The Pumping What-Ifs

Jennifer Johnson

Posted By: Jennifer Johnson

I didn't grow up around breastfeeding moms. In fact, I grew up making formula bottles for my little sisters.

Jenn's Milk StashI'd always been a very career-driven woman. Excited about a new job, a promotion, a job well done. But since having my daughter the things I care about are shifting from my career to my family.

Unfortunately this doesn't change the fact that we need to eat. And while my daughter may be able to survive solely off my milk for the next year, the rest of us need food, and shelter among other things. So in order to pay the bills, I need to get back to work.

The date that I'm set to return to work is sneaking up quickly — much too quickly. I am anxious not only about leaving my daughter for long periods of time, but being able to continue to provide enough breastmilk for her while I'm gone.
I'm a television journalist, so I'm not going back to a job where I'm hanging around an office and can just step out for a few moments and pump on a set schedule.

I'm often on the go and running all around the city racing a deadline. While I love the rush I get from the job, going back to it as a new mother brings on a whole new set of worries. There is no set time I can count on being in the building and I don't know exactly when I'll be out and about. I don't know where I'll be and when I'll be back at the end of the day, and unless I tote my pump around with me to every location, I won't always have a chance to pump multiple times at work. That's why I've been pumping and storing milk for a while.

Pumping and storing has become a sort of addiction for me. I've been pumping since my daughter was a few weeks old and I've managed to freeze over 200 ounces of breast milk so far. I hear for some people their supply goes down after returning to work so I decided it would be best to have a back up to help keep my from needing to supplement with formula, if it comes to that. I've been reading up about when and how to continue to pump and use milk. I know I don't want to dip into my freezer stash on a regular basis without replacing it with new pumped milk because I don't want it to reduce my milk supply. I also need to cycle out some frozen milk about once a week so I don't need to throw out any that's been frozen for too long (more than 3 months in my non-deep freezer).

I normally don't like to play the "what-if" game but I can't help it right now. What if I'm not able to have a pump break every day (not because I'm not allowed, but because things get too busy)? I used to rarely have time to take a lunch break, because things got so busy, much less have time for multiple breaks. What if I just can't pump enough when I'm away from my daughter? I'm so used to pumping with her near, if not eating from the other side. What if my body doesn't respond the same way without her by? I know I'm going to have to just do the best I can do. I may not be able to set a certain time of day to pump but I can set goals to pump after my interviews and maybe even during a car ride (if I get a car adapter).

Luckily my husband will be at home with our daughter so there may be times I can visit her during my lunch break and nurse her then. I keep telling myself if I can make it to four or six months, solids will be able to help close any hunger gaps. And I'm confident if I work hard, I can do it.

There's a lot of changes coming but I'm pumped and ready for the challenge.

Any advice for pumping at a busy job? I'll relay my lessons learned soon!

9:15am on Tuesday October 5


Kelsey Myers
7:51pm on Thursday February 24

I work and go to school and find myself too busy to pump often. I used to have a freezer stash that looked a little like that and now I would die to have a freezer stash that had more than 3 bags of milk in it. You have nothing to worry about! My baby hasn't had to have formula yet, is 8 months old, and just eats what I pump the day before. :)

Amelia Ross
3:47pm on Wednesday October 13

I totally there with you. i have been nursing our son for 4 months now. Our plan is to nurse for 1 year. I have 100 + of freezer milk. When I was home my worries was lord WHAT IF my body dont produce enough of milk for our son, or what if my supply cut back. They key to your worries is honestly not to worry or your milk will cut back and it will be from stress. Your body act on supply and demand. I understand that you are busy what you may try is to pump in the car. I have recently started to do that and its great. BUT my husband and I carpool to work and he drives while I pump. If you are driving alone it may be beneficial for you to get the hands free breastpump that you can hook to your bra and drive the same time. Also you may want to try a supplement. Its by motherlove and its called more milk plus. It will increase your supply. I have been using it and the 100+ oz of milk I have was collecting all under 1 month. That was my second time freezing milk because I used my first collection. I pump 3 times a day at work then I nurse my son the very moment I get home up until I go back to work the next day. I hope all work for you. But pelase dont stress yourself becaue that iwll cut your supply. I love nursing as you do and I pray that things will get better for you and your family.

Meredith Sullivan
1:02pm on Sunday October 10

I dont know about the busy job thing, but you might consider getting that milk @ home into a separate freezer (like a dorm sized) OR at least get it out of the door storage, just in case of power outages and also cause it will last longer in the back. Keep a picture of your little one in your pump to help keep up supply, even if you're doing other stuff while pumping so your body has the inspiration to produce.

9:08pm on Thursday October 7

Be careful about relying on your stash. While your baby will get the food that she needs, your supply will suffer with each missed pumping session. As that great 90s song went, Pump Up The Volume!

7:02pm on Saturday October 9

Thanks ma! I'm trying to keep that in mind and use the stash for emergencies, or when I'm rotating it out and replacing it with fresh milk. :)

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