Wow everyone, thanks for all your encouraging comments about breastfeeding and pumping. Yesterday I spent most of the day on the computer (even while nursing - that was awesome!) researching and learning more about other women's experiences - this thread in particular at one of my favourite blogs was a real treat to find.
Here are some of my favourite tips from that thread, gathered here for my later perusal and for the education of anyone else who finds herself in a similar boat.
- Warm compresses for 15 minutes beforehand (hot water bottle? Magic bag?)
- Lube up nipple with lanolin or olive oil to get good suction
- Develop a letdown cue (ALWAYS look at picture of baby, listen to certain music, whatever) to take advantage of operant conditioning. Many women suggest a sound recording of baby crying. I would think a picture/video/sound clip of an unhappy baby would be more effective than a happy one, as that's the cue that lets Mom know she's needed.
- Distract yourself: read or watch TV. A watched pot never boils, a watched collection bottle never fills!
- Eat oatmeal while pumping or at other times
- Practice deep breathing
- Eat protein-rich foods (peanut butter?)
- Sleep helps increase milk (how ironic)
- Drink 2L+ of water per day for supply
- Lecithin supplements (2000 mg) good for preventing blocked ducts
There were a lot of conflicting figures on how much you could expect a pumping session to yield, and how long it might take. Kellymom.com states that baby’s daily intake = about 25 ounces, and offers a handy calculator for figuring out how much baby is taking in per feed based on how often you are nursing. At this point, I figure Gwen's feedings are about 2-3.5 ounces.
Kellymom advises that "You may need to pump 2-3 times to get enough milk for one feeding".
On the other hand, the instruction booklet with my pump (a manual Avent Isis) suggests that pumping for 10 minutes should yield 20 oz.
Some recommended techniques:
Power pumping. Pump for 10 mins, stop for 10 mins, pump for 10 mins, repeatedly, for an hour or two. You can try this at the same time each day for three days in a row, or, if you really want to boost supply, you can do this on and off over an entire two or three days. It can take up to a week for the increase to show up.
Frequency day. Throw in a *frequency day* where you pump once every hour or hour and a half the whole day. A couple of days later you'll have more milk.