Total Basset Case: Milk Maid : Part 2

Jan 11, 2017

Milk Maid : Part 2

First of all, thank you everyone for your sweet comments and encouragement on my previous pumping post!!  You guys are the best!

I will admit when I began this pumping journey I had NO idea it would entail so much and that so much goes into it.  Thankfully (praise God) I am blessed with a decent supply and that helps encourage me to keep going.  I know some ladies are not as lucky.  With that, I am not above trying all the tips, foods and techniques to help bump up that supply as much as I can.

I have done a lot of googling and question asking regarding supply, how/when to pump, what to eat and drink to help supply and the pumping process.  I thought I would corral that information for you here if anyone needs it!  There is PLENTY more online (and some good Facebook groups) and plenty I still don't know but here are the things that have helped me.

FOOD/DRINK:
Simply, what you put in your body directly effects a lot of your milk output.
To increase and keep up my supply I eat and drink a combination of the following on any given day/week:
Almonds
Avocado
WATER
Whole grain cereals
Oatmeal (not instant)
WATER
Gatorade (some say the blue specifically but I don't think the color matters much)
Mothers Milk Tea
Hummus
Leafy greens
Smart Water
MORE WATER
Carrots

and generally just eating more helps as well.  They say you need to consume about 500-600 extra calories a day to keep up.  Honestly I have to remind myself of that most days.  
I make these bars literally every week to snack on (I add flax seeds) and also eat a few handfuls of trail mix during the day.
I also take Fenugreek 3x a day.  I just started this recently and I am pretty sure it's helping.

TIME:
I mentioned in my original post that I spend about 2 hours a day pumping.  I do my best to pump every 3 hours during the day and every 4 at night.  It's exhausting but worth it to get Little Mister the milk he needs.
The time of day can definitely effect your amounts. I get the most in the middle of the night (which keeps me going when I don't want to get up) and first thing in the morning.  I tend to not get as much in the early evening but sometimes that is due to not drinking enough water around that time.

So much of pumping is supply and demand.  The more you body thinks you need, the more it will make.  To help this, I have started pumping on one side and nursing on the other for a few sessions a day if I can.  It is a juggling act but I think it helps plus then I don't have to spend an additional 15 minutes pumping.

TIPS:
There are a couple of different apps out there that track your milk and nursing.  When Little Mister was in the NICU I used Milk Maid to track how much milk I took in each day and was really pleased with it.  It was the best one I could find that only tracked pumping amounts (not nursing times).

Did you know you that you don't have to wash your pump parts every time you pump?  They can be put in the fridge until your next session and be perfectly fine! This is such a time saver.  You should wash them at least once a day though.

Nursing tanks and bras are real lifesavers.
Here are the pieces I've been living in:
Tanks
Sleep bra
 Bra

Again, I could talk about this all day so let me know if you have any questions!
Chelsea also recently wrote a very helpful guide to pumping that is worth checking out! 

7 comments:

Denise Wertenberger said...

I am so proud of the work that you are doing! (And it IS work.). Both you and Little Mister benefit greatly. Perspective is everything. You are still in the mode of living your life in 3 hour increments. All too soon, this will be in your rear view mirror. Hang in there!

Kait said...

You are KILLING it and I'm so proud of you! Look how far you've come from that tiny droplet at the hospital!

Jill @ Bluegrass Belle said...

If that picture is from just one pumping session, then you my friend are a total badass! That is awesome!

Mary Leigh said...

Good for you! It's tough, but it looks like you are doing a great job!

Allison said...

I'm already nervous about doing the whole pumping thing again. Thanks for the refresher and tips. I'm about to be needing all this soon. Dun dun dunnnn...haha.

Emily Wickersham said...

I just quit pumping when my girl turned 1! A whole year of pumping! (She is still nursing.) I noticed that my supply stayed up when I was nursing more often than pumping. I know you said your little guy has a hard time getting through a full nursing session right now, but maybe soon! Also, I just came across some threads on the Internet where women said that their birth control made their supplies plummet, although I didn't have any problem with my IUD affecting my supply.
It is really inspiring to see how dedicated you are to nursing/pumping, and I can only imagine how much work it took while he was still in the NICU- you are awesome!
-Emily Wick

According to Jax said...

You are doing amazing!!! I had a really rough start with breastfeeding and pumping - but I kept at it and luckily was able to breastfeed Leah until she was 11 months old!!! It is definitely hard and requires so much more work than people think (eating right, drinking a ton of water, but not TOO much water bc then your milk will be too watered down, etc, etc!) I also took Fenugreek and that helped double my milk supply!
Also, I didn't know about the "put your pump parts in the fridge" until after I was done pumping. I actually washed my bottles and pump parts after ever use and the BOILED them every night before bed. OMG - why oh why did I do all that extra work?? haha.
Anyways - you're doing great momma! Keep at it - it gets so much easier!! :)