“I don’t want to do this anymore. I feel like a cow with giant udders. Can’t I just feed my baby formula?”
Does this sound familiar? That was me not that long ago. Every day the routine was the same and I felt drained because I didn’t feel like a mother nurturing her baby, but rather I felt like a factory meeting a daily quota.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with formula and I have never been one to make another mother feel guilty for feeding her infant. Whatever that means. There should be no reason for a woman to feel that she is not motherly material just because she chooses a path different than others. You can read my complete thought process on that here.
Yet, maybe you really do want to pump and provide breast milk for your baby but you have just had enough. You’ve decided that pumping hurts and it’s loud and its awkward feeding a machine instead of a child. If that’s you, I want to encourage you to not give up.
So, before you decide that you’ll throw in the towel and just not pump at all, please try some of these pumping tips for working moms to see if the process becomes easier. These are the very same pumping tips that I found to be most helpful to me when I was a young pumping mother at work.
Favorite Pumping Tips For Working Moms
Baby needs to eat, you know that. So you pump and you freak out because baby needs to eat and you know baby is depending on you to eat. Slow down momma, it will be okay. Yes, there is always a task to be accomplished but the more that you stress the less likely you are to enjoy this gorgeous experience. It’s wonderful and it may be that you don’t see that now because the more stress you add to this experience the less likely you are to enjoy it and the more traumatic it will be to you. In return, you will be less likely to continue this venture for the long run.
True relaxation is a technique that does not come naturally to many women. Perhaps it is the many hats that we as women tend to wear and the lack of ability to turn our thoughts off at night. Yet, when baby comes along it’s as if in an odd way God is giving us that moment to relax and rest. To recover. Sadly, many women in today’s time do not get that full rest experience because we are so consumed with the idea that we must meet a certain time frame. Yet, God has given us infants. Have you ever held a sleeping baby in your arms and fallen asleep yourself? If so, you are not alone. I believe this is a gift from God to us, a way to allow us to heal from the birthing experience. Too often though so many women can not enjoy these moments, myself included, perhaps we go to work and instead of holding and nursing a child we watch a clock on our lunch break while pumping. This is not the best way. So, what is the best way? How can we relax and pump?
Watch A Video
Not just any video either. Record a video of your baby and watch it while you pump. Your body will naturally relax and your breast milk will naturally flow better. If you are in a crowded work space be sure to bring a pair of headphones so that you can listen and enjoy the video. You may find that by doing this one trick you are able to increase your breast milk supply as well. If you are unsure what to expect after returning to work then please feel free to read the post Returning To Work After Baby
Know Milk Amounts May Vary By Hour
If you have the luxury of breastfeeding without a pump then you can’t truly monitor how much milk you produce at each moment of the day. Yet, when you pump you are most certainly watching the ounces of the bottle fill up. It’s easy to panic when you only produce four ounces and you know baby needs eight per bottle but what you may not be aware of is that your supply will vary by hour. So, if you can’t pump the “proper amount” needed in one sitting, try again later, even if your breast feel empty because it could be that you actually produce more than enough during that hour to supply baby with a feeding.
Connect With Caregiver
It never failed. My son would want to nurse the moment I clocked out of work. The problem was that I still had a 45 minute drive before I could see him. Perhaps your situation is similar but by connecting with caregiver you may be able to work out a solution. It could be that on that last feeding of caregivers day that she only gives baby half a bottle and allows you to both nurse and pump when you get there.
Let Baby Comfort Nurse
Sometimes baby just needs mommy and that’s okay. On those days where my body knew my baby was eating without me present I would always become engorged on the way home and need relief. The problem is that pumping while full is not ideal. It produces very little of anything but pain. Or so it did for me. My solution was to allow baby to “comfort” on one side while I filled up a bottle on the other side. Some days it was the only way to get pumping again after a long day at work.
Mimic Nursing Patterns With Pump
Speaking of comfort feeding. Have you noticed that pumping allows you to work your breast but does not train your milk supply to increase the same way that baby does. Baby likes to play with the nipples and sometimes drinks nothing at all but rather just comforts. Feel free to slow down or speed up the pump from time to time so that it adds variety. This will also kick start your pumping flow if you are having a hard time producing “results”.
Proper Nutrition Matters
Don’t forget that you matter too. I got into the habit of not eating just so that I could have more time to pump at work. Please don’t do this. It wears on your body so quickly and the thing is, baby is taking in your nutrients as well. If you don’t take care of yourself then you are not taking care of your baby either, even if you think that you are.