Friday, December 28, 2007

Work and Pump

Everyday I pump 3 times at work. Once at 10.30am, once at 1.30 and once at 3.30. Before I send Adam to his babysitter I breastfeed him (around 7.30-8am) and I feed him immediately after fetching him (around 5 – 5.30pm, yes I leave as soon as the bell rings). At the babysitter’s place he has 3 feeding sessions about the same time I pump.

Usually each pumping session I get about 3-4oz. This seemed very little compared to other moms who can get 10-12oz per pumping session. But to me it was sufficient seeing that my baby only drinks as much as I pump, he won’t eat more than 4 oz. I use the popular Avent Isis manual pump which is efficient enough. It takes me about 15-20mins to pump + pack. In between pumping sessions I just pack all pumps parts in a sealed bag and throw it in the fridge. Breast milk has antibacterial properties. This saves me from wasting time on washing and sterilizing each time I pump. I read this useful tip from a great website on pumping –

I’m still at the trial and error state in getting to smoothly run my pumping routine. It’s not as easy as I imagined it would be. I found that pumping sessions can be a bit messy because I tend to leak from the other breast while pumping. Recently I bought the Medela milk collection shells which are terrific at collecting the milk and saving my clothes from getting wet. I take a little burp cloth with me to wipe away any stray drops. Nowadays it feels like pumping is my fulltime job. Lately I found that it is getting increasingly difficult to maintain the same amount of pumping yield. For the past few days even if I pump until my hands and breasts are starting to hurt I still fall short of 3oz. I’m a professional pumper who sucks at her job, literally! This is really stressing me out. I’m my baby’s only source of food! I’m trying to figure out ways to increase production.

My Avent pump is comfortable to use and gentle on the breast. During my maternity leave I could get as much as 5 oz using that pump, in a short time. This makes pumping sessions enjoyable. However somehow at work it gets harder. Plus pumping as much as 3 times a day using a manual pump is a strain on my hand – especially the wrist. Especially with the low output, it’s really disheartening to continue pumping. I’m thinking about getting an electric/battery operated pump. I’m hoping it’ll help empty my breast better and thus increase production plus my hands could use a break. I’ve done some reading on electric pumps and I’m leaning towards Medela Swing. It seems to be getting good feedback. I considered getting the Medela Pump-In-Style but it’s too bulky. Even with the simple Avent I find that I’m carrying a lot more stuff with me in the morning. I’d like a pump that is compact, use batteries, silent and very efficient. A double pump would be helpful too. But obviously a double pump would not be so compact. Does anybody have a better pump to suggest? Pls do. I’ve ruled out Spectra – no batteries so can’t use because I’ve no electricity in the room I use for pumping. Avent Uno/Duo is another consideration but I’m attracted to Medela’s 2-phase expression because sometimes it’s difficult to get letdown. Avent Uno/Duo users, what say you?

At the end of the day I wash all pumping equipments and sterilize using sterilizing tablets. In the morning everything is dry so I can pack them in the bag. I’m contemplating waking up earlier to add another pumping session in the morning to my schedule – to make up for the lack of pumping output. But that also means that my pump will have to be washed and get all wet again. Can you just pack a wet pump? How do other moms do it? Maybe if I have a second pump I can leave the wet one at home.

I have some freezer stash at home that I collected during maternity leave. However I’m careful about using them. I try to send to the babysitter whatever I can pump the day before. The reason is this; Let’s say my baby normally drinks 30oz per day – EBM + direct nursing. Breast milk is produced according to demand. So my body has adjusted itself and produces 30oz a day. Say for example I missed a few pumping sessions and my milk supply goes down a little to 28oz per day. To compensate for this I send extra 2oz from my freezer stock everyday. This would be a bad use of my freezer stash. My baby would be drinking the same amount per day i.e. 30 oz but I’m telling my body to produce only 28oz. In the end my milk supply will never increase and my freezer stash would eventually run out. You can read more about this in the website I suggested earlier.

Now I’m thinking about ways to increase my supply. Does anybody have any useful tips?

It sure is challenging being a breastfeeding, working mom. I’m starting to understand why some people may choose to switch or supplement with formula. You need to be fully committed. If I didn’t learn about breastfeeding and pumping and wasn’t so determined about it I could’ve quit as well. Imagine, your breasts are essentially never fully yours again. Every couple of hours you need to feed the baby. While this is actually time for you to bond and is very enjoyable, it’s also very time consuming and is not what you’re used to (before you have a baby). Even when you’re away from the baby you must continue “feeding” – by pumping to maintain your supply. During the weekends when I go out I must also think of ways to maintain supply. If the baby is with me I need to find ways to feed him in public or if I choose to bottle feed him EBM I still need to pump - again to maintain supply. Normally I just breastfeed him because it’s much more convenient. If I use EBM, it’s not as simple as bringing a bottle. You’ve also got to pack ice packs in a cooler for the EBM, hot water in a thermos etc. And then there’s washing + sterilize blablabla. My breasts are uncomfortably bigger, and constantly change in size. My bras keep changing size so much during pregnancy and nursing that now none of the bras actually fit me well.

It does get easier with time and practice though. I hope soon enough I’ll figure out the best ways to keep everything running smoothly. The important thing for me to remember is that it CAN be done. If so many other moms can do it, why can’t I.

Adam, I promise I’ll do my very best to keep giving you breast milk until you are 2. It is not easy but for you I’ll do absolutely everything. Love you sooo much! Muahs!

Adam’s Daddy – I love you too la…hehe.


Anonymous said...

Hi aida

Just some tips to share based on my experience: NEVER miss a pumping session at the office. If you're in a meeting that seems to be going on forever, excuse yourself for 15 minutes and pump. Trust me, you wont miss much of the meeting, but skip one pumping session and u'll see an immediate decline in production.

Stress is usually the main factor. Pumps are just a tool. But if ure stressed out, even the best pump in the world won't yield favorable results. Kinda tricky aint it, since the main reason why we're stressed out in the first place is fear of inadequate milk supply, but our stress is actually diminishing the supply further. Work related stress is also one of the main culprits. in my office, almost everyone pumps. But ade sorang akak non-exec nie, she expresses manually pakai tangan. No pumps required. and she gets a cool 4-5 ounces per session without breaking a sweat. Kitorang with all the avents and madelas struggle macam nak rak and barely get 3 ounces. Tambah lagi stres...

Things you can do to boost supply:
1. Drink LOTS of water- at least 3 liters a day (no kidding). Make sure you drink a glass of plain water about 1/2 hour before pumping and 1/2 hour after.

2. Eat leafy veggies. I can vouch that pegaga boosts supply, but the "wonder drug" for breast feeding mums is fenugreek. Its a herb that miraculously increases supply. Can usually be found at pharmacies in the supplements sections. Else kat kedai mamak pun biase ader jual. Nama Melayu fenugreek is halba (hehe.. not so mysterious anymore, eh?) What my friend did was she crushed halba tu and masukkan dlm capsule. Akak malas skit, so i bought yg dah siap jadik tablet from GMC (GMC is the company yg buat tablet tu, mcm 21st century jugakla) but its a bit pricy though. Dlm 90 bucks for 80 tablets, but hey, they're well worth it.

kadang2, when ure at home, try to squeeze in 1 extra session in the morning after you've fed Adam. Maybe 1/2 hour after his morning meal, just try to pump. Mule2 tu mmg la nothing will come out of it, but keep doing it and you might get an additional 8 ounces during weekends to add to your stock. Asiah dulu will wake up at 4.30 to nurse. so usually dlm pukul 5.30 cam tu akak akan bangun to pump sambil tgk Oprah.

Most important: Dont give up. When you start giving up (or even think of giving up) your supply will automatically dwindle. I managed to exclusively nurse ayesha for 5 months before i felt overwhelmed. asiah pulak i had to go for our annual roadshow to Bintulu, kertih and gurun when she was 4 months old so that threw everything out of toss. You hang in there dear... its no easy task to exclusively nurse your child. Sbb tu la tuhan, in all his wisdom, promises Jannah to mothers who breast feed their children exclusively for 2 1/2 years. So far only 1 full time working mum i know managed to do that. Even my sister in-law who is a full time house wife didn't manage to reach the 2 1/2 year milestone. But we try our best. I'm sure allah will reward our efforts.

Oh.. and maybe this can be a motivator. The lowest point in my motherhood experience so far was when ayesha decided to stop nursing. Sedih sgt you just can't find words that will do your feelings justice. So when times get tough and you feel like giving in, remember that once you stop/cut down on nursing, you can never turn back. Once that special bond has been broken, its broken forever. Only a mum who nurses their child will understand what i mean.

So hang in there. You're doing a good job so far. I'm sure you will be successful in nursing adam for many more months, if not years to come.

Anonymous said...

wow..pjg nye entry klong n comment dr kak fifah..tak pnah membaca byk sgt pasal breastfeeding heh

Anonymous said...

rafiza ni..
menyokong juga apa yang disaran kak iffah above

yang paling penting,

*azam kena kuat
*avoid stress,tenangkan hati
*selalu fikirkan n bayangkan adam di sisi during pumping session
*keep on pumping
*walau dapat sikit, semakin kerap pump, aliran akan makin mudah
*tentang kena banyak minum n makan itu ini tu, no komen sbb it's depend sebenarnya..
*minum macam biasa, sbagaimana disaran doktor walau tak menyusukan pun
*the reason-susu terhasil akibat rangsangan antara anak dan ibu..yang lain2 tu mitigating factors je..(terpulang, pendapat masing2)
*the last n most important-doa, kita kena ingat susu yang terhasil ni adalah rezeki buat anak kita..rezeki dari Pemberi Rezeki..

ok salam..

aidafiqs adamia said...

Kak Fifah,
wow..panjangnye..mcm lactation yg suke ni..hehe

1. 3 litres? yg azab ni..saya mmg malas minum air..huhu
2. halba sounds just as mysterious. never seen it it my life. capsules mcm best jer..heh
3. bgn pagi pump tu ok for me but i just tak suka nak bwk2 pam basah..hehe..aci tak...tapi if i wipe it dry ok kot...
4. didn't know jannah is promised to moms who exlusively breastfeed for 2.5 years! tq! motivator for me..lagi satu i thought yg afdalnya 2 years, not 2.5...
5. alamak sedihnye..why did she decide to stop?

i love the fact that at your office everyone pumps. at mine i suspect i might be the only one. there's another girl who pumps but she only does it once a day.

just curious, which pump did you use?

thanks kak fifah for your long helpful entry..

aidafiqs adamia said...

bagus2..baca2..nanti dah kawen senang...hehe.btw, happy birthday haritu...dpt tak sms?

tq for the tips...will try them out..

Anonymous said...

hehe.. the logic behind number 1 is that when u pump, your body dispenses fluids. if you don't replenish those fluids, biologically, your body will have a hard time churning out more. And 3 liters is not that byk sebenarnye. U know the expression drink 8 glasses of water a day? well 8 glasses roughly translates to around 3 liters. What i used to do when i was nursing dulu was: i had this tumbler that was 1.2 liters. so every morning as soon as i arrive @ d office, fill up d tumbler and make sure u finish it by lunch. Then as soon as u come back from lunch, refill the tumbler and make sure u finish it by the time u go home.. and at home i more tumbler before u go to bed... it works. especially d one glass half an hour before and after. Tak caya, try tanye makcik nizah :-) i used to swap breast feeding tips with her.. hehe

2.Halba is something we normally use mase masak nasik lemak. Try ask ure mum.

3. I just rinsed my pump with boiling water after morning session. aida pakai avent kan? Just tanggalkan the "petal massager" and the handle then find an ice cream tub ke.. tapewer ke.. and siram air panas... after 1 or 2 minutes, rinse and let it air dry. Usually by the time ure done getting ready for work, pump tu pun dah kering. So the pump will be the last item u pack before u leave the house.

3. Ni makcik nizah yg cakap. Dier kata ayat tu dlm surah baqarah and it said 30 months. so roughky 2.5 years, but since bulan islam pendek skit, it could amount to 2 Georgian calendar years.

4. ayehsa stopped because she got frustrated with the slow flow. If she drank from a bottle, the flow was consistent, but if she drank direct from source- she had to work extra hard. so finally she "improvised". she refused to nurse but instead, insisted on being cuddled while she drank from her bottle. sedih sgt mase tu. u feel a bit like ure child has grown up and doesnt need u anymore..hehe

don't worry if ure the only one nursing. u're not alone actually. Kat HQ ramai lagi working mums who are dedicated to trying their level best to nurse as long as possible like you. maybe u can start the trend going at ure place. its all about awareness.

One support site that i used to refer to was la leach. try looking it up.

ok..ok.. really have 2 go. ayesha dah merengek2 dah nak tgk adik adam.."nak tgk adik adam.. nak tgk adik adam dgn tilam besho.. hari tu dier bwk tilam pegi umah ibu.. besha sgt.. lepas tu dier bwk tilam lain.. keciiikk aje.."

to helmi:
hehe most working mums who nurse are passionate abt this topic. thing is we believe in breastfeeding and we understand how challenging it can be.

p/s to aida:Maybe one day we shud start our own support group. LOWPUMA- League Of Working, PUmping MAmas.. heh

aidafiqs adamia said...

kak fifah,

tq so much! very useful tips..i've increased the drinking and i think i'm seeing improvement already..

bagus jugak if i can get the trend going here..instead of hiding and feeling embarassed about pumping maybe i should just be open and welcome questions about exclusive nursing..might attract other moms to join me..

hehehe comelnye ayesha...mula2 bwk tilam kekabu..beso sgt..hehe..

sounds good - LOWPUMA...huhu

mOmmy of Triplets plus One said...

my babies were born premature, so they were in the hospital for the first 3-4 months of their life. thus i was left with no choice but to pump my milk and send it to the hospital.

initially susu mmg byk. i managed to get average of 6 -7 oz each session. but since it was purely express, no direct nursing/stimulation, my milk decrease.

i tried everything, minum byk, makan sayur and all those other food org kate can increase milk. but yet milk production still tak increase. i told the doctor, and she prescribe me ubat. (can be purchased at any pharmacy). it helps but unfortunately, bulan susu dry up.

even though by then one of my baby dah discharge hospital, he's used to bottle feeding, thus he had problem lacthing on. dah lar susu pun cam nak kering...mmg lar mengamuk bile suruh latch on.

nway, i was using the medela dual pump. i now loan it to my fren (working mom), previously she was using a single pump...and she finds it a blessing to have the dual pump. u could try and ask her if it is convinient (or not) to bring dual pump to workplace (

Anonymous said...

i looooooooooooooooooove avent isis uno. kecik & senang disumbat saja dalam my fridge2go.

but i dont have xp pump @workplace lg. hehe.

Anonymous said...

My son is almost 9 months and still fully breastfed (exclusively breastfed till 7 months).

I currently use the Medela Pump in Style. Mmg a bit bulky, but I just leave the bag in the office and bring home the cooler bag and pump parts. Kalau kena work away from the office, angkut je sume, but not that bad coz it comes in a backpack. I used the manual Avent pump before and definitely the PIS is better sebab bila let-down, both sides are pumped.

With regards to your freezer stash, do use it, but replace it with 'fresh' milk. Nanti bila tiba expiry date, tak boleh pakai kalau keluarkan 2 oz, masukkan balik at least 2 oz.

I used to pump 3 times, now I've decreased it to twice. But alhamdulillah cukup. My baby pun kalau while I'm away dia minum <10 oz. Dulu masa I baru start kerja, dia minum byk gila (>20oz) but dia sendiri yg reduce it masa siang and compensate malam.

Cara cepat nak keringkan pump is like what Kak Fizah cakap. Lps dah habis basuh kat pantry, I rendam dalam air panas (btol2 panas, not suam) for a few seconds, take the parts out and ketuk2 sikit on paper towel utk buang air yg lekat kat memana. Put the parts in a dry open bekas and by the time I walk to my cubicle or 'mini surau' to pump (same floor), the parts pun dah kering.

And the most important thing to increase supply, is to positively think that your supply is already increased :) Sounds corny, but it's all in the mind...

btw, i kerja R&T gak, kat GTRM. kita sama group masa kat Eagle Ranch tu...time tu i dah preggo :p

iL4na said...

aida, aku dulu pakai yg medela electric pump comel lote tu muat handbag..tapi jenuhlaa dok kena tunggu lama dahtu sedih tgk yg sebelah tu membazir je tak dicollect bila pakai single pump je.

so bila ada dual pump ni (thx to momoftriplets) mmg pilihan terbaik, tak kesah la bag besar sampai semua tegur bawak apa tu kaklong..i just said bawak mknn anak..n they all understand..infact my place i sorangggg je pump sebab semua lain laki but surprisingly they all faham sbb semua nye bapak2 org jugak.dual pump definitely saves my precious time and increased my milk production. no milk is wasted during pumping session.

wat i do waktu pumping is keep myself relax by imagining my baby, tutup mata, tenang..and promise myself that i'll get 5oz from right and not less than 3 oz from left. alhamdulillah bukak2 mata mmg itu yg tuhan bagi. it's like a gift from god to our baby from our body. miracle.

kalau bab sterile, b4 keje i sterile semua barang guna avent steam sterilizer and walaupun basah i pack them all up in a tupperware. immedieately sampai office i tuang air panas dlm tupperware tu and tunggu sminit dua (sambil touch up makeup) and then tuang kluar and wait for it to dry. if nak pakai terus pun boleh...just ketuk2 air renjis sket and use it immediately. uu soalan..must we dry it up nway?

so far baby Haiqal is fully breast fed tapi we still give him a bottle of formula milk a day. stock i dah abess sbb he drinks so much. sekali minum ada laa 4-7oz lagi2 lepas dia start pakai bottle dr brown size 3.. but i just make sure that my maid bagi dia formula bila stock dah abes betul2. kalau tidak keep on habiskan susu dlm freezer. ada sekali tu stock i dlm freezer kosong abes sbb i asek2 kluar pi shopping sampai tak top up. menggelabah terus pump tak henti2. even waktu bf dia pun i pump. tgh2 mlm pun bgn pump.

hmm x tau pulak surah albaqarah ada mention bout that 30mth fully bf akan dijanjikan jannah.. its motivating but at the same time rasa cam i'm failing myself sbb dah bagi baby formula..hmm :(

p/s: nak join lowpuma!

aidafiqs adamia said...

Mommy of Triplets,
mmg susah nak maintain supply when you cannot directly feed your babies. But i'm sure Allah has much rewards for you for trying. It can't have been easy. Luckily Lana has commented here also...hehe..

Uno kecik je ek...compact is definitely a plus..

great! u use PIS. was wondering, kalau u pakai dual pump and both hands occupied, how to press the on button/letdown button/off button?
about freezer stash..yes..i do the same thing. use it but make sure amount stays the same by replacing it.

were you the one who was 7 months pregnant? pls forgive me, i've terrible memory! i'm trying to find our group photo nak cari muka u..hehe. I think i remember you cannot naik go cart sbb preggy..yeke..?

aidafiqs adamia said...

bestnye double pump ek. Yelah because we tend to leak from the other breast as well once letdown occurs. byknye ko boleh dpt sekali pump! how many times a day do u pump?
Lana, susahnye kalau ko nak kene maintain 4-7 oz each feeding. tapi aku rase ko still blom terlambat nak exclusively breastfeed haiqal. i mean without campur formula,water or anything at all. You can do it! luckily aku baru terbaca one FAQ from Medela's website. i think it might be helpful to u. check it out -

Yay!! Kak Fifah, we've got another member of LOWPUMA!!

aidafiqs adamia said...

ni satu lagi link that u might find useful to increase supply/use supply wisely

Anonymous said...

heh...right on :) Nanti one day I nak pegi balik to Eagle Ranch just to naik the go-cart...heh

btw, until now my son pakai Avent bottle teat number 1 and 2...yg ada satu/dua lubang je. kirenye tak ikut la the recommended age. this is so that the flow tak laju sgt and hopefully insyaAllah nanti dia tak refuse the breast later on.

ada my colleague punye sister in law beli First Years punye breast flow bottles to immitate natural suckling.

Anonymous said...

lupa lak nak jawab soalan...can use one hand to hold both pumps. one pump pegang dgn tgn, the other one mcm tampung dgn the crook of your arm...can imagine tak?

tak pun, lean over so that the pump is pressed on your breast and the bottle rests on your thigh (duduk bersila).

hrmm...this msg is still rated PG or is it 18SX already? :p

aidafiqs adamia said...

wah...ini needs major multitasking skills ni..

my baby tanak lak Avent dia pakai Pigeon - peristaltic nipples..alhamdulillah ok..

~LoVeLyZz CoRnErZz~ said...

cayalahhh....bkn senang kan...inilah pgorbanannn..namanyaa..bertuah adam..dpt susu ibuu..hrp2 berpajangan..

Wan Amira said...

yeah, its not easy to breasfeed ur baby especially when the mother is working. ive experienced myself for 3 months (until my son - 5 mths). Firstly it is tough cos there is no lactation room in the office, better still there is no suitable room for pumping. im using the electrical pumping but surau's switch was not function. so everyday i have to figure out where to pump..

but at last, i surrender after my peak period came. but alhamdulillah im still bf my son till today.

Anonymous said...

u know aida, i rasa lucky sgt sbb diberi chance plg berharga: knowledge about breastfeeding my kids. i hav some frens yg nk bfeed but they dunno the rule.

ada yg nk bf tp more dipen on formula, xtau yg bm bole pam, simpan, etc. end up susu kering.

ada yg nk bf but xtau we can pump our milk out & bg ebm. end up full fm.

ada yg nk bf tp xde motivasi sbb igt susah gilerrrr nk hndle ebm.

mcm2 lg.

[i tot they really knew what FULLY/EXCLUSIVE BFEEDING is. if only i knew thet they really dunno, mesti i share dgn derang cemana cara2nya]

tp i rili respek moms yg campur tp determine nk full bf & they did!

aidafiqs adamia said...

alhamdulillah...ade rezeki Adam..harap2 lama lagila =)

ibu emir,
dapat jugak Emir minum susu ibu dia 5 months wlaupun takde tmpt pump ek..lagiler you bf mlm ye? i'm lucky my office ade tmpt nak pump..peti ais pun betul2 tepi my workstation..
btw, your son is sooo cute..i selalu pegi your blog tgk his photos...hehe

yes! i feel the same way. agaknye kalau i pun taktau i pun bg fm agaknye..jomla kite sebar2kan pasal bf kat org2 lain..

Anonymous said...

sometimes, to me la, susah gak nak masuk utk setengah2 org tu. contohnya ada my fren yg br peggy:

ME: nt dh lahir exclusive bfeed baby tau.
HER: eh mestilah! ko nih... aku mesti bffed anak aku. barula anak aku sihat & bijak. jimat lagi.
ME: a ah. tp byk jgk belanja kn. nk beli pumping gear segala.
HER: ha? pam buat apa?
ME: nk perah susu la.
HER: bagi dia isap puting aku je xbole ke?
ME: abis tu kalo ko keje, cemana nak bagi puting ko?

kalo i xsebut sal pumping gear tu konfem i igt mmg dia betul2 tahu cemana cara nak fully bf anak dia. huhu.


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