I should have gone to this pumping class 4 1/2 months ago… ahahah.  But I still found the class to be very useful.  Remember to always wash your hands before.

1.  You only need to sterilize your bottles and pump supplies out of the box.  Thereafter, you can just wash thoroughly with soap and warm water.  I used to wash and sterilize after each use like the Medela bag said… but the Pumping class instructor says it’s not necessary… they even asked Medela.  But I like doing it after every other use now.  Just gives me a peace of mind.

2.  You don’t need to sterilize the tubing (but i would just to be safe).  Make sure if you sterilize the water/condensation gets fully dried by running your pump for an extra 2-5mins.  If there’s dots of water, it’s normal.  If the dots are dark white… milk got in and you need to throw the tubing away, because bacteria will form.  They sell tubing at the Pump Station for like $10.

3.  Make sure to wash in-between the white membrane piece and the yellow valve.  Make sure to separate the two after washing and allow to dry.  Mildew can form between the two pieces, if you don’t.  ALSO, IF THE PUMP WON’T WORK WHEN EVERYTHING IS PUT TOGETHER… CHECK THE MEMBRANE PIECE.  It just might not be fitted in properly or flat against the valve.  Surprisingly, that little piece is what makes the device work.  If that piece continues to loosen or your pump won’t suction… and you’ll need to change it.  Your pump should come with extras or they sell them at Babies R Us.

4.  At the beginning, it is suggested you pump every 2-3 hours for 20mins. That’s 20 mins on each breast.  Pumping for that amount of time at the beginning, will help increase your production.  Thereafter when your milk supply becomes more stable, you can decrease the time to 15mins.  Then, 10mins.  It’s more costly… but the dual pump (tote or backpack is up too you, but they are exactly the same thing) is more time efficient.  Buy a hands-free bra, because you can kill time while pumping.  And they say, “A WATCHED KETTLE DOESN’T BOIL,” so if you do something while pumping, it makes the time go by much faster.  The bra is about $38 at the Pump Station.  I didn’t get a dual bra til very recently… and I realized what a dumbass I was.

5.  At night, have all your pumping items set up and put together, so you’ll be ready to go in the middle of the night without having to get up and get everything put together.  Have a clean towel next to your bed so you can wipe yourself off and your equipment off.  Medela has some wipes for cleaning your equipment that come in handy to wipe off your pumping equipment.  Again you can get these at Babies R Us.  Have your cooler with your ice bag ready.  That way when you are done, you can just store your milk next to your bed til the morning and go back to sleep rather than having to get up to clean and put everything away, because by then you’re going to end up being fully awake.

6.  If you know you are going to freeze the milk immediately, use the freezer bags that you can attach to the pump equipment from Medela.  They come in a box.  You can get them at Target or Babies R Us.  Label and store.  Make sure to use the oldest milk first.  ALSO, THAWED MILK TASTES LIKE CRAP.  But this is normal.  If your baby eats it, it’s fine.  A baby will spit out spoiled milk.  Really, they will.  Mine did.  And thaw the milk in warm water, because hot water will make your milk spoil faster if the baby doesn’t end up eating it.

7.  Expressed milk can be kept at room temperature for 5-10hours.  Just to be safe I only use after 5hours.  But again, if they take it… it’s probably ok.  You can refrigerate for 5 days.  Freeze for 5 months.  There are wide ranges that I have read about, but my pediatrician and those at the Pump Station say the rule of 5s is probably safe.  I went by the rule of 3s at the beginning just to be safe.

MASTITIS

Mastitis is an infection in the breast.  It can be caused by many different things… more than likely a crack in your nipple that gets infected from the flora in the baby’s mouth.  You will wish you were giving birth again rather than have to go through this.  Your breast becomes inflamed, hard with marble size lumps… and you will just feel sick.  Like you have the flu.  Even though you feel sick, it’s still okay to give your baby breast milk because more than likely it’s THEIR bacteria that caused the infection.  Just make sure to pump regularly, check your nipples for cracks, and moisturize your nipple (I’d start moisturizing your nipple when you start your third trimester… makes them more supple).

Also, when my breasts would get engorged and I’d get those clogged ducts… I’d use the PED EGG to massage my breasts and workout the clogged ducts.  It worked like a miracle.  If you get the clogged ducts, massage with the PED EGG in circular and downward motions… HARD!!!  It’s going to hurt but getting out the ducts will feel much better.  You can get the PED EGG at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  I’m not even joking… I keep it inside of my pump backpack.  It worked better than my husband brutally massaging my boobies in a very unsexy manner.  ahahaha.  Also, hot shower or heating pads help.  Jiggle the boob while you are bent over and massage! massage!  massage!

Don’t get those HydroGel Pads for sensitive nipples that Medela sells.  They are useless and it has a funky smell.  I feel like it almost traps moisture inside your bra and could cause you to get a fungal infection on top of everything.  They are like $7 for 4 and not worth the money at all.

And for those of you worrying whether or not you will be able to breast feed because you have a flat nipple… oh believe me you will.  Keep pumping at the maximum level… and soon the nipple will come apart from the membrane.  But while it does… don’t feed on that side, because if you get a  rip (which will happen), it can get infected (which is what happened to me…TWICE!!!!!).   Or use a nipple shield while it is healing.  Always wash before and after feeding as well.  Now, I can feed on both sides but since I pumped and bottle fed so much from the beginning… I don’t nurse as much as I would like too.

There were many moments during the first two months of breastfeeding/pumping, I wanted to give up because I was so sick and just exhausted.  But I pushed through because I’d just tell myself… one more week, one more week… and now, she’s almost 5 months.

DeQuervain’s Tendonitis:

I also ended up getting DeQuervain’s tendonitis, which is tendonitis in your wrists.  It happens a lot to nursing moms from holding your baby, picking them up, and most especially from holding during nursing. So try to keep your hands in a neutral position during feeding.  Get a breast feeding pillow… I like MyBrest Friend better than the Boppy, because it’s sturdier and you can walk with the baby (unadviced) if you had too.  The Boppy is just too floppy… and it’s not ergonomically practical as it says.  If your wrists starts to hurt and then you get a popping feeling… like it’s out of socket… you probably have tendonitis.  You’ll need a cortisone shot.  I got therapy and it would help that day, but it wasn’t a quick fix and the pain was intense.  It’s also hard when you have to attend to a baby.  I didn’t want to get the injection because I was BF but after 4 weeks of excruciating pain, I had to give in.  So I just pumped and dumped for 3 days… I know, what a waste of milk.  You do what you have to do.

If you have extra production you know you aren’t going to use, consider donating your milk.  I donate mine periodically to my neighbor.  I have so much it’s not a big deal to me.  People cringe when I tell them I just throw away left overs or pump&dump all the time… but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

With all this advice… remember, this is my experience.  I’m not trying to encourage or discourage anyone.  I’m just hoping it helps give a different perspective for you.  If it helps that’s even better.  I hope you find this useful.  I didn’t know any of these things before I started nursing… I just thought you pop your boob into your baby’s mouth… and bam, you’re nursing.  Reality check!

I’m sure I left out many many things… but the majority of this blog I am writing at 3:45am… so my mind is not all that sharp right now.

Have a great weekend everyone… all four of you!!! ahahahah

Toodles my chicken caboodles!

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