My paediatrician is constantly pushing me on “breast is best” but I am totally team “fed is best”. My feeding routine is a mixture of breast and bottle, but as much as possible I try to keep it to breast milk regardless of the delivery. I didn’t have the greatest start to breastfeeding. Lucas wasn’t latching properly and it was really painful. Because of this, I started pumping as soon as I got home from the hospital. I would let Lucas feed for about 10 minutes just to get the on-breast practice, and then I would pump to help bring my milk in. Due to my c-section it took a bit longer for my milk to come in, but once it did I was pumping far more than Lucas needed, so I took full advantage and started building a freezer stash. Today he is one month old, and I have a stash of 160 ounces of frozen breast milk. At the rate he eats per day, thats about 5 full days worth of milk. Below are the tools and tips that were instrumental in helping me accomplish this.
This pump is unbelievable. It’s a daily use breast pump designed for moms who are going to be pumping multiple times per day, so if you are planning to build a freezer stash and switch between breast and bottle feeding like I do, this pump is a must. I’ve tried the Medela swing and it just doesn’t measure up. I use the double pump for about 10 minutes per pump and I get anywhere from 5 ounces to 10 ounces per session (depending on the time of day). TIP: At $375 this pump doesn’t come cheap, so check with your insurance company to see if breast pumps are covered. You may be surprised to find out that they offer an allowance towards the cost of a pump.
This silicone breast pump is my must have. I’ve had so many conversations about breastfeeding with other BF mama’s and I can’t believe this doesn’t come up. Chrissy Teigen recently used and posted about it, and now its being carried at West Coast Kids. I was researching about breastfeeding during my third trimester, and I read about the Haakaa on a blog from the UK. I figured at such a low investment it would be worth a shot so I ordered it and I am so happy that I did. I feed Lucas on one side and use my Haakaa to catch the drip from the other side. I collect one to two ounces of breast milk that would have otherwise been soaking into a breast pad. He breastfeeds about 5 times per day, so I’m collecting an extra 5 ounces minimum! For only $26, the Haakaa is a no brainer.
In an effort to support good milk flow, I drink three large S’Well bottles of water per day, which is 75 ounces of water. I eat oatmeal every morning for breakfast (overnight oats are my favourite), drink one cup of mothers milk tea (yuk) and eat two boon cookies (yum). I’ve also found that whenever I have bubble tea, I pump an insane amount the next day. RANDOM! But apparently the tapioca helps with milk production. Luckily I LOVE bubble tea.
Let’s say the day starts at midnight because, well, it does. Here is a schedule where, for arguments sake, his first feeding is at 12am. Sometimes its 11:30 pm, sometimes its 1am, but you get the point. Like clockwork, he eats every 3 hours for about 20 minutes and then I pump for 10 minutes afterwards.
12am – breastfeed and pump out remaining milk
3am – bottle feed expressed milk and pump
6am – bottle feed expressed milk and pump
9am – breastfeed
12pm – breastfeed and pump out remaining milk
3pm – breastfeed and pump out remaining milk
6pm – Daddy’s home! Let Dom bottle feed expressed milk while I pump.
9pm – breastfeed
The schedule above is something I’ve recently landed on after a lot of trial and error. If I had been doing this from the beginning I’d have a lot more than 160 ounces in the freezer today, so I am hoping that month two’s freezer stash is much larger than month one. Initially, rather than just emptying my breasts after feeding, I was pumping mid way through Lucas’ naps, but I found that this was starting to increase my supply to much, and I started to worry about oversupply and everything bad that comes along with that (clogged ducts + mastitis) so I stopped doing this and started emptying my breasts after feedings instead. You may be wondering why I don’t pump out the remaining milk after the 9am or 9pm feeding, and there really is no rhyme or reason to this. I just find I need a break. I could add two more pumping sessions to the day, but I really don’t want to be that hard core. It’s not like I am building a freezer stash so I can go back to work. My stash is more for date nights and the one off over night wedding, so there’s no need for me to kill myself pumping. After his 9am feed I enjoy my morning coffee while he naps, and after his 9pm feeding I spend some quality time with my husband. Also, if you end up following anything similar to the schedule above you’ll want at least three sets of pump parts so you aren’t washing dishes after every session. As you can see, I pump three times and then take a break. This allows me to get all my parts cleaned and sanitized for the next three rounds.
I yield the most milk at the 3am and 6am pumping sessions (about 16 ounces combined). I bottle feed about 12 – 16 ounces per day, so these two sessions alone set me up for the day ahead. Plus, bottle feeding at 3am and 6am means either mom OR dad can take the feeding.
Because Lucas is still so young, he often falls asleep on my boob, which is another reason why I pump when he’s done. These after-feed sessions usually yield about 4 ounces each, but because he fell asleep, he will usually wake up about 20 minutes after his feed for more milk. I top him off with 1 – 1.5 ounces more, either from the pumping session or from the Haakaa. With this in mind, I never freeze my milk immediately. I leave the bag in the fridge until his next feeding just in case he needs it. The number one priority is making sure that Lucas is fully satisfied.
Lately, with this schedule, it has felt like all I do is feed, pump and wash pump parts and bottles, but its a labour of love for my little one. I want to be able to offer him breast milk even if I have to leave him over night. We have a few weddings coming up so at least 60 ounces of my freezer stash is already claimed.
Do you have any tips I might have missed? Sound off in the comments below.