Breastfeeding and breast pumping is a huge job and I just want to start this post by saying- if you have done either or both for any amount of time at all- YOU ARE AMAZING and should be proud of yourself. Moms, it is a very hard job- breastfeeding or breast pumping for your baby for any amount of time that your body allows you to do so and it is amazing. You did the best you could for your baby and you shouldn’t feel any guilt. In fact you should be proud. You’re an amazing mom, let yourself know that.
Gentlemen, if you know any ladies that have done either of those things, know that what these women go through is so difficult and takes a toll on the body. It sacrifices the mother’s body and shares it for baby’s needs continuously after childbirth. It’s hard to get sleep too because you have to keep up with your pumping schedule. This becomes even more challenging when a mother goes back to work and continues to BP. The reason we do it is ultimately very rewarding, it is to provide our babies with mothers milk. Give these ladies some much due credit because what they do is a full time job and a miracle. If you can show you lady some appreciation by giving her a break when possible, she will greatly appreciate the extra help.
Now while we are on this subject, I wanted to share my tips for breastfeeding/breast pumping. Knowing more about BP and BF earlier would have helped me been better prepared.
1.) Drink plenty of water- stay hydrated. When I BP I get super dehydrated and I need a LOT of water. For work I bought a giant 24 oz cup so I don’t have to refill my water every few minutes. Although it varies person to person, do what you can to make sure you get extra water intake. I drink a lot of water. I refill my cup about 3 times a day, meaning I drink about 72 oz of water a day. Whatever system you prefer to use, stay hydrated- your body needs it to produce milk. Breastmilk is about 80% water.
2.) Taking prenatals started getting exhausted. I used to take a giant super pill version a few times a day, but I just got tired of taking it, so I switched to prenatal chews that are easier to eat a few times a day. Take your prenatals with a meal to avoid feeling nauseous.
3.) If you plan on breast pumping, take your pump with you to the hospital. Take advantage of the lactation consultants there after your delivery and have them show you how to properly use it and for how long to use it for. What I wish I did after I gave birth- I wish I had been more knowledgeable about BP, I would have liked to get the max of the colostrum (thick golden milk you first produce after birth) it’s a super milk and I wish I had thought of extracting more of it the first days after birth and given more of this precious milk to Lily.
4.) Have a little fuel station for yourself where you BP. Have your water and energizing snacks near by. I had a bowl of nuts, dried fruits and my favorite granola bars handy on the table tray at my home made breast pumping station.
5.) It takes time, so prepare your BF/BP space to be comfortable. Have a comfy chair, sofa, end table near you. The BP zone needs to be relaxing so you’re body doesn’t tense up and allows you to freely pump the milk. Don’t think of stresses, treat it as your own time. I know this is easier said than done. Sometimes you’re alone and still taking care of the baby and BP. If possible take this time to do something for yourself while you BF\BP- read a book, browse something on your phone, watch a show, whatever it is that helps you relax and get a mental break. This is part of that rare private you time so use it to help yourself relax in any way you can.
6.) Every mother is different, my recommendations are based on my personal experiences. I would recommend to invest in several pairs of hands free pumping bras so you can pump while the bra holds the pumps on both breasts. It’s already a time-consuming process to BP, so it’s nice to save time by pumping both breasts and it pumps a bit better, at least for me, when it’s both at the same time.
7.) When you’re out and about you need to plan ahead make sure you have a place to go to BP. Did you know certain stores and malls may have a nursing room where you can go nurse your baby or breast-pump? Ask the store attendants if their shop has a room for this.
8.) For my electric breast pump, I bought a cooling storage system for transport which came in handy when I was traveling. I still use the storage system when I go to work. Sometimes we used the storage system for baby bottles when we were going out for extended periods of time. It is not necessary to have something like this, but it was useful and I had a much easier time with it than we would have without.
Keeping in mind that every person is different, there are so many different triggers and tricks that work for different people. Whatever it is that you can do to make it easier and being more prepared, it will help ease stresses and panics while BF/BPing. Carrying a breast-pump with all its pieces, charged batteries the stress of finding an outlet and a private zone to do it all at is hard and when sometime goes wrong stresses and panics follow. So many situations can happen and they do happen so the more prepared you are the easier it will be for you. Do what you can to make it as as best of an experience as it can be and enjoy the special time knowing you’re providing for your baby. You are doing something no one else can do. If you think about all the details it’s really amazing what the body does and despite how hard it is- it truly is miraculous. You’re a mom and you’re amazing- don’t forget it.
Does anyone else have any tips they’d like to share?