Breastfeeding/Pumping Question
November 20, 2016 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Learning how to pump, first pump only yielded me 1/2 an ounce. Do I leave that in the bottle attached to the pump and pump again later to try to fill an ounce or two to then use? I'm confused if I should toss the little amount or if I can add more to it at a later pumping session ?

Hi there - I go back to work in three weeks and I would like to build a small freezer stash of breastmilk just in case. But I have some questions. I have a manual single pump and a double electric pump, I am using the single manual to get used to pumping first. After baby's feeding I have used the manual pump to drain (is that the right word?) out any milk remaining, is that the way I should go about it? And in these pumping sessions sometimes I get 2 oz sometimes I only get half an ounce. I'd like to freeze in amounts of 2 oz, so if I pump half an ounce can I keep it in the bottle and reuse the bottle for the next pumping session (maybe 2-3 hours later) to continue adding to it to try to get to the 2 oz increment? Does this make sense? Or if I only get 1/2 and ounce then that is the amount I should freeze it at?

Of course any pumping resources you recommend are fully appreciated, I have read through the Bump, KellyMom and La Leche League, but this of course is still very new to me
posted by xicana63 to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, after feeding pump till you're empty. That stimulates supply.

Personally I liked to keep pumpings separate ie label it by hour. You can buy lanisoh sterilized breast milk bags for freezing and then write the date and time of pump on them. I would only add separate pumping sessions together if they were less than a 1-2 hours apart. Any more than that and you start to hit the the 6 rule.

The 6-6-6 rule is: milk is good for 6h on the counter, 6days in the fridge, 6 months in the freezer.

Breastmilk is not sterile (not pasteurized) so it spoils somewhat quickly.

The younger the baby the more cautious to be. My 15 month old eats crap off the floor now....
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:55 AM on November 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

You could stick the bottle in the fridge between sessions.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:56 AM on November 20, 2016

I would pump into a fresh bottle, refrigerate the bottles until you hit your freezing threshold amount, and then freeze. Definitely don't toss the 1/2 ounce!

Let's say you get 1/2 oz, 1 oz, then 1/2 oz over the course of the day. You'd have three refrigerated bottles that you'd then combine into one freezer bag. Breastmilk keeps in a standard refrigerator for up to a week or so, so you have several days to build up to your 2oz freezing threshold.
posted by meggan at 11:57 AM on November 20, 2016 [9 favorites]

Something that helped me when I was first getting started pumping was feeding the baby on one side and pumping on the other simultaneously to take advantage of letdown - this let me get used to associating the machine with nursing and assuaged some of my fear that I'd never be able to pump enough to store any.
posted by annathea at 1:22 PM on November 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

I have a manual single pump and a double electric pump, I am using the single manual to get used to pumping first

I used a double electric (hospital-grade) pump when my son was in hospital and it was by far easier and more productive than the manual. I still have a manual one now and find it horrendous for getting milk out- I can know theres milk there by manual expression or son feeding and still get very little from the pump.

I'd give the electric a crack.
posted by threetwentytwo at 1:51 PM on November 20, 2016 [10 favorites]

Definitely switch to the electric pump. You will be amazed. About 4 days after my middle child was born I woke up with my right breast hard and lumpy as my milk had come in overnight. I asked my husband for the pump. He brought the manual pump. I got a quarter ounce off and then threw it back and asked for the electric (it was only a medela swing, not hospital grade double) and got 7oz in 15 minutes while my daughter nursed from the other side, then two more from where she'd been. It's THAT much better. Manual pumps are like trying to tickle yourself. You don't laugh.
posted by intergalacticvelvet at 5:12 PM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Lactation consultant here. I agree with Meggan above, with the addition of combining milk that has been pumped within 24 hours of each other only. Most important point: Ensure that ALL milk has reached the refrigerated temperature prior to combining. Best of luck. It's worth all the effort!
posted by Sunnyshe at 6:01 PM on November 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Practice using the double electric so you're used to it before starting back to work, also you may get better yields from it.

I know you are working on pumping at home but because this always comes up regarding pumping at work: don't wash the pump parts at work, just put them in the fridge between sessions and wash them at the end of the day. It will save you a lot of time. I also really liked the medela cleaning wipes.

Also never never never toss your milk unless there is absolutely no other option!
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:44 PM on November 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Do you have a pumping bra? You can make one by cutting small holes in an old bra. Lift your bra up, put the cones on your boobs, then put bra back down and hook up the cones to the machine. Then your hands are free!
posted by TheLateGreatAbrahamLincoln at 10:05 PM on November 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

In my experience nursing and pumping for three kids, you will be amazed what that double electric can do!

Definitely keep even that half ounce. Over the course of the day, it can add up nicely. I would combine a few pumpings in a single day into one bag or storage bottle.

Seconding the unwashed pump parts! At work, I stored my pump accessories in a ziplock bag in the fridge without washing between pumpings (the fridge kept any milk residue from spoiling) which made the whole process quicker and less annoying, and my let-down was stimulated by the cold pump parts.
posted by gateau at 10:34 AM on November 21, 2016

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