Pumping at work schedule

When I was going back to work after maternity leave, one of my biggest fears was being able to keep up a good pumping schedule so I could keep DJ on breast milk for at least 6 months (although my long term goal is a year or more).  I had so much anxiety around figuring out my new “routine”.  I could just not wrap my head around how I would make all this work!  There wasn’t a lot of resources online about the schedule of working moms that pump.

I have been back to work now for just over 2 months and I finally feel like we have a good routine going.  Also, I use the Medela Freestyle pump.  I love it but will have to do a review on it later!

6:30 – J and I are both dressed and ready for work.  I get the baby changed and he “packs the bags”.  It is so helpful that he knows what this means.  I would highly suggest making a list for your husband to help with this or make sure its done the night before.

My pump bag includes:

  • Medala Freestyle pump
  • Pump wall charger
  • 2 extra freezer milk storage bags
  • Set of pump parts stored in the little medela cooler (we use a different cooler for bottles so this one just stores my parts but anything could be used).
  • 6-8 bottles with flat lids (for pumping 3-4 times while at work)
  • Sometimes I throw in a few pieces of chocolate!

I take DJ to daycare and feed her there from 7-7:30.  This totally was not my plan but it works for us because J can help us get out the door (he leaves at 6:45) and she is more awake for her first feeding.   Usually she only takes 1 side so sometimes I pump the other side while I drive to work.  My drive between daycare and work takes about 25 minutes with lots of traffic lights.  At my first long light, I set up my pump with one bottle and hook it up.  I don’t use a hands free bra but just use one of my arms to hold the bump against me.  After about 10-12 minutes, I wait until I hit another long light and I “unhook” and put everything away.

At work, I try to pump in the morning between 10 and 11 am.  They have a pump room (required by law) with this little sign on the door:

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Once inside I quickly set up my pump which looks like this (note, these are Gerber bottles, not the medela ones that came with the pump).

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I usually pump for anywhere between 12 and 18 minutes.  It requires a lot of compressions and keeping my mind off work stuff.  My first pump of the morning usually yields between 4-6 ounces!  Here you can see, my one side was almost 3. 5 ounces (she ate off this side at 7 am at daycare so it had been a good 3 hours) but the other side only produced 1.5 ounces (I had pumped this side on my way to work).  This is a totally normal variance for me, but usually as the week goes on and my body gets used to pumping both sides at once it evens out.

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DJ currently takes about 4 ounces per feeding at daycare.  One time saving tip I found was to go ahead and combine milk after pumping to try to make full bottles.  So in this instance, I would add a bit to the larger bottle to make it a full 4 ounce bottle and leave just a bit in the other bottle.  This way, I know I have one full bottle ready for the morning and its less pouring to do at 6:30 am when we are half asleep!

After all that’s done, I run water through the breast shield to rinse out any milk left in the pump.  I set on the counter to “drip dry”.

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After that I set them back in the Medela cooler bag which I then throw with my bottles into the fridge downstairs.

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This process takes me about 20 minutes in total.  I am thankful my job is flexible enough to allow me this time.  I will repeat this process on my lunch break and again in the afternoon.  Sometimes I then will even pump on my way home if the baby has just been fed (sometimes she is waiting to eat as soon as I get home).  Some days I only get 3 sessions in and some days I get in a lot more.  So far I have been able to keep up with her 16 ounces per day and only dip into my freezer stash a little bit!

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Newborn weight gain

Our Ms. DJ is gaining weight beautifully.

When she was born she weighed 9lbs 7ounces. By the time we left the hospital 2.5 days later she weighed 8lbs 11ounces.

It wasn’t until about the third or fourth day that my milk came in. I ended up with a blister on one side, so I started pumping almost immediately. This created some extra milk that we started using and freezing. During the day she is eating every 2 hours, and every 3-4 hours through the night, with one bottle per night of breast milk from her dad.

At her three week check up with the pediatrician she finally caught back up to her birth weight and was just shy of 10 lbs. We were so excited! It was so reassuring knowing we wouldn’t need to start supplementing.

Now at 5 weeks she broke the 11 pound mark! We couldn’t believe that in less than 2 weeks she gained a full pound! We are so happy to know that our little one is healthy and getting everything she needs from breast milk. It really makes all the pain and effort worth it!