Happy World Breastfeeding Week! I think WBW is a wonderful initiative to increase awareness of breastfeeding issues and celebrate such an important aspect of motherhood. Breastfeeding is universal, but every mom’s experience is unique. My hope is that all moms can have as positive of an experience as I did!
The slogan of World Breastfeeding Week 2014 is Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal – For Life! As I’ve stated before, my goal was to breastfeed Eleanor for 1 year. I succeeded in my goal, but it wouldn’t have been possible without pumping. Completing my semester of student teaching meant long hours away from my baby and the inability to nurse on demand. Many moms find themselves in the same situation when they return to work. Pumping was by far the most stressful and difficult aspect of the 5 months I was working, and I have a deep appreciation for moms who are able to balance it all with a full-time job!
Today I thought I would share my 3 tips for successful pumping in honor of World Breastfeeding Week! Hopefully you’ll find the information useful, and maybe you’ll have another tip to add to my list! And keep reading to the end for some awesome deals for mamas!
1. Develop a routine to save time
This was a life-saver for me. I pumped once in the morning at home and twice throughout the day at school. I always pumped at the exact same time each day and had a very specific routine at home and at work. I packed my pump bag the same, set up a station in the bathroom where I pumped, and always cleaned up in the exact. same. manner.
Some people think they’re a waste of money, but I used these Medela quick clean wipes between my two pump sessions at school. Time is of the essence when there are 22 kindergarteners waiting for you! I also stored my parts in the fridge between my two pump sessions at school. This kept everything “fresh” even when there wasn’t time for a thorough wash.
I also always stored my breast milk the same way. One day I switched things up and relied on cold packs rather than using the teachers’ lounge fridge, and I forgot 16 ounces of milk at school overnight which had to be dumped. Routine meant that I never forgot a step and I became very efficient in the whole process. Find out what works for you and stick to it!
2. Find your mantra
Ok, this one sounds weird, but it works. If you’ve ever heard a breast pump in action, you know that it makes a repetitive sound. Depending on the pump (and who’s listening to it), it sounds like it’s “saying” different things. The repetitive wheezing noise can get kind of annoying, so I developed a mantra to go along with each suction. I heard “for her, for her, for her” over and over again. “Her” was Eleanor and that’s who I was pumping for. Remembering that Eleanor was at the heart of my pumping efforts made each session more bearable. Check out what some other mom’s hear from their pumps, and then listen closely to yours. Find a mantra to help you get in the “zone” and relax.
3. Bring the nursing experience with you
This one made the biggest difference for me. Breastfeeding is typically a close bonding experience between mama and baby – a far cry from plastic funnels stuck to your chest while you’re sitting in a closet somewhere alone. It can be hard to get comfortable and relax (which we all know is important for milk letdown). I did my best to make my environment (aka, bathroom) “homey.”
I brought the same snacks I’d munch on while breastfeeding, I looked at photos of Eleanor on my phone, and I would even call her daycare to check up on how her day was going. Actively thinking about and looking at my daughter helped me push through the frustration, discomfort, stress, and boredom of pumping at work. And some days when I couldn’t escape the fact that I was sitting in the bathroom, I’d shut off the lights to block out the room around me.
Pumping may not be the most enjoyable aspect of motherhood, but it’s definitely worth it! Eleanor’s transition to daycare was pretty easy, and I was grateful for the opportunity to continue providing her breast milk even when I couldn’t physically be there for her. Find what works for you and remember your workplace rights!
And now for some World Breastfeeding Week goodies!
Do you have any tips to add to my list?
What do you think of World Breastfeeding Week? Yay or nay?
**This post contains affiliate links. As always, I only recommend products that I have personally used and enjoyed! I hope you love them as much as me!