in case you missed the first part of this segment, you can read it here!
i left off by explaining how i started building up my ‘back-to-work supply’ by using a pump. using a pump can be intimidating and unexciting, for sure. unfortunately, most places of work don’t allow you to bring you baby 24/7 (sad face), so it is what it is… if you’re going to keep using breast milk, you and your pump will become best friends.
s c h e d u l e
i would say that by the twelve week marker, you and your baby should be in a pretty good routine. the baby has grown quite a bit, you are both more comfortable with each other and nursing, and the routine is much more set now. by the time i had to go back to the ol’ work grind with eleanor, she was eating about every three hours. i knew about how many ounces she was eating and, therefore, i knew about what i needed to pump during my work day.
here’s how my daily feeding/pumping schedule looked:
(also, my work day started at 7am and ended at 3:30pm…which would be important to note for our routine)
early on, eleanor would wake up on her own to nurse. later i’d dream-feed her at this time. eventually, i cut this out (around the time she started really eating regular foods).
my first pump session at work. i would shoot for two to three let-downs during each session (just pay attention to the flow and you can tell when you’re having a let-down!)…and generally this would equal to about 15-20 minutes.
*you will get the largest volume of milk at your first pump of the day. it will slowly get smaller as the day goes on.*
my second pump session.
my third pump session.
at first, eleanor nursed right at this time. there would be times that she would nurse when i got home (so around 4:30pm), especially if she had an off day. as she got older, she started cutting this feeding out to eat more regular foods and then would nurse before bed.
before bed feeding.
she would wake up for this nursing session in the beginning, but as she got older – i’d gauge how full i felt before bed and i’d either leave her be or dream-feed her. eventually cutting this out, as well.
3:00/4:00am, sometimes until 5:00/5:30am:
nursing session. as she got older, she started waking more times than not around 3am. i honestly think it became more of a comfort (for her AND me, too) than actual hunger after a while. there came a time when she was about 9 to 10 months old that i’d let her cry out for me and then wait to see if she would soothe herself back to sleep. sure enough – she did, and has been sleeping like a rock ever since. i can literally just put her in her room at night and she doesn’t (usually) make a single noise.
after i went back to work, i really only pumped while i was away from eleanor. there were very few times that i needed to pump on the go. while i was a way from her during the day, she was eating right around the same times i would be pumping – and, from what i’ve researched, that is ideal. now, there are some professions that will not allow this due to responsibilities and such. that’s okay! just pump when you can. i think the ultimate goal when pumping is certainly to get as much milk as possible – or about what your baby is eating while you’re away. don’t forget you still have a stash from your maternity leave to provide a little cushion.
my pump schedule remained the same until eleanor was about nine months old. at that point, i was actually laid off from my job. i was at home for about seven weeks and just nursed her exclusively then. once i returned to work, i decided to pump twice a day and then pretty quickly went down to just once…eventually tapering off to zero. i decided that i had a pretty good supply at home and she was only nursing in the mornings and at night. by her first birthday, i was done pumping.
this all worked for US. it isn’t for everyone. and each family will have to be comfortable with their own routines. sometimes you have to be creative and roll with the punches! #momlife
you can find our five favorite nursing essentials here.
and i want to end this little segment by saying this:
i have several friends that are having babies and not all breastfeeding journeys are ideal. heck – some chose not to breastfeed and some didn’t have the same breastfeeding experience ethe second time around. every pregnancy is different. every baby is different.
but i want ALL of you new mommas out there to hear me: this is YOUR baby and you are its mother. no one on this earth has more love for that child than you and no one can do what you do. you know what is best for your baby. period. follow your instinct. follow your gut. follow your heart. don’t be afraid to reach out to your mom community and ask for help. we’re all here pulling for each other. motherhood is SO hard and SO rewarding. it is the absolute best blessing in the universe. not everyone is chosen to have this job, but YOU were. carry it with pride, because YOU ARE A MOM.