Check out this great video from Global Health Media for a comprehensive tutorial on how to hand express.

 

Have you hand expressed? Tell us below! ❤

 

Mastitis

This document is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in Milky Mommas. If you think you’re having a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Mastitis is the clinical term for breast infection.

Whenever a lactating woman experiences flu-like symptoms, she should consider the possibility of mastitis, contact her provider, and begin measures to treat / prevent mastitis.

Symptoms of mastitis include:

  • Localized tenderness of breast
  • Localized heat or red streaks on breast
  • Fever
  • General sick feeling
  • Sometimes nausea and vomiting

Common causes of mastitis are:

  • Infrequent feedings or scheduled feedings
  • Missed feedings
  • Poor milk removal due to latch issues
  • Illness in mother or baby
  • Oversupply
  • Rapid weaning
  • Plugged ducts and/or blebs
  • Pressure on the breast that restricts milk flow (like tight clothing)
  • Cracks in the nipple that allow bacteria to enter and infect breast tissue
  • Maternal stress and fatigue

How is mastitis diagnosed?

  • Mastitis is usually diagnosed based on symptoms.
  • Lab tests and diagnostics are not routinely needed or performed for mastitis unless there are repeat infections.
  • Your OB or PCP can diagnose and treat mastitis.

How is mastitis treated?

  • The most important step is frequent and effective milk removal (at least every two hours).
  • Breastfeed as frequently as possible, starting on the affected breast.
  • If it hurts too much to start on the affected breast, it might help to start on the unaffected breast and switch sides as soon as letdown happens.
  • Position the baby at the breast with chin or nose pointing to the blockage to help drain the affected area.
  • Gentle massage may also help remove milk. Massage should be directed from the blocked area toward the nipple.
  • After feeding, pumping or hand expressing may help remove more milk and speed recovery.

Should I continue to nurse if I have mastitis?

  • Yes! Frequent and effective milk removal is key, and nothing is more effective at removing milk than a baby.
  • Mothers who can’t continue breastfeeding when they have mastitis, for whatever reason, should pump or hand express at least every two hours because stopping cold turkey leads to a greater risk of abscess than continuing to feed.

What should I do while recovering?

  • Rest. If possible, take baby to bed for a nursing vacation.
  • Hydrate. It’s important to drink plenty of clear liquids to help your body produce plenty of milk to flush the infection.
  • Ask your provider if an NSAID may be right for you, to relieve pain and inflammation.

Do I need antibiotics?

  • It depends. Contact your provider at the first signs of mastitis and ask what they advise.
  • If symptoms are mild, many breastfeeding experts advocate treating conservatively at home for the first 24 hours.
  • If symptoms do not improve in 12-24 hours or you are acutely ill, experts agree antibiotics should be started.
  • Your HCP will help you decide which approach is best for you and your circumstances.

What kind of at-home treatments may help relieve mastitis symptoms and hasten recovery?

  • Nurse, pump, and/or hand express as much as possible (at least every two hours)
  • Rest and hydrate
  • Your provider may recommend an NSAID to relieve pain and inflammation
  • Hot shower
  • Moist or dry heat, whichever feels better
  • Epsom salt soak
  • If inflammation is severe enough to inihibit milk flow, it may be helpful to apply ice for a few minutes before nursing or pumping
  • Gentle massage or pressure from behind the clogged area toward the nipple (use in moderation because massage can make inflammation worse)
  • Stroke gently from behind the clog toward the nipple with a comb or plastic bristled brush
  • If you have a visible bleb or milk blister, notify your provider and ask what s/he would advise

Which antibiotics are commonly prescribed for mastitis?

  • Dicloxacillin
  • Flucloxacillin
  • First-generation cephalosporins
  • Cephalexin
  • Clindamycin
  • If an antibiotic is needed, your provider will prescribe one that’s appropriate for you.
  • Breastfeeding compatibility can be verified at http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/newtoxnet/lactmed.htm, via the MommyMeds app, or by calling the InfantRisk hotline Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm, CST, at 806-352-2519.

How soon should I start to feel better?

  • Improvement is usually rapid and dramatic.
  • If symptoms don’t resolve in several days with appropriate management, including antibiotics, you should call and notify your provider.

What can I do to avoid mastitis in the first place?

  • Feed on demand.
  • Get a good latch.
  • Learn to hand express so you can always empty your breasts, no matter what the circumstances.
  • Be on the lookout for signs of milk stasis (milk that is not leaving the breasts). Check for lumps, pain, or redness.
  • If you notice any signs of milk stasis, be quick to completely empty the breast, increase the frequency of feedings, and rest and hydrate.
  • Call your healthcare provider at the first signs of mastitis and ask what they advise.
  • Practice good hand hygiene.
  • Disassemble and wash pump parts thoroughly between uses (may be refrigerated for up to 24 hours) and air dry.

Source: The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

Additional resources:

This document is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in Milky Mommas. If you think you’re having a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Storage of Breast Milk

Storage Guidelines of Expressed Breast Milk:

Freshly-Expressed Milk
               Warm Room : 3-4 hours
               Room Temperature: 4-8 hours
               Insulated Cooler/Ice Packs : 24 hours
Refrigerated Milk
               Refrigerator (fresh milk) : 3-8 days
               Refrigerator (THAWED milk) : 24 hours
Frozen Milk (do not refreeze!)
               Self-Contained Freezer of Refrigerator : 6 months
               Deep Freezer : 12 months

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Mixing Expressed Milk:

Only mix milk at or near the same temperatures.
Freshly-expressed milk can be added to room temperature milk within 4-8 hours. Otherwise, refrigerate milk and then combine. Add refrigerated or partially frozen milk to already frozen milk.

Oops! I didn’t use/need what I HEATED!

Thawed milk needs to be used within 24 hours. Keep refrigerated until next feeding. Heated or warmed milk needs to be used within 2-3 hours. Simply smell milk if you think it may be bad. Don’t toss the milk! Use “bad” milk in the baby’s bath!

Does the milk have a metallic taste or smell funny?

See link for more info:

Helpful Information:

CDC Recommendations:

The STUDIES the Storage Guidelines are based on:

Low Milk Supply

One of the most common concerns of the breastfeeding mother is that they aren’t making enough milk for their baby. Let me assure you, true low supply, or the inability to produce adequate milk, is rarely the problem. What signals your body to make more milk? Removing milk!

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“But he wants to eat all the time!”

Ok…Let’s look at the whole picture:

  • Is baby very young? Newborns have a stomach that, at 10 days old, is still only the size of an egg, and he’s eating a perfect food that is completely digested quickly.
  • How old is he? Just like a teenage boy that eats all the time, babies are growing…and fast! There are several physical and developmental spurts that occur, usually around the same time for each child. Take a look at the Wonder Weeks chart (http://www.whosthatmom.com/wonder-weeks-week-by-week/) and see if your baby is either having a growth spurt or about to have one.
  • Is he latched correctly? Can you hear him swallowing? A proper latch is comfortable for you, not painful, and allows baby to efficiently remove milk from the breast. If you have access to an IBCLC, have them check baby’s latch. There are several valuable resources here, as well: http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/bf-basics/latch-resources/

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“He fusses at the breast. I don’t think any milk is coming out.”

  • Let’s talk about supply and demand. Babies demand milk…and you supply it. Fussing at the breast, beating on you, on-and-off nursing, etc, all signal your body to make more milk. Your breasts don’t ever truly become “empty”, they continuously make milk.
  • Does he need to burp? Is he distracted or overstimulated? Are you distracted or stressed?
  • Is he getting too much milk? Check our document on oversupply to see if it sounds like you.

“I’m pumping barely anything.”

  • Pumping is never a good way to judge what you’re actually producing. Babies are much more efficient at getting milk out than a pump.
  • Also see our document on Pumping Tips for help when pumping at work.

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“My breasts feel empty. I think my supply dropped.”

  • Probably not. Most of us only experience super-full feeling breasts for a limited time. What is most likely happening is that your supply is regulating. Your body and your baby’s demands have come to an understanding and your are meeting his needs without becoming overfull.
  • Your breasts always make milk. When milk is removed, they make more. “Your breasts are a factory, not a storage facility.” They are never truly empty.
  • Babies can typically always get out more milk. Even if it’s minimal; they are very efficient at their job.

“How do I make more milk?”

  • Firstly…nurse your baby more. Most concerns about supply can be fixed by simply nursing more.
  • Nurse baby on demand. Let him decide when he wants to eat.
  • Pay attention to baby’s hunger cues. Rooting, smacking lips, sucking hands, etc, are all signs of hunger. Crying is a late hunger cue.
  • Soothe at the breast. Comfort nursing can be frustrating sometimes, but it is the best means of comforting your baby and ensuring an abundant supply of milk.
  • Nurse until baby lets go. Let him decide when he’s done.
  • Don’t be a clock-watcher. Allow baby to run on his own time.

Signs that your baby is getting plenty of milk:

Birth-2 weeks:

  • baby starts gaining weight after your milk comes in. Remember, weight gain varies with every individual. Don’t compare your baby to your friend’s or yourself.
  • baby is having at least 3 quarter-sized poops per day. These can be spread out over a 24 hour period. More than three is fine.
  • baby is swallowing when he’s nursed.
  • baby is nursing at least every three hours until he reaches about 10 pounds. Again, more is fine.

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2-6 weeks:

  • baby passes birth weight by around 2 weeks. Remember to calculate that by baby’s lowest weight.
  • baby continues to gain weight.
  • still has 3 quarter-sized poops per day. Until around 6 weeks, this is what we want to see. Others may tell you that it is normal for exclusively breastfed babies to go several days or even a week or more without pooping. That is not true until around 6 weeks, and even then, not the norm.
  • baby has gotten the hang of latching on and staying attached.
  • baby is sucking with long, steady sucks soon after latching.

6 weeks on:

  • baby continues to gain weight.
  • baby is meeting developmental milestones.
  • baby has plenty of wet diapers and regular poops (they become less frequent around 6 weeks).
  • baby is getting longer and gaining in head circumference.

What if your supply is truly low?

Sometimes baby really isn’t getting enough milk. It’s important to understand why.

It’s important to figure out if he’s not taking enough because you’re not making enough, or if you’re not making enough because he’s not taking enough, or if he’s taking plenty but not using it well.

Source: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 8th ed., p.396

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What might be the issue with baby?

Possible causes of baby taking too little milk are:

  • he’s improperly positioned
  • his nursing time is being cut short
  • he’s being fed too infrequently
  • he has a tongue-tie or other latching issue

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What might be the issue with me?

Possible causes of mother making too little milk are:

  • thyroid problems
  • PCOS (Polycyctic Ovary Syndrome)
  • breast surgeries

If your supply is truly low and your baby is not thriving, it is our advice at Milky Mommas to seek out and meet with an IBCLC to identify and correct the problem.

Most of these scenarios are completely reversible, so don’t give up hope. Remember, if you must supplement due to medical indication – and at the recommendation of a professional – there’s a strong chance that supplementation need be only temporary and you can return to being your child’s sole source of nutrition.

Pumping Tips

Many breastfeeding moms want to or need to pump in order to provide breast milk when away from their babies. Never fear, Milky Mommas Blog is here! Check out our top tips for comfortable and productive pumping.
Key Points:
  • Pump output does NOT indicate milk supply. Don’t compare your output to anyone else’s!
  • The frequent removal of milk is vital to maintain or increase production. Breast milk production is based on supply and demand.
  • Hand expression after pumping can increase output by an ounce or more!
  • It is typically best to avoid pumping before 6-8 weeks, unless medically-indicated.
  • Teaching caregivers how to paced bottle feed ensures baby is taking in appropriate amounts, and allows mom’s pump output to keep up more easily.
Use a Quality Breast Pump!
What type of pump are you using? Is it in working order? Most pumps are designed for a single user, single year, and single baby. Avoid sharing an open-system pump, as doing so puts you and your baby at risk for blood borne pathogen transmission. Pumping moms need a sturdy, double-electric pump that is designed for frequent use.
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Aim to express milk (nursing or pumping) at least every three hours.
The key to maintaining or increasing milk production is the frequent removal of milk.
Learn how to use your pump to adjust suction and speed and how the let down button works. Use it frequently. Going longer and possibly allowing your breasts to become engorged may make it harder to express milk and maintain supply.
Pump for at least 15 minutes, or 5-10 minutes after the last drop. Then hand express! Then pump again!
These articles give tons of good information about timing of pumping, how much milk you might need to send and milk storage for future use:
Use Properly-Sized Equipment
Make sure your equipment is properly sized and comfortable and is in good working condition. Are your flanges correctly sized? Your nipple should move smoothly through the tunnel, not be jerked or squeezed in the tunnel. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.407831619385777&type=1
If a flange is too small, this can compress milk ducts and make it hard to express anything at all. Signs that you have a poorly fitted flange include (but are not limited to): purple/white nipples after pumping, a “ring” around the inside of the tunnel that does not blot off or discomfort during pumping.
Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations about care of parts. Some manufacturers recommend boiling parts occasionally, others require the flexible membranes (duck bills, caps, etc.) to be changed every so often. Pay attention to the wear and tear on your pump parts and replace as needed.
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Pumping Should Not Hurt!
Is the suction too high? Remember, you are trying to trigger a let-down reflex, not pull milk from the breast. Turning the pump suction too high in an attempt to get more milk can actually work against you, squeezing the milk ducts shut. Think of trying to suck a thick milkshake through a straw by applying more suction- the straw just folds flat.
Plan Ahead for Pump Part Storage
Keep extra pump parts available at work in case you forget a piece. Many moms have 2-3 sets. Use a lunch box to store parts and bottles. Find a cute purse/bag that all of your gear fits into. Pump setup and breakdown is part of the equation. You will get more efficient at it. Wipe out the milk in the tunnel with a paper towel and just store the entire flange assembly in the fridge without washing. Other mothers use the quick clean wipes sold by pump manufacturers to wipe and go. Store milk at room temperature or in a refrigerator until use or freezer storage.
Tip: Get the free pump kit from the hospital when you deliver. Many of the parts can be used on any pump!
Use your hands!
Pumps are as low as 40% efficient, meaning you may be leaving 60% of the milk in your breasts after pumping! Hands–on pumping or breast massage while pumping may yield higher output. Hand expressing for a few moments after you are finished pumping can help empty your breasts more completely.
Here are some great videos on Hands-On Pumping & Hand Expression!
Hands-on Pumping: http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/MaxProduction.html
Encourage baby to snuggle and nurse while you are together
Many mothers choose to send only the milk they pumped the day before at work and allow baby to “make up the difference” while they are together.  Some babies reverse cycle (http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/reverse-cycling/) and begin feeding more at night to get some extra snuggles and extra milk.
Eat Nutritious Foods and Drinks and take care of yourself:
A diet as close to nature as possible is recommended. No supplements or shakes or shortcuts can replace proper nutrition for a nursing mother. See our post on Diet and Nursing for more info!
Train Your Mind and Love Your Pump
Many mothers find it helpful to train themselves to “look forward to” pumping.  Be it a promise to play a game on their phone, a piece of chocolate before or after pumping, etc.
It takes time for your body to learn to let down for a pump.  Babies have cute, snuggly little fat rolls, smell like angels and grunt like tiny, perfect sumo wrestlers.  Pumps just don’t have that appeal and it takes time to learn to make milk for the pump. Be glad that you are continuing to provide your precious milk for your baby.
Make a “Safe” Place for Pumping
Are you in a “safe” place that is conducive to relaxation?
Think about the environment in which you pump. A closed, locked door may help.  Some mothers find it helpful to use earplugs to drown out any outside noise or the sound of the pump, others enjoy watching videos of their babies or listening to recordings of their babies snuggly snuffling sounds or cooing. Deep breathing, calming thoughts, even thinking of rushing rivers may help.  This is individual for each mother and you will find your groove with it.
Pumping for a NICU/Preemie Baby
Pump every 2 hours during the day and 3 hours at night.
Visit with the hospital lactation consultant frequently.

Returning to Work?

Begin pumping 1-2 weeks before your return. Add in one pump a day. You only need enough milk for the first day. You will pump milk for Day 2 on Day 1.
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Contact your HR rep and boss before your return to inform them of the accommodations that need to be made. Present them with your plan and required pumping schedule. There are state and federal laws to protect you and your right to breastfeed.  Please let us know if you need further help with your specific situation.
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Flexible or Part-Time Work
Discuss your options with your boss. Returning to work doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Ask for a transitional week or use your remaining leave hours to work a reduced schedule at your convenience as you transition from the major life event. This is allowed per FMLA laws.
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Alcohol & Breastfeeding

Alcohol and breastfeeding is a topic that comes up every day in the MM community. The information provided here is intended to help women research and educate themselves to make an informed decision for themselves and their families. We encourage all of our members who choose to drink to do so responsibly, in moderation, and occasionally.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs considers
alcohol compatible with breastfeeding. It lists possible side effects if
consumed in large amounts, including: drowsiness, deep sleep, weakness,
and abnormal weight gain in the infant, and the possibility of decreased
milk-ejection reflex in the mother.

Dr. Jack Newman, member of the LLLI Health Advisory Council, says this
in his handout “More Breastfeeding Myths”:

Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case
with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can
take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does.
Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive
for nursing mothers.”

 Thomas W. Hale, R.Ph. Ph.D., member of the LLLI Health Advisory Council, says this in his book Medications and Mothers’ Milk (12th ed.):

“Significant amounts of alcohol are secreted into breastmilk although it is not considered harmful to the infant if the amount and duration are limited. The absolute amount of alcohol transferred into milk is generally low.

Alcohol transfers readily into human milk. Alcohol is not stored in milk;
rather it enters and exits according to blood alcohol level. Levels of alcohol in milk peak at approximately 30 to 60 minutes following ingestion, then decline rapidly if no more is ingested.

Evidence shows that excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages during lactation affected infant development, such as weight and linear growth from 1 to 57 months.”

In terms of milk supply, new data now clearly demonstrate that alcohol
actually inhibits oxytocin release from the pituitary, thus impeding the let down process so that milk is not released from the breast as efficiently. One study showed a 23% reduction in milk release while alcohol is present in the mother’s blood. In another study, alcohol completely blocked the release of oxytocin.

While many people believe that dark beer enhances milk supply, that belief is purely anecdotal. If you choose to have one drink while nursing, it should be metabolized before your next nursing session (unless your infant is cluster feeding).

Standard drinks are measured as follows:
12 oz beer,
8-9 oz malt liquor,
5 oz wine, or
1.5 oz liquor.

Pump and Dump?

Because alcohol is not stored in milk, there is no need to pump and dump
to rid your milk of alcohol. However, nursing mothers may need to express
milk for comfort and to avoid milk stasis while too intoxicated to nurse. This milk can be used for a milk bath or diluted with milk that doesn’t contain alcohol and fed at another time.

If you are very concerned or intend to consume several servings of alcohol
in one sitting, you can pump ahead of time and store expressed breast milk to be used in case your infant needs to be fed while you have a drink or two. Then, when enough time has passed for alcohol levels to go down, you may resume breastfeeding.

Please Note:
● Alcohol test strips are NOT reliable.
● Infants should NEVER EVER EVER bed share with an adult who has been
drinking alcohol.
● Chronic or heavy users of alcohol should not breastfeed.

Additional Resources:

http://www.infantrisk.com/content/alcohol-and-breastfeeding

● To calculate BAC based on weight and standard drink count: http://brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/alcohol,_tobacco,_&_other_drugs/alcohol/alcohol_&_your_body.php
http://www.llli.org/faq/alcohol.html