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Breast Pumping Advice
I have been pumping for almost 7 months now, and when you asked about scheduling, I tried to remember what I did back when Erika was a little one. I remember that at first I took it one week at a time. I didn't think I would ever do it as long as I have. What I did at first was I pumped immediately before or after Erika ate. This was at least every 3 hours. I even got up in the middle of the night to pump, no matter how exhausted I was. This is VERY important in boosting your supply. I did this for the first 3 months. By then, I was exceeding her intake, so I began freezing in Medela freezer bags and then Playtex bottle bags. I pumped for longer than 15 minutes. I always pumped until I felt totally empty, which always ended up being about 30 minutes. There are tons of pumpers on here who never pumped that long (in minutes), so you might not have to, but that is how long it took for me to be completely emptied. It is important to be completely empty so that you signal your breasts to make more, more, more. Especially as you little one grows. After the 3 month mark, I went to pumping every 4 hours around the clock. My milk supply was not going down at all after that, so I started going every 4 hours during the day only and no more that 6 hours at night.
Pumping is very, very time consuming and draining (no pun intended). Make sure that you get a nap in every day so that your milk supply keeps up its pace. That helped my supply a lot. Good luck with the pumping! It is a very, very difficult thing to do. The biggest thing that helped with my pumping was hooking the pump up by the computer. I log onto the computer every single time I pump now (if I'm home) and chat or read emails. It really helps distract from the pain and keeps your mind occupied when it is hard to let down and when you feel tense. I have only been "pumping online" for a month now and really wish I had done it from the very beginning. It REALLY has helped me. Try it if you don't already do it!