I’ve almost made it 8 months nursing Clara and Kate. I also work a 40+ hour work week so there have been many hours sitting hooked up to a pump.
- Find out if you get a breastpump from your insurance and, if so, get it as soon as you can. They let me order it 2 months from my due date since I was having twins but usually allow for moms to order one month before. Don’t sweat it if you don’t remember to do this until after you come home though. One of my friends at work didn’t know about the free pump until 6 or more months into it and still qualified.
- Consider renting a hospital grade pump. I did this and it’s been great. It is more effective than the standard electric pump. I used my standard pump as my home and travel pump because I pump more during the week at work. Yes, it is a convenience to have two but it was worth it for me in time and milk production. You can likely rent this from your hospital or a medical supply. There are also online rental places. I just got mine from the hospital. They gave me a multi-month discount.
- If you’re going back to work, start pumping and freezing that milk as soon as possible. I pumped after each nursing session for a couple of months. Because I pumped and stored so much milk the first two months, I had enough breastmilk stored so that the girls didn’t have to have formula until about 5 months when the stash ran out. It was hard though. And I had help. If I had been on my own there is NO way I would’ve been able to manage that much pumping. If I did it over again, I would probably only pump after the daytime feedings to give me more sleep.
- Freeze your milk in breastmilk storage bags NOT the storage bottles that come in your breastpump kit. You’ll likely end up with a lot of stored milk and having flat bags of frozen milk is a lot easier to store. Freezing and storing milk really is a post all of its own. Check out my post on breastmilk storage bags.
- Pumping into bottles and then pouring it into storage bags is easier than using bags that attach to the pump parts. You do have to wash the bottles but I keep them in my cooler bag so I don’t have to was them until night. They go in the dishwasher with everything else.
- Talk to your HR department or manager before you come back to work to find out about your pump room. You’ll want to know where it is and how to access it.
- My pump bag has everything I need in it, including my rented hospital grade pump. I use a large bag for this rather than the little pump bag that many pumps come in. I have a smaller tote that I bring bottles, breastpump accessories and cooler bag to and from work in daily (along with my lunch, snacks, and coffee). When I go to pump, I put my pump accessories, cooler bag, and laptop in my big pump bag before heading to the pumping room at work.
- Decide how you want to store your milk at work. For me, the easiet thing was to put it in my cooler bag that goes home with me every day. It saved me a trip to the break room to put it in the fridge and I didn’t have to worry about forgetting it there.
- I have never pumped enough when at work to meet the demands of my babies. I don’t worry about it too much since that doesn’t do anyone any good. You can mix formula with breastmilk. It’s not an either/or. With two, if you are supplementing, just make sure they both get equal amounts of your milk to spread the wealth.
- Set up a comfortable place to pump at home. For me, that meant pumping in my downstairs recliner. I had a side table that kept my pump and a glass of water to keep me hydrated. I kept myself entertained by checking Facebook and Pinterest and reading a few books. If only I had started blogging in those early days…
- Being productive at work is very important to me so I don’t have to work when I get home. I took my laptop with me to the pump room to maximize my time. For some moms, this could affect your let-down so do what works for you. On days that this happened to me I opened my pictures and videos of my kiddos and it does help.
- If you travel a lot, get a car adapter to plug your pump into the car. This also was helpful when I was somewhere that didn’t have a good place for me to pump because I could go out to my car.
- Drink plenty of water and eat. I can absolutely tell the difference in my supply when I don’t. At first I drank Ensure because it was hard to find time to get as many calories as I needed to feed my babies. Believe it or not, it’s pretty tasty. There’s lots of recipes for “booby shakes” but I’ve never had time to make any of them. Maybe I should rephrase that. I’ve never taken the time. Either way, this might work for you but, if not, Ensure might’ve helpful.
Pumping is hard work. You should be proud of yourself even if you only make it a few weeks. With that said, you also shouldn’t feel guilty when you decide to stop. The best thing for your baby is a happy, healthy mommy.
For more on nursing twins check out my other posts:
- Nursing Twins- Part 1: The Preparation
- Nursing Twins- Part 2: Surviving the Early Days
- Nursing Twins- Part 3: Nursing Two Solo
What tips and advice do you have for pumping moms (of one or two)?