Our Last and Final Breastfeeding Milestone

Friday, November 6th, Raelynn had her last bag of breastmilk. It was a happy and sad day all in one. At this point, I know both my husband and I were tired of dealing with thawing out a bag of breastmilk, mixing it with whole milk, and sending it to daycare. Now we just send a half gallon of whole milk every week and it’s much better and easier and just less to deal with in general.

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Of course, I had to take a picture with our last bag of milk 🙂 It turned out cuter than I expected!

While I don’t feel like a “pro” at pumping, I think I probably have some useful advice to offer or things I would have done differently, especially towards the end. I feel like I must disclose that everyone “pumps” differently. Everyone will develop their own schedules and fall into their own routine that works for you and your family. I felt like I was constantly searching the internet for mom’s schedules and how mom’s made pumping easier because pumping really fucking sucks. So, while this may not help everyone, maybe it will help just one person. And for that, I will feel useful 🙂

  • In order to keep up with the needs of your baby, you have to pump every 3 hours. Some moms even have to pump every 2 hours to produce more. I know if I ever had a dip in supply, I would add in an extra pump until my supply came back up. Breastfeeding/pumping is a supply and demand relationship. You must pump or breastfeed to tell your body to continue producing milk.
    • As far as a schedule goes, I think that solely depends on you and your work schedule. There is not a schedule that works for everyone. After going back to work, it takes a couple of weeks to get back in the swing of things. As long as you are being mindful of pumping every 3 hours, you should be okay.
  • PUMP AND DRIVE! I cannot stress this enough especially if you have a long commute to work or if you have things to do on the weekend. PUMP AND DRIVE!! It will save you so much time. This is somewhat controversial because some women do not feel this is safe. I never felt that I was harming myself or other drivers out there. It’s a little awkward at first, but you will get used it to and then you will question yourself as to why you didn’t do this from the start.
    • I had a 45 minute commute to work. I would drop Raelynn off at daycare, pull off to the back of the parking lot, put on my hands free bra, hook up my pump, start the pump before I actually took off, drive to work, then when I got to work, I would unhook and store my milk.
      • Things you need in order to do this: hands free bra, car adapter for your pump (Medela makes them), a nursing cover if you want one (my windows were like limo tint so I never used one), the Medela cooler and ice pack that I could store in my backpack pump, cleaning wipes so you can clean your pump parts quickly.
      • IT’S TOTALLY DOABLE AND TOTALLY WORTH IT.
  • When I started freezing milk, I feel like my logic behind it was good. I started freezing in 3 ounce increments because that’s what she was eating at the time. When she went up to 4 ounces, I increased how much I was freezing to 4 ounces. She only ever took 5 ounces, so toward the end all of my bags were 5 ounces.
    • When she was just getting breastmilk, I would add fresh and frozen. For example, if she was getting 4 ounces bottles, but I was still on the 3 ounce bags, I would add one ounce of fresh milk from the day before.
    • This became tricky when I was trying to portion out whole milk. I very, very slowly introduced whole milk. I did 1 ounce in her bottles for like 2 weeks, then 2 ounces in her bottles, etc…. Towards the end, all I had was 5 ounce bags so it didn’t always measure out correctly. Point being, I wish I would have frozen in all different increments towards the end, if not throughout. I wish I would have froze more 2 and 3 ounce bags because it would have been easier.
      • Something important to remember: from the moment you pull the frozen bag of milk out of the freezer, you are supposed to use it within 24 hours. Sometimes I went over that threshold and Raelynn was fine. But I always tried to be mindful of that.
  • Cleaning pump parts….this is also a touchy subject and totally up to you and how you want to handle it. But here are some options and hopefully helpful information:
    • Breast Milk stays good at room temperature for up to 8 hours. This is good to know in case you are in a bind and can’t wash your part rights away. The world is not going to end and you’re not going to spoil your next batch of milk you pump if you don’t wash your pump parts right away. I’m not saying DON’T wash them every time, I’m just saying shit happens and it’s okay.
    • I am a firm believer in saving time and cutting corners. When I pump and drove, I strictly used the Medela wipes to clean the parts. 3 hours later when I pumped at work, I would go to the bathroom afterwards and rinse out with hot water. When I got home for the night is when I would soak them in warm soapy water and clean thoroughly. Some people feel like they need warm, soapy water every time. Great, if you want to do that. I sure as fuck didn’t want to. I had better shit to do.
    • An alternative, you can store your pump parts in the fridge in a gallon size ziplock bag or by putting them in tupperware. The reasoning: if there is any milk leftover on your parts, the fridge will help keep the milk good. I know several people that swear by this.
    • Sterilizing….sorry, but my take, fuck it. Some people sterilize their pump parts after every pump, once a day, once a week. Me, once a year, when i packed the shit up and I was done with it.  Just solely my opinion.
  • Do invest in a set or two of extra tubing. No matter how careful I was, I would always get milk in the tubing, somehow and I could not get it out. I did try to sterilize it and clean it but then there was condensation buildup and it turned into a moldy mess. Just buy the extra damn tubing and save your time.
  • Also, buy extra membranes. Super cheap pretty much everywhere. They need to be replaced every so often to help suction. I think I replaced mine a total of about 2 times.

That’s it. That’s everything.

–The Kentucky Momma

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