Well…I have lots to update on the whole milk production front. First of all…my supply is BACK. I am SO excited. It’s not quite up to what Monkey needs each day, but it’s pretty dang close and I’m thrilled (we need to supplement an extra 8-12 ounces a day). At BlogHer, I ended up pumping every 3-4 hours; I was very diligent because I knew it was imperative that I keep my boobs thinking they needed to produce that milk, and since I was going to be away from Monkey, I didn’t want my supply dwindling even more! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to donate that pumped milk to a local momma as originally planned. I just couldn’t chance it since my supply had dipped so badly the week before…especially if the dip ends up being a result of the return of my period – who knows what this month will have in store, ya know? I AM happy to say that other bloggers were able to donate over 60 ounces to a local momma though! I’m hoping to start planning a ‘pumping mommas’ party much earlier next year, so we can make it bigger and better and get even more milk to donate. I think a combination of me pumping so much, plus the domperidone prescription really helped up my supply. I’m also on a great tincture from my lactation consultant.
So how was pumping all the time? Well, honestly…it sucked. On top of pumping in the car, I had to pump twice on the train both ways, and it wasn’t exactly the most comfortable thing I’ve ever done. I threw a blanket over me and the whole time I kept waiting for someone to ask what I was doing (never happened). I felt like Madonna when she had her cone bra because with the blanket over me, my chest had what looked like two cones for boobs. Maybe everyone just thought my boobs were shaped that way? Either way, I did it and successfully kept the milk cool in my small cooler that came with my Medela pump.
In the end, my hard work really paid off and I was able to come home with 115 ounces of milk for Monkey! I had brought a hard sided cooler with me, so I packed it with ice on the bottom, then the bags of milk, then more ice on top. I didn’t open the cooler until about 9 hours later. Before hitting the road to drive the 6 hours back to Michigan, I stopped at a gas station and switched out the ice. To my amazement, the milk stayed nice and cold! When I got home, I immediately moved the bags of milk into the freezer. I originally wanted to use dry ice, and actually purchased some in NYC…but we had a little ‘incident’ in our room, so I ditched that idea (more on this in a follow up post).
The funny thing about me being gone is that I was SO worried about Monkey protesting and not eating…and also thought The Husband would have a miserable time during the night getting him back to sleep, but it was much the opposite. The Husband got Monkey to sleep 7-8 hour stretches during the night..something he’s never done before! Monkey also loved drinking milk from the bottle. So much so that he seems to prefer the bottle now. The good news is that Monkey now takes bottles, which is a huge accomplishment from a few weeks ago – so this means The Husband and the grandparents can easily feed him when needed. The bad news is that I’m stuck pumping multiple times a day, something I HATE doing. The Husband is about to start a job, so that means during the day on top of feeding Monkey, I’ll also be pumping and washing parts in order to keep my supply up. I’m not complaining, though, because I’m so thankful that I’m even producing any milk right now. Monkey does still take to the boob in the middle of the night which is good. Speaking of, he’s really only waking up once now – around 1 or 2 am, has a big long feeding then goes back to sleep until 6 or 7am. It feels so crazy being able to sleep longer stretches at night!
Have you shared a similar experience? Have you had your baby switch to bottles after a trip away? Do you have a success (or failure) story to share about pumping while away? Please share in the comments below!
- If you’ll be pumping on a train or plane, try to get a comfortable seat. This is easier on a train than a plane, but I was able to get the front seat in coach – right next to an outlet. It was much more comfortable for me than cramming into a tighter seat.
- Get some cleaning wipes for cleaning your pump parts in between pumping sessions on the train/plane. These are what I brought and they worked great.
- Bring some gallon sized zip-lock baggies for your trip. I stored my pump parts in a gallon sized bag inside of the fridge in the hotel room during the day so that I didn’t have to wash my pump parts between every single pumping session.
- Bring a cloth with you to catch/wipe up any milk dribbles.
- If staying at a hotel that doesn’t come with a fridge in your room – ask for one. If there is a charge, bring a doctor’s note so they can waive the fee. My hotel wanted to charge me $30, but I had a doctor’s note with me, so I whipped that out and they waived the fee.
- Bring a hard sided cooler with you so that you can bring your milk home, or consider donating! Contact Eats on Feets or Human Milk 4 Human Babies.
- Look at a picture of your little one (or better yet watch a video on your phone) to encourage let down, if you have trouble.
- Massage like crazy while pumping in order to avoid clogged ducts. If you do experience clogged ducts, bring some Ibuprofen with you to reduce inflammation. (I ended up not needing to take any, but if the pain had lasted any longer, I would have needed some.) You should be able to get a good idea about which areas of your breast are prone to clogs. Once you do, pay close attention to those areas while massaging. Massage in long strokes starting at the armpit and working towards the nipple.
- If you do experience clogs, use the following technique to aid in freeing them: Use the heel of your hand to apply pressure to the clog…enough so that you feel a bit of pain. Once the pain is relieved, push harder. Continue doing this until the clog is released. This is what worked for me!
- Purchase a hands free bra that will allow your double electric pump to be…hands free!
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