December 24, 2012

BF 101: Your Pump Plan

Or rather, what the majority of pumping moms call the Pumping Schedule.

Do I have one? Of course I do.

It goes –

8.30. 11.30. 1.45. 5.15. at work.

And on a good day,

11.30 p.m (power pump). 6.45 (a.m.) at home.

30 minutes per session.

Thing is, for most working moms, it’s really not that easy to keep to the pump plan to a tee, isn’t it? Not impossible, I agree, but also not to a tee.

Most breastfeeding enthusiasts suggest that we act all gung-ho when sticking to the pump plan. Don’t bother about what people think of you. Don’t bother about what people say about you. To hell with the rest of the world. Just leave the meeting. Or bring the pump into the meeting. No excuse for not pumping. Mom’s milk is best. Baby deserves mom’s milk. Formula is poison.

Yeah. I know right? If you don’t agree that this is how most fully breastfeeding mothers sound like (because you might be one yourself), maybe it’s time for you to muhasabah.

But that deserves another post of its own. Point is, how important is that pump plan?

Very important. Very, very important. It’s very important to tell your b(oob)s to be full at the same time every single day (especially) when away from your baby, and the only way to do that is to stick to the plan.

When I got back to work, this was one of the issues which caused a lot of anxiety to me. For one I didn’t know how to break the news to my boss about my pump plan. And secondly, my job involves a lot of meetings. I most definitely can’t simply leave the meeting or not attend it altogether. I may be gung-ho but I most definitely am not irresponsible.

And so began my anxiety episode which eventually lead to stress, which eventually led to borderline depression which eventually led to having to supplement with formula.

So, after I supplemented, I thought long and hard about my pump plan (which used to be a different one from the above). I knew that I had to do something and to stick to something which is workable for me. We may all be working mothers, but our jobs, despite being similar, may not be exactly the same. After reassessing my situation, the schedule I mentioned above is the one I stuck to.

But like I said, it was still difficult to stick to it with utmost perfection. So, what I did to ensure I got the amount of milk I target for every day is to replace every missed pump session with a power pumping session. For example, I normally am forced to skip my 11.30 because of meetings. So, what I do is, when the meeting ends (at say for example 12.15), I dash back to my room and start power pumping until 1.15. Then, I run down to the café to get some lunch (tapau whatever’s left there) and then perform my Zuhur prayers and then stick to my next scheduled pump session. Of course, for the 1.45 session, I’d get less than I normally would, but what’s important is that at the end of the day, I’d get the amount I targeted.

The most I’ve gotten so far per pump session? Is 7 oz. at 2.00 p.m. Don’t get all excited just yet. That only occurred twice and it’s only because I skipped 2 earlier pumping sessions when I had to attend a course.

Now, while breastfeeding may be natural, lactation is a science. And I couldn’t agree more.

This is the other reason why pump plans are extremely important. Though we might not be able to observe the schedule perfectly, it is important that our b(oob)s are told to produce a certain amount (no matter how little) at certain times in day. So, when we’re forced to skip a session or two, the accumulated amount would still be the amount we would normally get from the sessions we missed. Faham kan?

The part about telling my boss and colleagues about my pump plan was one of the things I stressed out about previously too. So, how did I combat this issue?

By being honest. Totally and completely honest. Especially if I had to decline non-work related invitations.

“Puan, saya tak join ye. Nenen saya rasa nak pecah dah ni.”


With curious male colleagues, I made sure I treat breastfeeding and pumping as something which is totally and completely natural (though only God knows how difficult it is to keep up that brave façade.)

When they dash into my room –

“Apakebenda bunyik tu?”

“Breastpump saya.”

“Hoh, napa awak tak tutup lampu ke, kunci pintu ke?”

“Kenapa nak kena kunci? Awak nampak apapa yang tak patut?

“Emm. Tak.”

“So, kalau saya tak rasa malu, kenapa awak pulak nak malu?”


These days, they’ve learned that it’s okay to come for discussions with me although my FS is buzzing away.

And so, although my success is incomparable to those who have deep freezers full of EBM, to me, these little things, such as my pump plan and honesty, makes me just as happy to still be breastfeeding.

So, happy pumping milk, everyone! Even if your journey isn’t as perfect as others. Trust me, when you're so used to pumping milk, half an hour seems like such a short period of time!

Shy to comment? Well, never mind! Your reactions mean the world to me! Make me smile today :)


Anonymous said...

omg, your son hisap jari sebijik macam i hisap jari masa kecik2 dulu, i only stopped when i was 13 yo...sooo addicted! haha

Haneesa said...

lucky me, he's "weaned off" his jari :)