Advice on Pumping/Storing Breastmilk

Updated on June 11, 2008
T.S. asks from Tacoma, WA
43 answers

I will be returning to work when my daughter is 6 weeks old. My husband will be home with her for another 6 weeks, and then she will be going to daycare. I have decided to pump and freeze breast milk, but I have some questions for working moms with experience, because right now I am completely confused.

1. What is the best pump? I am leaning toward the Playtex Embrace Double Electric.

2. Should I pump from day one and give her bottles, or should I breastfeed for the first six weeks and then switch to pumping and bottles? I am worried about the transition phase if I do this, but I also feel like I should really breastfeed while I have the opportunity.

3. Would it work better if I pump single-size servings (like 2 ounces) into a bag to freeze and use drop in bottles, or should I freeze full bags to thaw as needed and just dull out serving sizes into regular bottles? On that note, what is your favorite bottle?

I am sure I will have more questions later, but I will leave it at that for now. :)

Thanks for all your help!

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So What Happened?

Wow! I cannot believe all the helpful information I have received. You all have solved all of my feeding concerns over the course of a weekend. I have decided to go with the Medela Pump In Style Advance since everyone recommended it so highly, and I have discovered my insurance will cover it! I would have never thought to ask without your advice. Also, all of your information about pumping and storing techniques and bottles were great! I am going to try pumping after feedings as soon as possible so that I can build up a supply in the freezer before returning to work, but I have also decided not to introduce a bottle until she is 3 weeks, and then start having my husband introduce it gradually, increasing the number of bottles each week until I return to work to get her accustomed to it. I cannot thank-you all enough!

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D.M.

answers from Anchorage on

I breast-fed exclusively for the first 8 weeks and then switched. If you start with bottles before 4 weeks there is a possibility she will not latch at the breast at all. I use playtex bottles with the linner and the playtex breastmilk storage kits. My babies tend to be to big for 2 oz bottles rightaway and the playtex kit is the only one I will be able to store 8 oz bottles with. I did start pumping about 2 weeks before I went back to work to build up a supply. Milk comes out of the bottle easier and some kids eat more so I pump when I'm home some too and still have a hard time keeping up.
I'm using a manual pump still so I don't have any advise there!

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B.W.

answers from Seattle on

I also had to return to work when my daughter was 6 weeks old, and she went to daycare around the same time your daughter will. I have continued to pump and breastfeed all year, and my daughter will be 11 months this week.

1. I used a hand-me-down Ameda Purely Yours pump most of the year and was perfectly happy about it--especially since it was free and double electric pumps are quite pricey. I recently bought a hand-me-down Medela double electric pump from a friend, as the Ameda one no longer seemed to be cutting it, and Medela is touted by everyone (doctors, books, lactation consultants, etc.) I know as being the best. If you can afford it, I'd go with Medela. You can buy one new, try one used, or rent one from a hospital.

2. Our lactation consultant said no bottles for about the first four weeks, or until she's nursing really well. Around then I started pumping a little so my husband could give her a bottle every day or two to get her used to it. That worked really well for us, as I didn't want to try a cold turkey switch at 6 weeks and have it flop. And some babies won't take a bottle from mom regardless, as they know she has the real thing!

3. Once you thaw frozen milk, you're supposed to use or throw away within 24 hours, so I debated about how much to put in a bag, too. You may find, as I did, that milk becomes "white gold" that is too precious to have tossed away if you thaw too much. So early on, I would pump and then store in 2 oz. increments. But as she started taking 4-5 ounces at a time, I would store that much in a bag, because bags also add up to a lot of money, and no point in thawing two 2 ounce bags every time instead of 1 four ouncer.

We used the Dr. Brown's system, but I would recommend making sure whatever system you choose doesn't have the BPA stuff that's being talked about now.

One other note, even with the best planning for breastfeeding and then switching to bottles, you will likely have to adjust your plans. :) Babies want what they want sometimes. We could all tell you one bottle type and your daughter may say, no way!

And my daughter started refusing the bottle at 8 months, so we had to just use pumped milk in her rice cereal from then on. C'est la vie. Oh, and when you go back to work, she may wake up at night more to nurse, trying to catch up on mom time. It's nice to have that special time, but murder on your sleep schedule!

Good luck, and enjoy the breast feeding as long as you can!

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M.M.

answers from Portland on

T.!

You've got some great advice. I returned to work when my DD was 3 months old - I went back part-time, but I still had to provide 2-3 servings of milk for the three days that I worked.

1. I used the Purely Yours breast pump. This was perfect for part-time work, but I would recommend the Medela if you are returning full time.

2. Do you know where you'll be pumping at work? This is FAR more challenging than you think right now. Please don't get me wrong; women do it - you can do it - but there will be days when you'll want to quit. Try to mentally prepare yourself.

3. Expect to spend 30 to 45 minutes for each pumping session at work - that includes walking to the room you'll pump in, setting up the equipment, pumping, storing the milk, cleaning up the equipment and returning to work. You'll be doing this every 3 hours. That means you need to stop working every 2.5 hours while you're at work.

If you're busy at work - say, in an important meeting - and you want to skip a pumping session, you can't wait too long. Not only will your breasts start to throb because of the build-up of milk, but you will put yourself at risk for plugged ducts and mastitis.

Really think carefully about how you'll manage this at work. If you're in an important meeting and it's going longer than expected and you have to leave to pump, think ahead of time about what you'll do or say. Talk to your manager about all of this, if you can.

4. Around 3 to 4 months, your milk supply will drop to only what your baby needs.

If you were a SAHM and exclusively breastfeeding, you'd probably not notice it too much. But as a pumping mom, you'll notice it BIG time and, if you're like most of us, you'll be extremely worried.

Before this drop in supply, you'll be producing huge quantities of milk - more than your LO needs. All of a sudden, you'll set up your pumping equipment, and only 3 ounces will come out. It makes most FTM freak out - we think our baby will starve and this is when many pumping moms start substituting with formula.

Please remember this is NORMAL. Your body will produce MORE than it needs for the first 3 months or so, then it will drop to what your baby needs.

5. OK - last one. Breastfeeding babies, like formula feeding babies, will gradually drink more and more milk as they move from newborn to baby. However, breatfeeding babies cap off between 3 to 4 ounces a feeding. Formula feeding babies keep going until they're drinking 6+ ounces per feeding.

If your daycare provider (or husband or you) don't know this, you'll think your body is not producing enough milk. This is not true.

Formula fed babies have to drink more formula as they grow because they need greater and greater amounts of the appropriate vitamins and nutrients, and the only way to do this is to drink more formula.

Your breastmilk will naturally produce greater amounts of the right vitamins and nutrients within the same volume of milk.

Here's a website with info on this. I had to print this out and give it to my daycare provider, who was concerned that my baby was not getting enough milk because her feedings capped off at 3.5 ounces and stayed there until she was 1 yo and eating only solids at daycare. http://www.kellymom.com

Kelly Mom has tons of good information, including how to maintain or increase milk supply. you'll laugh at this during your first three months - you'll be producing enough milk to feed a small village - but if you continue to pump past three months - you'll be intensely interested in how to maintain a good supply!

OK - one last thing - it's fantastic you want to breastfeed - I breastfed until my LO was 20 months!! But if you decide to switch to formula part-time or full-time because it's just too tough with working, you are NOT a terrible mom. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty about it.

Good luck and congratulations!

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K.J.

answers from Portland on

I had to go into work for a couple of days about 2 weeks after my son was born so I know the dilemma you are facing.
1. I have the Medela Pump in Style pump and love it. It is more expensive but I have used it 3 or more times a day for the last 10 months and have not had any problems. Check with your insurance company - if they cover durable medical equipment you may be able to get it paid for.
2. You should pump and breastfeed from day one. I wouldn't give any bottles for at least a couple of weeks just in case it would interfere with her ability to nurse effectively. My son had an occasional bottle and nursed fine after 2 weeks of exclusive nursing. You will probably not be able to pump a lot initially, but it will be less stressful later if you start storing early. Plus, your supply will increase if you are pumping and nursing frequently. I work part time and my now 10 month old nurses when I'm home and has bottles when I'm not. I still pump when I'm at work.
3. I would freeze the amount that she will drink (2-3 oz). I have done it this way and even though you will use more bags, it seems to lead to less waste since you can't refreeze thawed milk. As she drinks more, you can freeze higher quantities. We used Dr. Brown's bottles when our son was very small because they seemed to reduce gassiness and the milk from the Avent bottles flowed way too fast. We now use Avent and like those as well. If you plan to continue to breastfeed while giving bottles, I would look into getting the preemie bottle nipples instead of size 1's. Breastfed babies have a stronger suck reflex since they have to work harder to get milk out of the breast than a bottle and even size 1 nipples are really fast for them. At 10 months my son is still using size 1's and a slower one would have saved us a lot of air bubble agony when he was little.

Let me know if you have any other questions - I am a big advocate of exclusive breastfeeding if possible and this was a major stress for me after the birth and returning to work!

Good luck!

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T.O.

answers from Portland on

Hi T.,
I just read the last reply but not all of them, so I will piggyback on her response. The biggest thing she said is that your partner has to support you! My husband dind't know anything about breastfeeding other than what I told him. He didn't go to the class with me-which I highly reccommend if you can go to a class and bring your husband (most women do, mine travels for work and was out of town). That class I learned a TON!. Also the book-The nursing mother's companion was very good and up to date.
For me breastfeeding was something I really wanted and luckily was very easy for me and babe. So easy that she never wanted the bottle when I went back to work so that caused some anxiety. I waited to 6 weeks to introduce the bottle to build up my milk supply and also not have to pump, and she didn't take it. She also never took a pacifier which the more I talk to moms the more those 2 go together. She now will take a bottle at 6 mos. I only am away from her 3 days a week. She basically made up for it at night and I nursed her a lot at night.
My advice, just breastfeed exclusively for at least 4 weeks, you will be too tired to pump and it takes at least that long for both of you to figure things out. Your body will not react to the pump like it will your babe-not produce as much. It's easier and the bonding is amazing. Even if you pump and do a bottle at night you have to get up and pump. For me it was easier and faster to nurse. Introduce the bottle at 4 weeks-make sure you check for bpa free bottles.
I have the aveda purely yours pump it's great and just like the medela, either of those are great. Also make sure the milk storage bags are bpa free ( first years and medela I know are for sure).
I reccommend freezing no more than 2 oz in a bag, you have to use frozen breastmilk within 24 hours or throw it away. This way you can combine how much she needs in 2 oz increments. I had a friend who did 1, 2, 3, 4 oz as her babies needs changed. Freezing bottles takes up to much room. I write on the bag how many ounces as it expands in the freezer, lay them down and it won't take up as much room. The frozen bm will last 3 mos in a freezer.
Sorry for the long email, I did a ton of research and had so many questions and it isn't the easiest thing in the world for most people so I want to help give support when I can. So many questions with nursing and pumping. Feel free to email me [email protected]____.com if you have more questions.
One last piece of advice use the lactaion services wherever you deliver, they were so wonderful for me after I had baby with lots of questions I had.
Good luck, I hope it works for you it's truly amazing and so wonderful for your baby. My little girl is 6 mos and has never been sick, I have to think breastfeeding made a difference in that and she was a winter baby:)

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C.M.

answers from Spokane on

Hi T.,

I went back to work when my daughter was 12 weeks old and have been pumping at work ever since. I breastfed my daughter from day one even knowing I was going back to work. I also still breastfeed when I am home in the evenings and on my days off. So my daughter transitions from the bottle and breast on a regular basis and has done fine with it. I would breast feed at every opportunity since it gives you both a terrific bond and it is much easier then pumping.
I have the Medela Pump in Style double pump and I like it. It's contained in a nice looking bag so it doesn't look like a pump. I pump into bottles that come with the pump and then pour a serving size into the freezer bags. But my daughter is eating between 5-6 oz per feeding. Since your baby will only eat a few ounces at first you can probably freeze multiple servings in one bag. You just have to make sure once you thaw the milk that you use it within a 24 hour period.
As far as bottles go I really liked the Advent bottles until I learned that it is the bad type of plastic. So I have been using a Nuby sippy cup with the Advent nipples and that works just like a bottle and I will be able to use it as a sippy cup in the future. The advent nipples are fine just not the bottles from what I have heard and read.
I hope this helps and I am so excited for you. Enjoy your baby they are such a wonderful gift. They grow so so fast so enjoy the tiny moments and all the cuddle time you can get!

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L.Y.

answers from Seattle on

I went back to work when my son was about 7 weeks old. I began pumping around the time he was one month old so I already had some stored up for him and around that same time I started having my husband give him a bottle every now and then. Thankfully my son was very easily adadptable and took bottle or breast with no fussing. I used Avent bottles mainly because I got a big stash of them free from a friend who's daughter couldn't use them and I used a Medela pump. The pump was really easy to use at work and it was pretty fast and efficient. I basically just pumped whatever I could and stuck it in the freezer. Kids go through spurts where they want a lot and then not as much so I found having different quantities in the bags made it easier to make sure we weren't wasting anything. I would also recommend pumping as much as you can at work, in the beginning I took three or four pumping breaks a day just to keep up my supply (and it helped with emotional issues too...it's hard to pump sometimes knowing someone else is enjoying feeding your baby so I found the more I gave myself the experience of knowing I was providing for him, it made me feel closer to him). Good luck and way to go for pumping and breastfeeding and working!!!

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C.R.

answers from Anchorage on

I would suggest the Medela Pump n Style. I think it is GREAT, and I have never heard a complaint about it.
As for the breastfeeding and bottles, I would breastfeed as long as you can. It may be a hard transition to the bottles, but it will be worth it to bond with your baby while you can. When I went back to work and my son had to start using the bottle, he liked it right away didn't want to nurse anymore. I miss our breastfeeding time together terribly. Plus, pumping is a pain with all of the washing of bottles and parts, so I wouldn't do it until you absolutely have to.
Congratulations on your soon-to-be new mommyhood!

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J.C.

answers from Eugene on

I have been pumping nad nursing since the beginning with my son. If you want to continue nursing in the evenings (or when home) after returning to work, I think they recommend not using a bottle until the baby is 1 month. You could then do a combination starting at a month, which would give you two weeks to get her used to the bottle. I use the Medela Pump in Style Pump. I know that it is spendy, but it is wonderful. And I have learned that you want a good pump. That's the only one that I really know about. We use the Breastflow bottle by Learning Curve/The First Years. Due to the design of the nipple, the baby has to use both compression and sucking (just as with nursing) so it decreases nipple confusion. There are many bottles out there now that are supposed to mimic breastfeeding. If they work as well as this one, you'll be in good shape. As a working mom who nursed (and continues to nurse when home) I recommend nursing if you feel that it is best and what you want. It is an amazing experience and way to bond with your baby. As for storage, I use breastmilk storage bottles. They hold 4 oz, which you can use as needed, and are reusable. Good luck!!

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N.W.

answers from Eugene on

Hi T.. Please enjoy nursing your daughter for your first 6 weeks together. But sometime before going back to work, start to practice using the pump and introducing the bottle to your baby.

It's been a long time since I've had to pump but I remember having to try out different nipples before finding one that my daughter liked.

I also stored the milk in single serving bags, 2-4 ozs, which could be thawed and used one at a time. The stuff is precious and you don't want any wasted if it is thawed and not used right away!

You can also train yourself to "let down" by guzzling a large glass of water each time your baby latches on to nurse. Then when you are ready to pump, you can guzzle a large glass of water and turn on the machine.

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C.M.

answers from Bellingham on

I didn't read the other responses, so I apologize if I repeat anything already said. After three months of struggling along with breastfeeding (my son had severe tongue-tie, which had to be corrected twice), I switched to pumping exclusively, which I did for the following seven months. Here are some things that I learned along the way:

1. Breastfeed from the beginning as long as possible. First, because it is much easier to establish a good supply breastfeeding rather than pumping. Second, you have 6 weeks that you won't have to do "double duty"--pumping and feeding. Third, there are some benefits to the baby being directly on the breast, not to mention bonding between baby and mom. Finally, if your baby can go back and forth from breast to bottle, then you can have a break from pumping nights, weekends, and vacations. Take it from someone who pumped 5-6 times per day for seven months--you don't want to be dragging a pump along on vacations.

2. Try to have some supply stocked up a couple of weeks before you go back to work. Maybe introduce the bottle at around 4 weeks. This gives the baby a chance to learn how to latch on well with less chance of nipple confusion. Try to find a brand of nipple that is designed to be similar to the breast.

3. Realize that it can take some practice to get enough milk with pumping. Pumps are not nearly as efficient as babies at removing milk from the breast. Check out www.kellymom.com for some great information on both breastfeeding and pumping.

4. Finally, make sure that your partner is 100% behind your decision. There will probably come some difficult moments when you will need his support. It will be much easier if he understands and supports your decision to give your baby breastmilk, even if it becomes a challenge. It's great that you want to give you baby the great benefits of your milk. Best of luck!

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M.M.

answers from Portland on

Hi T.,

I know you are getting a lot of responses, but I didn't really see one with my exact experience and it might help.

Before I had my daughter, I thought I would breastfeed fairly exclusively until I went back to work. Because of this expectation, I didn't buy a pump before she came. If I had it to again, I would definitely have a pump before baby came.

I didn't seem to have problems feeding my daughter right away because she latched on great and she was eating well, but after about the second day or so my nipples started detatching. I was bleeding, my breasts felt like they were on fire and the thought of my daughter touching them made me cringe. When she ate, I nearly cried. It was awful. The nurses tried to help and I saw a lactation consultant 3 times. Basically what they determined was that my daughter had an unusually strong suck and I had very sensitive skin. I used a nipple shield, which did help and she didn't mind, but my nipples weren't healing well due to all the continued friction. When my milk came in after we returned home, it was just streaming in an arc continuously. She only ate about 2 ounces at a time and my body had much more milk coming out. I made my husband go back to the lactation center to get a breast pump right away. He came home with the hospital grade one and we washed the attachments right away so I could start using it. Even with my terribly damaged nipples, the relief the breast pump offered was like heaven. It didn't hurt, it emptied my supply so quickly, and I wish I had had it from the beginning. I think if I had been able to alternate breastfeeding with pumping immediately, I wouldn't have experienced so much damage with my breasts.

I still continued breastfeeding on occasion, but I noticed every three feedings or so that my nipples would start detaching again. I have heard this is a pretty common occurance, a lot of women go through this. I know that it doesn't make me seem very strong, but if it hadn't been for the pump, I would have quit breastfeeding after a week.

I also think one of the great things about pumping right away is that you really only need to pump every 4 hours or so, but you have to feed your baby every two. Considing the scarcity of sleep the first 3 months, it is truly a blessing to be able to sleep 4 hours straight while husband feeds baby with the milk you've pumped.

The downside to pumping is that you have to wake up in the middle of the night to pump, but I had to wake up anyway to get a bottle for baby so I just did it when she woke up to eat.

We only kept the Medela hospital model for 2 months (because of the cost). I purchased a used Medela pump on Ebay and just used my attachments that I had from the hospital model. I had the backpack model which was really discreet and easy to pack anywhere. I also went back to work when my daughter was 2 1/2 months old. I pumped at work in the bathroom and kept the milk in our breakroom refigerator until it was time to go home. I also purchased the car power adapter so that I could pump in the car while were out and about, which was so helpful. I still breastfed sporadically until she was 4 months old, but I pumped until she was 11 months old.

Pumping takes a lot of dedication and planning, but considering I would have quit after a week without it, have my pump was amazing. I also honestly didn't mind what others consider the inconveniences. People will tell you it's difficult, but you just have to be prepared and diligent about cleaning your parts.

I made a lot of milk. In the beginning, I pumped 6 oz. on each side every time. After a few months it went down to 4 oz. on each side. If you don't pump or feed often enough, your supply will decrease and I was always wanting more milk than we needed just so we wouldn't have to supplement with formula. I kept 3 fresh bottles in the refrigerator usually and froze the rest in the size of portions my daughter was using in 1 feeding.

I hope some of this helps. I think the most important thing to know is that every person is different obviously and so is every baby. There is a lot you can do with training, but don't be discouraged if things don't go the way you plan. Your plan can always be modified to fit your needs. Another thing to know is that sometimes other moms can be verbally judgmental about your choices if you aren't doing the "normal thing." I received a lot of open criticism about my choice of not bucking up and working through the pain. At least I didn't quit and found an option that allowed me to offer my daughter breastmilk for almost a year.

Good luck and congratulations on your upcoming blessing!

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K.W.

answers from Portland on

Hi T., one more thing--when they say put it in the COLDEST part of your freezer, they are not kidding. I had about a month's worth of milk ruined because self-defrosting freezers can slightly thaw, then re-freeze, your milk over and over. That's kind of in the fine print, but it's a vital point!

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C.J.

answers from Richland on

I loved my Madela pump. It was recommended to me by my Sister In Law who is a nurse. It is expensive ($200) but works fantastic and I never had any trouble with my milk supply going away.

As for breastfeeding vs. bottle. It's completely up to you. The breast milk is the most important part. It is convenient to not have to carry around bottles though when they are so little! The transition may be a little difficult at first but, your baby will figure it out. The one nice thing with breastfeeding is that you can still do it at night when you get home from work, for as long as you decide to continue using breast milk (recommended is 12 months).

I loved my playtex drop ins bottles, however, I had to get the orthodontic nipples for my son as he hated the ones that came with the bottles. I also found that the adapters for the medela pump were great. They allowed me to pump directly into the drop in bottle liners and had sealing caps so they could be easily stored in the fridge or freezer. I definitely would recommend the milk bags that are either the drop in liners you will use directly or the Lansinoh ones that have ziploc style tops. The ones that you fold down and use a twist tie with are very messy!!! I would also say, pump into 4 oz containers to start with. Pretty quickly you should easily be able to fill the 4 oz containers (one from each breast) in 10 min of pumping. It is kind of a pain, especially when the milk is frozen, to seperate into usable amounts without making a mess or thawing too much milk and ending up wasting it if you don't use it right away!

Good luck with all of this!!! Breast feeding was very difficult for me to get the hang of to start with but, it was so worth it!!! I know my son got the best start he possibly could, even when I went back to work full time at 8 weeks and he was in daycare. And, his daycare was fantastic about letting me come on my lunch break to continue breastfeeding mid day!!!

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H.B.

answers from Portland on

After I returned to work, my husband stayed home with our daughter for a while. I found it worked best to breastfeed several times each day and then pump once and let my husband give a bottle from the beginning.

This helped my daughter get used to my husband and the bottle without a sudden change.

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E.S.

answers from Seattle on

Hi T.,

Well you have a lot of advice already, so am not saying anything new, but would like to comment. First someone said to not use certain bottles and one of them included "avent". My son loves that brand and I use those along with "soothies". I think because the nipple is wider, he likes it better then the skinnier ones. Also I produced milk late and my son was getting dehydrated so we had to give him fromula the first week or so through a tube coming our of a syringe taped to my breast. Sounds strange I know,but the lactation consultant said that that would make him think he was breast feeding. It was difficult to say the least, but he breast feeds now and I was only suppose to be off for 6 weeks, but couldn't bare to leave him so I stayed off for 3 mo.! We didn't think we could afford it, but God works in mysterious ways. :) Anyway, I first bought a evenflo pump and it broke in about 3 mo. I then bought a Lansinoh pump and I love it. More expensive ($160 vs $50 for the first one), but worth the investment. I work full time and had to pump 2-3 times during work for about 15-20 ea. time. Now my son is 8 1/2 mo. and I pump once or twice (depending if I feed him before I go to work). I pump about 10 oz. daily sometimes more and sometimes less. When my milk supply went down we did supplement formula because he was losing weight without it. I felt bad, but I figured I will do whatever I need to to keep him healthy. I am am first time mom as well and wish you the best of luck.

Oh about milk freezing. I have the Lansinoh Mommy milk bags and they have lines on them up to 6 oz. I suggest while your off to Pump and store because I didn't and I couldn't keep up with my son's demand for milk! I filled my bags up to 6oz. However, once thawed he drank only 1/2 that day and the rest the next day because he is in daycare for 3 hours 3 times a week and sleeps most of th time. Congrats and good luck!

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J.M.

answers from Portland on

The Medela Pump in Style is awesome!! My insurance covered mine as durable medical equipment and it is in great shape still after 2 kids who nursed until almost 2. To simnplify the cleaning of the parts, Medela has a steam bag to sterilize everything in. You just put the pump parts in, add water, and pop it in the microwave, then set it all out to air dry. Make sure you meet with the lactation consultant while you are in the hospital. They are amazing. Both of my daughters had latching problems at first because my nipples are small, they made sure everything got going because I was determined to breastfeed no matter what. The thing that helped me was nipple sheilds, they basically create a bigger surface area for the baby to latch on to, but they also save your nipples from becoming cracked and sore. This also helped when I transitioned to bottles because I just put the sheild over the bottle and it was the same feeling for them. As far as a type of bottle I would wait to get anything until your little one has come along and started breastfeeding because what worked best for me is looking for nipples that most resembled my own (and they will change a little in size and shape once your little one is feeding).
You are making such a great choice. You will be amazed at the bond that happens. Good Luck.

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T.B.

answers from Portland on

Congrats on the soon to be born child! I breastfed both of my boys the entire first year of their lives, but I am also a working mom. So, I pumped and froze a ton of breastmilk! What we found worked best for us, is this... my husband introduced the bottle (we liked the Playtex Ventaire bottles best) when baby was 2 weeks old. My husband took the midnight feeding because he's a night owl anyway and that allowed me a few consecutive hours of sleep. Because I wanted to breastfeed the children when I was at home, we had a strict rule that I did not give the kids bottles to avoid nipple/bottle confusion. They really got that mom fed them one way, and everyone else fed them with a bottle.

We tried a variety of milk storage bags, and our hands down favorite was the Lansinoh brand. It has a double ziplock closure. I did a lot of airline travel with a second born, and those bags withstood the beating checked luggage takes with very few leaks and no breaks. I did store a full 6oz in each bag, partly due to cost, but it was easy that way to adjust with the child's appetite.

When it comes to breast pumps, I used the Medela Pump In Style electric when I was at home or in places where I had private, convenient access to electricity. It was really fast and easy to pump both sides at the same time. Unfortunately, I am an outside sales person, and once I returned to work, those places were few and far between. I switched to the Avent-on-the-go as a manual pump. It was discreet, quiet, and I could literally pump anywhere. (Yes, I even had to pump sitting in my seat on an airplane once because we were stuck for 3 hours on the runway and weren't allowed to leave our seats.) I loved this manual pump. It was the second one I tried. I had heard wonderful things and read great reviews on the Medela Harmony. I bought that one first, and it lasted through two pumpings. It made a funny squeaky noise (making it very NOT discreet) and it didn't have decent suction.

T., congrats again, and best wishes with a successful breastfeeding experience. Breastfeeding, in my opinion, is amazing! I do recommend that you work with a lactation consultant at the hospital when the baby is born so they can help with you holds and proper latches. Getting comfortable positions and good latches from the get-go will save you much frustration and pain. If momma's happy, everyone's happy! If you have struggles after you go home from the hospital, I can also encourage you to contact the local La Leche League. These are women who have gone through it and can offer invaluable advice and support. Breastfeeding is an enormous commitment, and worth every ounce of effort it requires, but certainly it has its moments of frustration and worry, so its a good idea to know where to find support and encouragement when you need it. Best of luck to you and yours!!!

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A.S.

answers from Portland on

You are being very thoughtful. Way to plan ahead! I just thought I would throw in my two cents reagaurding bottles:

Avoid the unsafe and shoot for the "safer" plastics (or glass). Here's a little info:

A good website to check out is the Oregon Environmental Councils website located at:

http://www.oeconline.org/kidshealth/tinyfootprints/

But basically....

Avoid: Polycarbonate product examples:

• Bottles: Avent; Dr. Brown's; Evenflo (clear); First Years; Playtex Vent Aire; Sassy; TupperCare

Safer alternatives: Non- polycarbonate product examples

• Bottles: Evenflo glass or pastel polyethylene plastic; Gerber polypropylene opaque plastic; Medela breastmilk polypropylene storage bottles and polyethylene milk storage bags; disposable bottle systems with polyethylene plastic inserts (e.g., Playtex Nurser, Playtex Drop-Ins)

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K.M.

answers from Portland on

There is some great advice here. It is good to see that there are so many breasfeeding moms out there. I don't have time to read all the posts here, so please excuse me if I am repeating myself.
The Medela Pump in Style is definitely a SUPER pump. Check with your insurance company to see if they will cover the cost of the pump. My insurance company covered it at 90% if I bought it at a designated retailer. I went to one of their sites, and paid $27 for a brand new pump since the price was $227. What a deal! I do not recommend using a second hand pump. There is no guarantee that it will be sterile, efficient, etc. Lactation Consultants will definitely urge you to buy new. Good luck!

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B.L.

answers from Seattle on

Good luck to you and congrats on your bundle of joy! It is the most wonderful feeling to hold your baby for the first time. I am excited for you and your husband.

To answer some of your questions, I have the Medela Advanced Pump in Style...love it. On the 2nd go round with my now 3 month old. Worked great for going to work and pumping at work.(I would suggest getting extra suplies like pump attachments and bottles so that you aren't doing all of the dishes every night to make sure that you are ready for the next day. Having extras on hand makes life a little more simple and stress free.)

2)Lactation consultants and books say to wait until your supply comes in and you are nursing well. This may vary. I started pumping at about 3 weeks. My two kids were very different however. My son didn't nurse well at all and it was very difficult for me to pump. My daughter latched right on the 1st hour after she was born. Always feed the baby first and then pump whatever you have left. You can give the baby to daddy for burping and go right to the pump.

3)I used the medela little "test tubes" in the begining. They are about 2.5 oz. The bags work well too. I liked that I could put a nipple on the tube and feed right from that. But the tubes fill up fast and soon you will need a bigger container. The bags work well too, I pump into the bottle and then pour the bottle contents into the bag. Definitely date and write down the amount in each bag. I have also found that I can pump into the bottle and just take the bottle to daycare, so having some bottle on hand works well. I use little garage sale stickers or labels on the caps to tell me what date the milk is from. (One little hint, fold the edge of the sticker to make it easier to peel off. You wont have to scrape it with your fingernails, and it will probably not leave as much of the sticky residue on the cap either.)

My 3 month old is using the medela bottles and it's working great. I can pump right into them and then take it to daycare. Makes life a little easier. Also look for the Medela Quick steam sterilizer bags for the microwave! AWESOME! I had the big sterilizer and never used it. Too messy, burned myself and the bags are easy to take with you if you travel or want to take them to work etc.

As you can tell, life needs to be planned out a little more, but it is so wonderful! Good luck to you and your family! :)

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B.H.

answers from Portland on

I have used the Medela Pump In Style for 4 months now and am VERY happy. It is VERY sturdy and easy to travel with. I agree with everything that has been written but would add a couple of things:

1. It is VERY important to meet with a lactation consultant to be properly fitted for the "trumpets" that you put on your breast. Believe it or not, they come in different sizes. You can use the ones that come standard for a few days, but longer than that and they can make your breasts really sore. Many hospitals have a lactation consultation place and a store where you can buy pump parts and other things.

2. Buy a hands-free bra. It's like a tube top that zips in the front and has holes for the "trumpets." Holding the bottles while you pump gets old FAST.

3.Plan on having your nipples be sore. Use lots of lanolin-type cream. I use PureLan 100 (also by Medela). They adjust over time, but it is never as comfortable as breastfeeding can be...

4. Make sure you massage your breasts as you pump to help empty the ducts.

5. There are booklets that come with many breast-pump products that talk about how long milk lasts in various forms. In the refrigerator, fresh milk lasts approx 5 days. If you've frozen it and then thawed it, it will only last 24 hours. This is why you want to freeze it in small amounts: you only want to thaw what you will use right away. I agree it is best to use fresh (refrigerated) as much as possible.

Probably the best thing you can do is talk to a lactation consultant and/or someone from LaLeche League. But don't feel badly if it becomes too much for you. It seems like a lot of motherhood is finding a balance and what works for you.
Good luck!

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M.T.

answers from Portland on

Breast feeding is the best way to get your milk to come in and establish how much milk you'll produce. When I started pumping I would pump right after he finished feeding to increase my milk supply. Then when he was about 3 weeks old we started pumping into bottles and feeding him from those so he would be used to them. This worked pretty well and we never had an issue with nipple confusion. We did 1 bottle a day for about a week and then increased it until he was used 3 bottles a day.

I swear by the Medela breast pump - comes in a nice carrying case - retials for about $350 - but you can find them used if you're willing to sanatize all the attachments. Plus it allows for double pumping which really cuts down how much time you spend hooked up. (seriously I felt like 'bessy' more times than I can count!)

Because you can't refreeze milk once it's thawed I would store in 2 ounce batches. That way if you thaw 4 ounces and kiddo wants more it's fast to thaw and you aren't wasting much. After all the work to get it - it's frustrating to throw it away.

We used Avent naturally bottles with the plastic liners. He took to those right away so we never tried anything else.

I like the combination of bottles and breastfeeding because I still get my special time with our little boy, but daddy gets in on the action as well.

Good luck! I'm sure you'll get a ton of great advice from the ladies in this forum.

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W.B.

answers from Portland on

Hi there,

My doula advised me to start giving my baby a bottle at around three weeks old. She said that would give enough time to firmly establish breast feeding but not prevent the baby from taking a bottle because I waited too long. For my son, that was the perfect time to introduce the bottle, as he now easily goes back and forth between bottle and breast, and I have the flexibility to leave my baby with my husband for more than three hours at a time.

In terms of storing milk, the best time to pump is in the morning, so if you start pumping once a day (in the morning) and accumulating frozen milk now, you will have a good stash by the time you return to work. (Plus your husband can start practicing with the bottle.)

I have been using the Ameda Purely Yours pump (cheaper but just as strong a performer than the very common Medela Pump 'n Style) and have been very pleased with it. When you first start to pump, don't be discouraged if you struggle with "let down." Keep practicing, and you'll have success soon enough!

Regarding amounts, if you express milk from one breast in the morning, you'll probably get 2-3 ounces, so if you do that twice, you'll have an ample full feeding. I've been using Lansinoh freezing bags, and they're great. (Two pumping sessions = approximately one full bag.) "Born Free" bottles (more expensive but sans that scary plastic Bisphenol A) have worked great for me.

Good luck!
W.

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R.M.

answers from Portland on

Medela Pump in Style is hands down the best pump. I have spoken to many women and nurses.

Also, I froze milk in 4-6-8 oz increments. Once thawed you still have some time to use the remainder. My baby usually took 3, then 4, then 5 oz as she grew.

I would for sure give her bottles and the breast so she is versatile.

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T.W.

answers from Columbia on

I really like the Medela Pump In Style Advanced. I used it for 8 months after I went back to work at 12 weeks. I soley nursed my son for quite a while....at least the first two months. He wouldn't eat out of a bottle from me most times....he would for his dad though. And the first day at daycare, he wouldn't eat, until I brought in a blanket that smelled like me, and then he was fine. I used the playtex drop-in bottles, and really liked them. My son would get sick every time I gave him frozen milk...so I don't have any advice for you there. He was also an incredibly healthy eater, and would eat 4 oz bottles from the beginning... I found the best way to keep my milk supply up was to nurse, and then pump for a few minutes afterwards, even if I wasn't getting anything out. You'll basically create milk on a supply & demand type basis. Hope this helps. Good luck!!!

I agree with Michelle on finding out where you're going to pump when you get back to work. I work in a male-dominated industry, so our office doesn't have a nursing room (our corporate office in pittsburgh does though). I was allowed to pump in medical, but they wanted me to schedule it (there were four of us who were pumping), and that just didn't work for me; plus, they made me feel like I was inconveniencing them every time I went in there, and I was basically pumping in a conference room.) I ultimately ended up pumping in one of our ladies room that had a chair. I just turned it toward the corner and pumped. Most people didn't care. One of my other coworkers did the same thing, so there were times we were both in there in opposite corners.

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L.H.

answers from Spokane on

Hello, I did breast feed my first for the first 6 weeks but he did not take to a bottle very well. I liked the playtex bottles with the natural latch nipple. They are so easy and very clean. The liners make it to where you will never have to clean a inside of a bottle except the nipples. I had a Purley Yours breast pump which was a little on the spendy side but worth every dime. My sister just had a preemie and so she pumped the first few months and she stored 3 ounces at a time. When I did it I would do 4 ounces. The milk defrost's very quickly. Well I hope that I gave you some good advise. Good Luck....

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A.L.

answers from Anchorage on

I pumped for my son from 6 weeks to 15 months old. It's kind of a pain at first, but well worth it.

I had a Medela double electric breast pump. It was kind of spendy, but I never, ever had any problems pumping. It comes in a plain looking case so it's not very conspicous to cart around at work, and has a handy little cooler to keep the milk that you've pumped during the day. YOu can also put a picture of your baby in a clear plastic pouch to help your milk let down.

I would breastfeed for the first couple of weeks so your baby gets the latch right. Then, when your milk supply has figured itself out, pump a little once a day so you get used to doing it, and so your baby learns to take a bottle. It's a good way to let dad feed the baby once in a while, and it may keep you from having problems with the baby taking the bottle. There are some babies that will refuse. But I wouldn't solely breast pump.

The Medela comes with bottles that fit on the contraption. You should freeze some, but it's best if you pump 8 oz during the day (increase as your babies intake increases) and give that to your day care provider to feed the baby the very next day. It loses nutrients after frozen so fresh is better. Frozen is a good back up. YOu can pump straight into bottles, hand those over to the day care provider, and she'll give you the ones back that she used during the day for you to pump into the next day. It takes a little while to figure out how much she'll need, but it works out.

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R.S.

answers from Seattle on

I too went back to work at 6 weeks.
1. Any pump that you feel is best for you would work I think. I used the double electric pump by evenflo.
2. I started giving my son pumped milk at about a week. I would give it to him for maybe 2 or 3 feedings. That way he would get used to the bottle and still also go the breast. I also pumped after I would feed him so that I could have a well stored up supply for when I went back to work.
3. I froze portions from 2-6 oz, depending on what I got when I pumped (I had a low supply from the start so it was hard for me to get a lot). I just put it in the freezer bags that are for breast milk and would take a bag out as I needed it. It doesn’t take long to thaw out and I didn't want to take too much out at a time because if you don't used it in a day or so it goes bad. I used the evenflo wide nipple bottle. I think because of the wide nipple it helped with the transmission from breast to bottle and back and forth. My son had no problems with going back and forth. I tried smaller nipples and he didn't like them as much. I would just buy a few different ones and try them to see what your baby likes. They are all different.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me. Good luck!

R. S.

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L.S.

answers from Seattle on

i pumped for all 4 kids - some for 14 months and some for 4 months -

breast feeding is easier in a lot of ways.... do it for as long as you can.

Medela Pump in Style and Ameda Purely Yours are best. Ive used them all.

Pumping is a lot harder than you think - It can be very stressful and frustrating....

Have the hospital Lactation consultant meet with you in the hospital and at 3 days after you leave the hospital and again at 2 weeks.

If your baby has formula it is not the end of the world (it took me 1 1/2 kids to get that through my thick head.)

Google "pumpingmoms.org" WONDERFUL support group and they know absolutley everything about boobs, milk, and pumping.....

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L.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi T.,
First, congrats and I hope all goes very smoothly for you. =0) Second, you've got some great advice so far. I've used the Medela pump and it is fabulous. It's my understanding and experience with both of my kids that you should try a bottle with your babe prior to 4 weeks. I like the suggestion from someone else who said breast feed as much as you can, pump one bottle's worth for your husband to give, just to get her used to it. If you happen to have an abundance of milk, then freeze it in the coldest part of your freezer in 2oz servings (you can always defrost more than one if you need it). Also, when you store breastmilk in the fridge, put it toward the back of your fridge, not on the door. The back is the coldest.
There are a lot of different kinds of bottles out there. I don't recall the brand, I think it's Playtex, but they make one that is slightly curved, which was convenient in many ways.
Best of luck to you with everything,
L.

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J.S.

answers from Seattle on

T. - I would definitely breastfeed while you can. Nothing can replace that experience with your baby, and it is just SO MUCH less hassle. When I went to work I had the luxury of being only about a 1/2 mile from home, so I could come home for lunch and breastfeed (or my husband would bring her to me) then only have to pump once in the afternoon at work (in the bathroom which had a lock on the door). I had a Medela Pump in Style I bought from Craigslist for $100. It was great, and only took the time of my afternoon break at work once I got the hang of it. Also, I worked with mainly women who knew what was going on and were fine with it all - that helps.

As far as bottles, my girls took the Medela bottles that I pumped directly into, so that was great. I just stuck them in the freezer when I got home from work, and my husband would thaw them in a cup of warm water about 15 minutes before my girls got hungry. We had the blessing of girls who ate every three hours on the button! They had Nuk nipples and my first daughter used a Nuk pacifiers, so no problem. My second used the Soothie, but still nursed from the Nuk nipple with no trouble. My sister went through 4 different brands with her son before settling on the Playtex VentAire (he had gas troubles with the others). I would recommend registering for one small bottle of many different types for your shower and then you have a few varieties on hand should baby dislike the first one you try. That way you don't have to buy the whole system until you know what works.
It all seems so overwhelming looking ahead to this, but stay calm and it will all work out fine when you get to know your baby. And don't worry if there is trouble switching at first - baby will not starve her/himself! I worried about my daughters taking a bottle, but the first time my DH tried they both sucked it down with no trouble. Another tip - I always breastfed, DH always bottlefed. That way they knew what was up - when dad holds me I have this other thing in my mouth. It worked great.

Congratulations!!

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S.L.

answers from Portland on

Wow, you have so many questions. I'm glad you're thinking this all out.
1) I recommend the Medela Pump in Style. It is spendy (around $300, I think) but it is worth it if you are going to be pumping every day when you get back to work.
2) I think you should breastfeed for those first weeks for several reasons. 1) Baby's are better at expressing breast milk than pumps are. 2) It is wonderful for bonding with your child and her bonding with you. If you establish breastfeeding then you can continue to breastfeed her whenever you are home and she can have bottles just when you are gone. Once breastfeeding is well established (after the first 2 or 3 weeks usually) you can start to introduce bottles a few times a week to get her used to taking it. 3) Breastfeeding works to develop her mouth and palate correctly. 4) Breastfeeding is actually better than bottle feeding with breast milk because it is fresher. Milk loses some of its properties when it is refrigerated or frozen.
3) Freezing milk is great when you need it to last a long time. I like the idea of freezing it in small portions because once you thaw the breast milk it needs to be used quickly. Once you are back at work it might be beneficial to just refrigerate the milk from one work day and use it in the next day or two.

More things to think about: As I said, a pump is not the same as a baby for expressing milk. If you notice your milk supply dwindling think about taking herbs (like Fenugreek) to increase your production. There is also a prescription drug called Domperidone which is very effective at increasing milk supply if you need it.

You must be so excited to be so close to meeting your baby! Kudos for being committed to feeding breast milk to your baby. The more I've learned about breast milk and breast feeding, the more I'm stunned by the amazing properties of breast milk!

Good luck with the new babe. You'll be great.

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T.H.

answers from Seattle on

Hi - I have been through the pumping and storing of milk twice now...and for a pump, I went for the best, which I feel is the Pump in Style by Medela. I wanted to make sure that I had the best rated pump and so went for that and spent the extra money. I bought a used one the first time and then bought the newer one for my second child. I really liked the Medela. It is a double pump which helped with speed. I used Avent bottles, but you may end up trying a few before you find one your baby will take.
On your second question about breastfeeding and pumping, I would say to get your baby on the bottle as soon as you can so that you will hopefully not have problems with getting her to take a bottle and someone else can feed her. I recommend pumping after feedings to get your supply up as much as you can. At first you may not get a lot but dont give up! I saved any little bit I got when I started pumping. I would breastfeed as often as you can when you are with her. I pumped during the day and breastfed in the morning and at night when I was home with my sons. There are no guarantees that your baby will not refuse a bottle later on but my pediatrician told us that there was a sort of "window" to get a baby to take a bottle and I think it was around 4-6 weeks or something like that? Make sure you have gotten your baby well established with breastfeeding first, before starting on bottles. We started our second son on a bottle at about 5 weeks and it went fine but then quit and we had major problems trying to get him to take them again later on.
As for storing, I stored milk in 2 oz increments, so that you have less chance to waste any. Pumping is hard work and you do NOT want to waste any if you can help it! Yes, it ended up being a lot of bags in the freezer but it is worth it so that your baby can have the best for her! I would take a look at Craigs list for a pump. There are a lot of people that have only used them for one child and some for not very long so check that option out. Make sure that you see it and make sure you get all the tubing and accessories that you need (storage bottles, etc). You can get extra's on-line as well.
Hope this all helps! Good luck!

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J.K.

answers from Portland on

T., I went back to work at 3months and used pumped and frozen breast milk with my DS when I was away from him until he was 9 months (when I ran out).

1. I really liked the Medela "Pump in Style". It is a bit spendy, but has speed and sxn strength settings to make it "just right" for you. I pumped into bottles, then poured into bags for storage. Another one I see a lot at baby consognment is Avent... you can pump directly into feeding bottles.

2. I would start pumping as soon as your milk comes in and breastfeeding is well established so you can start storing a good supply. (make sure to date the bags and use the oldest first). Continue breast feeding as long as both you and your baby want to - you can pump and breastfeed at the same time (litterally... I've done it!). I would pump first thing in the morning, then nurse... DS could always get more milk than the pump could, but most women I think nurse then pump. Try to pump at work on the same schedule your baby would be nursing - every 2-3 hours if possible.
I would not introduce a bottle (or even a paci) until 4-6 weeks old, or at least until breastfeeding is well established. Some babies can have "nipple confusion" and have trouble BFing because a bottle nipple is a lot easier, so that's what they like. However, you want to introduce a bottle before you get back to work so baby learns how to take one. Have your husband or someone other than yourself be the one to give that 1st bottle... bbay often will refuse it from Mom because the breast is what they know and want.

3. I would freeze single servings. You cannot re-freeze breastmilk, but can always thaw more. Change the serving size as your baby grows. I thawed the bags, then poured into bottles. I loved Avent bottles, but they are the "bad" plastic, so if that's a concern to you, they do have a drop-in kind. Remember never to microwave breastmilk - it kills certain nutrients and antibodies in it.

Some laat advice for pumping: drink plenty of water; find a quiet place to pump; pump when your baby would normaly be BFing (if you can); remember you are doing a great thing for you and your baby - good job!

Talk to your employer before you go back to work about pumping at work. Oregon law provides that all employers provide a reasonable private place for pumping (no more bathroom stalls), and breaks to pump every 4 hours (unpaid, but you get them).

If you have problems with milk supply, there are several supplements that help - can't remember, but ask your pediatrician (or the WWW!)

Last, if you live reasonably close, there is a free Breastfeeding support group at Tuality Hospital on Tuesdays at 10am. Go before you have the baby as well as after (with your baby). It is a great place to get lots of advice!

Good luck!

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D.D.

answers from Seattle on

I loved the Medella breast pump. I have sensitive breasts and there were a lot of pumps I couldn't use. The pump I have you can pump both sides at once, which really saves time.

I also always purchased the nipples for the bottles that were the odd shape that are supposed to be imitative of mommy's nipples, and I had my children breast and bottle fed from the beginning (not the plain round ones) and almost never had any problem switching from one to the other with all 3. The bottle itself - I liked the playtex with the bags - that tended to give the baby less gas.

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A.M.

answers from Bellingham on

I used the Medela double electric which worked great! A tip I got from the place I received it was my insurance company would pay for it if my doctor would write a prescription. That was a great help. Only some companies will pay, but it doesn't hurt to check. My doctor was only too happy to help out.
2. I found breastfeeding only the first 3-4 weeks worked good because it established my supply. It was nice to cuddle and bond with him that way. I have heard that to wait till about 4-5 weeks before introducing the bottle, but my little man loved to nurse and I needed a break. It wasn't that hard to miss a feeding and do a bottle. It was difficult in the beginning for him to take a bottle from me because he was used to breastfeeding, but he took it well from Daddy.
3. I pumped whatever my breast emptied into a bag and froze it. I would thaw out however many I needed for the day. I went back to work 3 days a week and pumped those days. It took a while to build up a supply in the beginning for the first day, but after that, we went day by day.
Good luck with it! I found it difficult because I wasn't a fan of stopping work a few times a day to go pump, but I knew it was best. I did stop at 5 months, but I was happy I went as long as I did. I know I did the best that I personally could do regardless of what anyone else said. I wish you the best!

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M.D.

answers from Seattle on

I am a mother who is unable to breastfeed for a couple different reasons, but here is my input on breast pumps:

First, if you do not breastfeed your child but want to pump and feed them from a bottle, that is fine, but exhausting. Also, if you do this you HAVE to rent or purchase a hospital grade breast pump to establish your milk supply, a pump you purchase would never do this for you. I have one of the best pumps on the market (the Medela double electric) and it is only capable of sustaining the supply I have created.

It is exhausting because not only are you getting up every three hours to feed your baby (maybe 20 minutes) but then you have to pump for the next feeding (another 20 minutes) and then you have to clean up all your pump supplies to be ready for the next feeding (another 10 minutes or so). So, if you round that out it takes you about and hour to do a "feeding", and then by the time you are done doing all that it is time to feed your baby again in another two hours! Also, while feeding your baby a bottle in public places is much easier than breastfeeding, when you are pumping you are limited with how long you can be gone unless you take your pump with you and pump in the restroom or something. Because it hurts to be engorged and if you skip a pumping your breasts will get very full and start to hurt. And if you skip too many pumping sessions while trying to establish your milk supply your supply will begin to drop off.

So, I would say if you can breastfeed first to establish a really good milk supply you will be in better shape. But, then again, I have never had to deal with switching my babies from breast to bottle. I have heard that when you do switch if you just deny them the breast so their only option is to take the bottle that they eventually will. It sounds harsh, but unless your baby is severely underweight or malnourished, they can handle it and will eat from the bottle once they are hungry enough.

Finally, I like Advent bottles, that is what my lactation specialist recommended to me. Also, take advantage of asking all these questions to the lactation nurse/specialist at the hospital - they are a great resource. They are also the perfect person to ask about what size ( I can't remember what they call them) but basically what size suction cup you need to fit your breast. Pumps come with a standard size but you can purchase larger or smaller ones depending on your breast size.

Sorry, for the length of this message, but I hope this helps. Breastfeeding is a blessing, but don't worry if you aren't able to do it once you return to work. Like I said earlier, I am not able to breastfeed my babies, and since I knew this going into having my second child I pumped and fed her breastmilk for the first 6 weeks of her life and then switched to formula. I just couldn't handle the little sleep without naps during the day, and when you have a toddler too, there is no time for naps during the day!

Take advantage of the time you have at home and sleep when your baby sleeps if you need to - naps are wonderful when you have a newborn!

Good Luck and Congratulations!
M.

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C.P.

answers from Seattle on

Hi,

I haven't read the other emails so perhaps this will be redundant. First - good for you! Breast milk is so important and pumping at work is not the easiest thing! I did it for both my children - pumping twice a day for 8 months so they had breast milk for at least 12 months.

Anyway - my suggestions.
1. I used the Medela Pump in Style both times. It worked great for me. I don't know anything about the one you are considering to give advice on that.
2. You don't want to give baby a bottle until about 3 weeks because you want to make sure she latches on well and gets well established breastfeeding. But you should start doing maybe one bottle a day then just to make sure she'll take it. I have a friend who didn't get her baby accustomed to the bottle and she ended up home for another two weeks with a baby who wouldn't take a bottle. A good time to pump is after the first feeding in the morning because you usually have more milk. Give yourself a week or two, but then you can start doing it once a day to start building a supply. Since you have to go back to work so soon, you likely won't be able to pump as many times as she'll need to eat so it will be good to have that supply built up.
3. You definitely want to shoot for single servings. Breast milk needs to be used pretty quickly after thawing so you don't want to end up wasting it. I loved Lansinoh milk bags. They have a double ziploc and a space to write the date and number of ounces. I'd take out what I need for child care each day and she'd let them thaw and pour them into a regular bottle to heat. I never tried the bag in bottle kind of bottles. Seemed too difficult to me, but all of that is a matter of preference. The toughest part is figuring out what a serving size is, especially when they are younger and it is changing pretty often. You may have a little too much, or a bit too little, but you'll figure it out. (Two ounces sounds awfully small to me, but at six weeks my boys were still exclusively breast fed so I couldn't be sure what they were eating. But by 3 months they were at 6-8 ounces per feeding. You might try freezing 3-4 ounces in a bag. But if you start trying a bottle around 3 weeks, you'll also have good sense of what she'll need.)

Good luck! You are entering a very exciting (and challenging) time. Congratulations!

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J.T.

answers from Portland on

Medela nad Ameda are the ONLY pump brands that a proven to protect milk supply for moms who work full time. I strongly encourage you to A Pump in Style (Medela) or Purely Yours (I think thats the Ameda) Medela is the leader of the industry for good reason. You need a good pump and Playtex is really a company whos focus and research are not on preserving the breastfeeding relationship.

I would suggest giving you daughter as much fresh milk (not yet frozen/defrosted) as possible. Keep the frozen milk for back up. Freeze extra milk in 2 ounze quanity to reduce wasting milk.

As far as bottles go, slow flow nipple, as slow as you can find.

You have a lucky baby!

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M.Z.

answers from Seattle on

YES, breastfeed! You will never regret nursing your baby. It is such a special time and a wonderful gift to share with your sweet babe. There is really a bond that I don't think you can get through bottle feeding. Even though you are going back to work after 6 weeks, you can absolutely continue to nurse when you are home with the baby. Just pump milk for when she is at daycare, then nurse in the evening and at night. There will be an ajustment period; but just hang in there, the two of you will get into a routine that works.

I have a 7 1/2 month old, and I have been at work since he was 3 1/2 months. I still pump milk for his grandparents to feed him while I'm at work, and I nurse him when I am home. It works really well for us.

Congratulations on your girl!

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B.R.

answers from Portland on

I hate giving advice, because what works for one does not always work for another.
I feel if I'm to offer any advice, I should tell you a little about my situation(s). I too work and being a SAHM was, and still is, not an option. I was determined to provide the best nutrition I could possibly provide to my children, which, of course, meant breastfeeding.
My first son was born at 32 weeks, so spent a month in the NICU. At first, because his sucking reflex was not mature, they fed him via tube. I had to start pumping immediately. The nurses provided tons of encouragement, and visited me often (sometimes too often) to check on me, answer questions, etc.
Later, even though Travis (my 1st born) breast fed great, the NICU policy insisted on doing all his feedings except one or two a day by bottle, because that was easier for them and their schedule (I now wish I had fought harder for my right to breastfeed, but live and learn). As a result, Travis’ dependence on the bottle grew, and his breastfeeding capabilities seemed to diminish.
I tried to continue breastfeeding when he came home, but because I did not know how much he was getting at each feeding, I had to weigh him, then supplement with a bottle of pumped milk if he did not get enough. After 2 weeks of trying to breastfeed, then pump, then wash pumping equipment, only to start the entire process again, I almost threw in the towel. It seemed like that's all I did day and night (try to breast feed, weigh, pump, clean the pump and bottles, start again) instead of being able to enjoy my baby.
Then miraculously Travis started breastfeeding like a champ - and away with the pump. Well at least for the remaining time off I had with him (another month). Switching him back and forth between bottle and breast at that point was easy, and came in very very handy.
With my second son, there were times we had latching issues when I was engorged, so I resorted to feeding him with pumped milk a few times, so he wouldn't have to wait for me to pump. In the beginning I had a little milk pumped from when I had to relieve the pressure from being engorged. I worried about "nipple confusion", but the nurses don't seem to worry about that much anymore. Plus, I knew I had to get him on a bottle to go back to work anyway, so took my chances.
Brandon (my 2nd) didn't seem to like the bottle as much, and I received calls the first week or two after going back to work to come home and breastfeed because he wouldn't take the bottle. My job is flexible (and close), and I would take my lunch time to go home and breastfeed. This only lasted a week or two.
With both kids, I pumped once or twice at work, depending on how long I worked. I'd pump once for a 5 or 6 hour shift, and twice if I had to work 8 hours. I'd breast feed right before I left them and breast feed on demand when I returned home.
Now for the advice part
1) I have no idea what the best pump is. In the beginning, when I first started, it was recommended I rent a hospital grade pump and then when things were flowing smoothly switch over to my pump. This seemed to work well.
2) I recommend breastfeeding then transitioning to bottle for 2 reasons:
1) Pumping and cleaning pumping equipment and bottles around the clock is enough to make the most determined mother give up and give formula. I cannot remember the pumping schedule I was on when my first son was in the NICU, but it was around the clock - no sleeping through. In the beginning, it was every 1 1/2 to 2 hours between pumping, all night, all day. I was exhausted, and he was in the NICU. I can't imagine having that schedule with the baby at home! It's a good 30 minutes to pump, clean and get back to bed.
2) Breastfeeding: Getting up in the middle of the night to breastfeed is much easier. You feed the babe, and then go back to bed - nothing to clean. Of course, I'm not mentioning the bonding during breastfeeding, you are probably well aware of that. And with breastfeeding there is no waste of that precious breast milk. It is recommended not to keep any milk left over in the bottle, which means, if the bottle has 2 oz, and (s)he only takes 1, the remainder must be thrown out. If you’re not a heavy milk producer, you will be left worrying about being able to replace the milk that had to be thrown out. No matter how hard you try to predict the correct amount, or try to minimize waste, it is inevitable. Also worth noting – breast milk is always the right temperature. When your baby is crying in the middle of the night, those extra few minutes to warm the pumped milk seem like an eternity.
Question #3) When I was pumping, it was recommended to pump it all. Plus, you’ll have to pump less often. I pumped mine into bottles, then emptied it into labeled bags (with the date, so you can use the oldest first) for freezing. In the beginning, freeze smaller quantities, so the contents can be used in time. Later, when the baby starts drinking more, you can fill and freeze the entire bag. I don’t remember the storage guidelines, but that usually comes with the pumping equipment. The hospital staff are immensely helpful as well.
If you do pump around the clock and at work, get at least 2 sets of pumping gear. I had to wait until I got home to clean everything up, so when I had to pump twice at work, I didn't have to worry about cleaning in between.
Well, I feel as though I’ve written a short novel. I feel the ideal situation for a working mother, is to be able to do both and switch back and forth between bottle and breast. The last thing you need to add to a busy work schedule and a new addition to the family is a bunch of extra work (cleaning pumping and feeding supplies around the clock). Unfortunately, it might be up to the baby. Good luck.

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J.V.

answers from Portland on

Congrats on the new baby, I'm sorry you'll have to go back to work. It's hard when you really have not other option. Let me see if I can help you out with some of these things...I'm sure lots of other moms will give you their opinons too...this is just the stuff that I've learned and what worked for me.

1. What is the best pump? I am leaning toward the Playtex Embrace Double Electric.

Medela Pump in style is hands down the best pump. They are spendy...but worth every penny. Yo can often find the pump on craigslist..and since no milk passes through the pump..they are ok to buy used. You can then go get the parts (that would have touched the milk) at a lactation supply store...generally at a hospital in your area where you plan to give birth will have them. Any lactation consultant would reccoment this pump...and I do to. It really saved my breast-feeding. IF you are low income enough to recive WIC...you will often be rewarded with a Medela pump. Something to look in to.

2. Should I pump from day one and give her bottles, or should I breastfeed for the first six weeks and then switch to pumping and bottles? I am worried about the transition phase if I do this, but I also feel like I should really breastfeed while I have the opportunity.

You should breastfeed as long as you can. You milk supply will be better if you continue to breast-feed those six weeks...then only pump while you are away...when you are home...and in the middle of the night..try to breast-feed..you will have les problems with supply that way. There's something about a baby nursing that makes a mom produce more milk...where it's harder with a pump to do that. If your in it for the long haul (a year or whatever) then I suggest doing both. Find a breast feeding friendly bottle (like the NUK bottles) They have green tops just like the NUK pacifiers you will get in the hospital.

3. Would it work better if I pump single-size servings (like 2 ounces) into a bag to freeze and use drop in bottles, or should I freeze full bags to thaw as needed and just dull out serving sizes into regular bottles? On that note, what is your favorite bottle?

I wouldn't bother just pumping 2 oz at a time..big pain the the butt..the easier the better. Freeze whatever you pump in a sitting..thaw and use later. You'll likely use that thawed milk up. We used Advent bottles but won't be with our next baby..with this whole pastic chemicals in baby bottle stuff...we're going to go with the "Born Free" brand...or a glass bottle next time around.

I hope that helped

J. Van Riper
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