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Nailing Your Breastfeeding Schedule

Working moms can nurse too!

Nailing Your Breastfeeding Schedule

There is a perception that breastfeeding is always "on demand," but how can that work when you're a Working Mom? In 2013, 62% of mothers giving birth in the U. S. went back into the workforce, most within three to six months of the birth of their baby. Simple questions like “How often do I need to pump?” and “How much will my baby drink while I’m gone?” are typical but sometimes hard to answer questions when you’re a new mom and overwhelmed with trying to balance work and breastfeeding.

Lactation consultant Melanie Venuti helps us understand how we can continue to have a successful breastfeeding relationship while headed back into the workforce.

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When should I start working on my breastfeeding schedule?

I use the word 'schedule' very lightly with the breastfeeding mothers I am working with. After 6-8 weeks, babies are typically a bit more predictable and as parents we are able to recognize their needs much more clearly. Around this time, we can also start to predict their feedings, for example, if they feed around 7 am, we may be able to predict that 2-3 hours from that time, baby will be hungry again. When you start to see a general patterns in your baby's feeding needs, you can start to instill a 'schedule.'

How do I know how often to pump during the day when I’m away from my baby??

When returning to work with a baby at home who is younger than 6 months, Mom is encouraged to express milk approximately every 3 hours. For example, if you are separated from baby for 10 hours, it is recommended that you pump at least three times. Pumping often while away from baby will ensure that your body continues to be stimulated and will keep production up.

How much will my baby drink throughout the day? It can be tough to measure how much my baby’s drinking when I’m breastfeeding, but I want to pump and prep accordingly!

Breastfed babies are typically eating every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day, some more, some less. On average, they may consume 1 to 1.5 ounces of breastmilk for every hour they are separated from Mom, in increments of 2 to 4 ounces offered in a bottle. So for example, if baby is separated from mom for 10 hours, baby will likely be consuming between 10 to 15 ounces of milk. The first week or 2 back to work can be trial and error. Communicate with your care provider about your babies typical hunger cues so that milk is not offered with every cry. Ask them to offer feedback so that you can plan to leave the amount that works best for your baby.

How do I juggle nursing and pumping when I’m at home?

Most of the mothers I am working with are hoping to continue to nurse their baby while they are home (in the morning, evening and on the weekends). While continuing to nurse your baby during the hours that you are home, mothers may find it helpful to pump one more time in addition to feeding their baby at the breast and pumping at work. Pumping before you go to bed or before you leave for work, or both, will assure that you keep your supply up, and collect milk to save for times in need.

Here is a sample schedule for a Working Mother who’s away from baby from 9am-5pm:

6 AM – Breastfeed

8 AM – Breastfeed at “drop off” or when caregiver arrives

10 AM – Pump

1 PM – Pump

4 PM – Pump

6 PM – Breastfeed

Breastfeed at Bedtime (time may range)

10:30 PM – Pump

Breastfeed during the night as needed

Any tips for making the most of my pumping sessions?

  • Always pump both breasts at each session for 15 minutes. You will be able to get more milk in less time when pumping both breasts, and your body releases hormones more freely when both breasts are stimulated at the same time.

  • Play around with the settings on your pump. Put the vacuum/suction strength to the max that is comfortable for you. When using a 2-phased mode pump, keep the cycling speed on stimulation mode for 2 minutes and then change into a slower phase, the expression mode (some pumps automatically change phases after 2 minutes). After about 6-8 minutes, you may toggle back to stimulation mode for another 2 minutes to trigger additional letdowns (some pumps have a “let down button” and some have a dial to increase speed). This will simulate baby being at the breast and offer more hormonal response.

  • The flange (cone) size is key to comfort and successful milk expression. The flange is what puts pressure on the nipple and areola tissue for successful output. If it is too big, it may cause swelling of the nipple and areola, constricting the ducts and milk output. If it is too small, it can cause discomfort and restriction of the ducts which would therefore also affect expressing milk. Try lubricating the flange with a little bit of olive or coconut oil to allow for the nipple to move more freely and gently.

  • Think: Hands free, hands on. Massage and compress the breast throughout the pump session, which helps increase stimulation (skin to skin contact) and also the volume of breastmilk output. This is especially important in the areas that you are feeling bumps.

Cleaning my pump after each session is such a timesuck! Any shortcuts you know of?

After each pumping session, put all parts in the fridge in a bag or a bowl. Continue to use those pump parts throughout the day, continuously putting the back in the fridge between pump sessions. At the end of the day, you can wash everything in warm soapy water and allow to air dry for the next day. Sterilizing is not necessary daily, you can boil for 3-5 minutes or use a steam bag 1 or 2 times per week.

Helpful Resources:

MV Breastfeeding Support

Workandpump.com

Kellymom.com

Free Breastfeeding Hotline Sponsored by MV Breastfeeding Support: 857-400-0897

Image source.

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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