Friday, February 26, 2010

A day of pumping

I'm a full-time working mom. And a breastfeeding mom, too. So in order that I may continue providing breastmilk to my baby, I would need to express while at work. I've gone and used two manual breastpumps last year: a Tommee Tippee one and an Avent Isis one. Both served me well the weeks I used them. I think I used them roughly two weeks each when I came back to work last November 23, 2009. However, in between those weeks, I started dreaming of an electric pump. Why? Because it'd be so much easier for me, for my hands/fingers, and I'd be able to pump more since I'd be expressing from both breasts. So when the go-signal came to buy the Medela Freestyle from J, I was ecstatic. And my determination to continue giving Jack-Jack my milk until he's two years old became firmer.

So anyway, thankfully, my office has a pumping/nursing area. It's within our clinic, enclosed by curtains, and since it's just an area, only one pumping mommy at a time can use it. Otherwise, the late mommy would have to use one of the beds (with corresponding closed curtains, of course).

[That's it there. Tho all you can see are the curtains. And yep. There's a photocopier there at the end.]

[And this is what it looks like inside.]

Before I leave for work, or rather, before we leave the bedroom, I make sure Jack-Jack nurses from me so that 1-he's full, and 2-I won't have to suffer from engorgement when I couldn't immediately leave my table to express. My pumping schedule at the office goes something like 1030AM, 2PM, 5PM, give or take a few minutes. Like, when I forget that I'm already supposed to pump, or when I couldn't leave yet since there are still a lot of transactions I have to do, etc. I actually have set alarms for each of the times above in my phone. But even then, I usually pump a bit later than what's scheduled (if you want to know, the alarm sets off at 1030AM, 130PM, 430PM).

I use the bag that my pump came with as an office bag since I actually don't bring a lot of stuff to the office. All I need are my phone, keys, wallet, and office ID. That's why, I can cram six 4-5oz bottles in the bag, the pump motor, tubings, plug, freestyle adapters, flanges/horns. My Dr. Brown insulated bag, I carry separately and it contains the ice gel pack that came with the bag, plus the blue ice pack that came with my pump.

[The included Medela bag, with the motor, flanges, and bottles (that are only peeking from this view) when I go to work in the morning.]

[The Dr. Brown insulated bag with the blue ice pack and the gel ice pack.]

I place the bottles inside the clinic's ref and the ice packs in the freezer. Tip: I read and I totally agree, that expressed milk in the office be temporarily stored in the refrigerator and not frozen. Why? Unless you can be sure that the frozen milk won't thaw on the way home (because if this happens, you would have to let it thaw all the way and let baby drink it the next day. Plus, some important components of breastmilk are lost during the freezing process.), then the best thing would be to refrigerate the expressed milk in the office, transport it cooled, then freeze it at home.

Before, I used milk bags to store my milk in the office and even at home. But after getting an electric pump, I only use the bags when milk stored in the ref are reaching it's due date (5-7 days after expressing) so that I can then store them in the freezer to lengthen its life. Currently, I have about 3 days worth of expressed milk in my ref, plus 6 bags of around 6oz frozen milk each in my freezer (which, I'm thinking to donate when I've accumulated enough). Jack-Jack drinks "fresh" milk everytime I'm away, meaning, milk that are just stored in the ref and haven't been frozen/thawed. When I get home, I transfer the milk from the standard neck bottles I used to collect, to 3-4 wide-neck bottles, that are either 5oz bottles or 9oz bottles, that Jack-Jack uses. And yes, they are Tommee Tippee bottles, of the Closer to Nature type.

In between pumping sessions, I store the horns/flanges in the ref, with the collection bottles. I don't wash them anymore in the office sink since I'm not sure what had been previously washed there. It's safer to store them that way, inside a ziplock bag, since it's almost tantamount to storing milk in a ref. Besides which, the only contents of the ref in the clinic are vaccines and water. It's rare that food would be stored inside it. Also add the fact that I'm not that sensitive, even with the milk, or rather where the milk passes thru, generally so... but that's a whole other story.

After my three pumping sessions in the office, I place the 6 bottles in the insulated bag, in between the blue ice pack and the gel ice pack to keep it cooled while I travel towards home.

Then I stuff the entire insulated bag into the Medela bag, along with the motor, flanges, plug, and my keys, wallet, and office ID.

Yep. It all fits inside. It's a bit heavy, but not so much that I'd fear the bag's straps would detach themselves from the body. Thankfully, the pump's motor doesn't weigh much and the bulk of the weight is just actually, the contents of the insulated Dr. Brown bag.

When I get home, what remains inside the bag would only be the motor, plug, wallet, ID, and keys. All the rest are taken out, milk transferred and refrigerated, ice packs frozen. Then the bottles and flanges/horns are washed and sterilized, then dried (air-dried and/or wiped-dry) for use the next day.

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