Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Woo-Sah" goes the miPump

For the past 3 days in a row, I have been a breast-pumping ROCK STAR, pumping 9 1/2 ounces a day at work, AND breastfeeding on my lunch hour. I say this, not to brag, but because I have been struggling with pumping since I started back to work 2 1/2 weeks ago. I am still not exactly adjusted to this new arrangement. I have to pump pretty much constantly at work, and work one-handed. Luckily, I work in an office full of female nurses, so no one is bothered by this. Gradually, I am building my milk supply back to pre-work volume, so I thought I would share what appears to be working, or not working, for me.

There is a LOT of hooey on the inter-webs. Google "caffeine and breastfeeding" and you will get 9,999 results citing old-wives tales and personal anecdotes about how it will decrease your milk supply, and it's difficult to get down to the science. After my first couple days back at work (which were also my first couple days back to coffee) I noticed that I was pumping less than half the amount I had been in the week leading up to my return, and I was FREAKING. OUT. I asked myself, "what is different since I started back to work?" and I came up with "I started drinking coffee again." But I skipped over the glaringly obvious change since my return to work... I'd RETURNED to WORK.  There is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that caffeine in any form reduces milk production in lactating mothers. In fact, there actually is evidence that it increases production. The only drawback seeming to be that if your infant is sensitive to caffeine, it can cause some wakefulness and possibly fussiness. However, it would probably take a LOT of coffee (in excess of six cups/day) since less than 1% of the caffeine you consume actually makes it into your breast milk. I understand how the coffee milk-kill myth gets perpetuated though... I think a lot of women simultaneously resume work and coffee drinking, and the biggest milk buster is STRESS. You're stressed about leaving baby, you're stressed about work, and you're probably stressing yourself out even more, worrying about your milk-supply suffering, and consequently... your milk supply suffers. It's a horribly vicious cycle.

Don't skip breakfast. "Eating for Two" doesn't stop once the baby is on the outside. Although you never actually need to consume twice as much, you do need to consume about 400 extra calories both during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding.

Personally, once I started getting up a little earlier so that I wasn't rushing around, took time to nurse Bunny twice (once when she woke up, and once right before putting her in her car seat), my out-put went from barely 6 oz/day to over 9 oz/day. It's still not the 12+ oz/day I getting before I went back, but it's enough. BARELY, but it's enough.

I've found this site to be extraordinarily helpful. What didn't help? Worrying about not getting enough.

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