Breastfeeding & pumping: Tips to keep milk supply going

Whether you’re a working or a stay-at-home mom, pumping plays a key role in maintaining milk supply. When I made the announcement that my husband and I were expecting, I immediately told my employer that I planned on breastfeeding. I heard stories about moms pumping in the bathroom and decided early on that wasn’t going to be me. I began making arrangements to reserve a room as my due date approached.

My pumping space is neatly tucked away from everyone.  I’ve been able to pump two to three times for about 20-30 minutes a session during my shift, and store my milk in a refrigerator.

It can be a bit tedious carrying all that gear and washing all the parts after each use.  But, it’s worth it!  I’ve spoken with other moms who’ve mentioned that they’ve tried doing the deed for a number of months, but later gave up because of their dwindling milk production.

Here are some helpful tips to keep your milk supply going while you nurse and pump.

1.  Plan early.  Once you make the announcement to your boss, arrange a quiet place to pump (not the bathroom).

2.  Drink lots of water. Running after two little ones keeps me so busy that I forget. I keep a bottle with me at all times and sip throughout the day.

3.  Pump and store. I want to avoid formula. I express my milk and store it in the freezer for backup whenever possible.

4.  Nurse as much as possible. Not only does it increase our bond, nursing also stimulates my breasts and increases my production.

5.  Speak up! If you work outside of the home and aren’t happy with your pumping conditions, express your concern. Your pumping experience should be comfortable.

6. Indulge your sweet tooth. There are plenty of cookie recipes that include the ingredient brewer’s yeast which is believed increase milk supply.

7  Vitamin supplements. I continue to take my prenatal vitamins to maintain my overall health. There is also Fenugreek that increases milk flow.

8. Drink lots of tea. In addition to consuming lots of water, I also drink a special lactation tea that helps with milk production.

9. Take a class. There are programs like Isis Parenting Starts Here that offers webinars on breastfeeding success. Participants are able to chat and share experiences with other nursing moms. They also offer an online Pump Talk course, which covers information on expressing, storing, feeding pumped milk, as well as how to increase milk production.

10. Maintain a healthy diet. Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories. I make up for it by consuming about 500 extra calories a day to keep my supply in check.

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6 thoughts on “Breastfeeding & pumping: Tips to keep milk supply going”

  1. Pumping in a bathroom is like eating in a bathroom. It can be gross and unsanitary, not to mention uncomfortable. You can pump wherever you would like. At your desk, in the break room–I’ve even seen an employee sit in the lobby of a restaurant and nurse her child. Pump where you’re comfortable, and remember that you do not have to let anyone shame you into pumping or nursing in a bathroom. Only you can make that choice.

  2. If your company employs more than 50 employees, a pumping space must be provided. Even if it is a closet, it CANNOT be a bathroom. Read up on your specific state’s laws, as some states protect a mother’s pumping rights much more. If your boss insists on you pumping in the bathroom, you can show him/her your state laws & file a complaint through HR if needed. The law protects you to pump when needed & for the amount of time needed.

  3. I nursed my first for 12 months and started back to work/pumping when my baby was 8 weeks. I basically stayed on the same schedule with pumping as if my baby was with me – so during a work day, I’d pump every 3 hours. On the weekends, I nursed exclusively, because it was easier and if I was right there, then why not. That seemed to work well for us.
    My SIL was nursing and then pumping/nursing when she returned to work also, but I noticed that when we were together for example at church and out to breakfast afterward that she would feed her baby one or two pre-pumped bottles of breastmilk without nursuing or pumping at all during the time. I’m still perplexed about how that worked for her. I was under the impression that you should either be nursing or pumping on a regular schedule. Anyone have any insight into this?

  4. I start back to work in 4 days after 3 months of breastfeeding, so this article was perfect timing for me. Thank you! I’ve been pumping once a day at home and freezing, but I’m sure that supply will dwindle down quickly!

  5. I pumped until 11 months with each baby. That meant about 8 months of pumping at work. My tips, I start off pumping three times a day. Then I just go to two once my supply was strong. I ended up with the same amount of milk. If you can nurse once a day during lunch, that’s awesome too. I didn’t wash parts during the day. If you can seal them in a sterile bag (steam bags) that works. If you can refrigerate the parts that’s even better. Less work. It is a total hassel but worth it for the health and saved $$.

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