Thursday, November 8, 2012

Just In Case

Long ago, before I even gave birth to Nathan, I purchased a breast pump. I was super excited to use it, and the first few times I pumped it was actually fun and novel. (I also posted a review of this product)

After I gave birth to Nathan, I practiced using the pump. It was very easy and I was excited to begin using it full-time. After a short time, I began pumping and storing milk in the freezer.

Unfortunately, I was pretty uninformed at the time, and was pumping entirely too much. I had read so many posts and articles about increasing your supply, and I wanted to do so in order to freeze a bunch of milk. I nursed Nathan regularly, whenever he wanted, and would pump in between almost every nursing. The only exception being at night. It actually got up to my pumping 8 times in a day. Absolutely too much!

I wanted to store a huge amount of milk in the freezer 'just in case'. "How much breast milk might he go through in a month?" I actually calculated an estimate of that and was on my way toward storing that much milk. 

Something to do with the lack of sleep or just general ignorance made me overlook one simple fact: 

If I am returning to work, and pumping milk to replace what he would get while I'm not home, I only need to pump and store the amount needed for one day. 

After all, I was going to be pumping on my lunch breaks, which would refill the stash for when I'm gone. Every day. It was ridiculously simple. 

I ended up with a terrible oversupply. At the advice of some others, I slowly declined the number of pumping sessions each day. At that point, I was producing twice as much milk as Nathan needed in a day - if I had cut out all pumping sessions I would have suffered through aching, full breasts as my supply stabilized - and quite possibly could have gotten mastitis.

Well, it all worked out when I reduced down to the more-reasonable pumping one time a day. Doing this will slowly build a freezer stash without risking a huge change in your supply. 

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