I originally posted about my experience exclusively pumping. I wrote my first blog about pumping because I found it difficult to get information about scheduling and how to store the milk, especially for the exclusive pumper. (Read it here.) Now, I bring you an update of how it is going pumping at work.
I am an exclusively pumping teacher.
Pumping is its own beast, but pumping while teaching high school and coaching cheerleading during football season in Texas... Whew!!!! (Sorry for all the prepositions there!) Three weeks into the school year, I have already learned a lot.
My current schedule:
Pump 1 - 5:50am
Drive to School
Pump 2 - 7:40am
School Starts at 8:00am
Pump 3 - 12:00pm
(My lunch which is really only 20 minutes long)
Pump 4 - 2:30pm
(My conference period)
Pump 5 - 6:00pm
Pump 6 - 9:30pm LONG PUMP (I pump as long as it takes to feel totally empty before bed.)
My schedule has little to nothing to do with my choice at this point. It is all based my assigned lunch and my assigned conference. I pump after I get home from practice, so really I make do with what I can. Sometimes that happens, and if you want to pump long term (anything longer than 6 weeks) you really have to be flexible and committed to using every single spare minute of the day. I mean for real. There are times when I feel like I don't have one second of spare time.
This schedule is soon to be on the change again because I simply cannot keep up and have energy each day. My goal is to drop two pumps in the next month. (That is if I can keep it up!)
Changing schedules has been really hard on my body, and while I never fought engorgement in the summer, I now deal with some sort of achy boob almost daily. :/ As a friend told me, "yes, it hurts, but it's temporary." Some days are easier than others.
In the summer, I was able to be on my own schedule. I created an oversupply by pumping so frequently for so long, and I consistently made 60 ounces a day. When I started back to school, I noticed a reduction in my supply almost immediately. Now a month into the school year, I am down to 40 ounces a day. This is fine for us because I am just maintaining. Each day I pump no longer gets us ahead, but each day means another day that the baby gets breast milk.
I am still vigilant about drinking water, and I will say the days I eat more I can tell a difference in my milk output. My milk output is never spot on and varies a bit from day to day. (I can vary anywhere from 1 to 10 ounces.)
Storing Milk on the Go:
I am a secondary teacher, and there aren't too many inconspicuous ways to carry bottles full of milk to a faculty fridge. (A faculty fridge that you never know who is in, and you're never sure what the smell is!!) I decided that it wasn't worth the walk down the hall, since I am already so pressed for time when I am pumping at work. I could keep a mini fridge in my room, but there isn't much room... So, I use a cooler back pack. It works for me! I pack my pack every morning for pumping all day.
I already told you what I keep in my pump bag here.
In my cooler, I take:
- two of the tall skinny ice packs
- two extra bottles
- two extra lids
- a cup towel for extra milk
- ziploc baggies just in case
Pumping at school is terrifying initially. During our summer in service week, one of my male principals accidentally come into one of my fellow pumping teachers classrooms. Poor things the both of them!!! I made a sticky note that says "do not enter" and taped black construction paper together to make a makeshift sign. Each time I pump, I place these things on the window. I don't keep them up all the time, so that my janitors and principals know the difference. It seems to work so far. I have had to yell at a janitor putting keys in the door once, and I have had a technology guy waiting on me outside my door. These are not comfortable situations, but you just make do.
Honestly, the worst is students outside the door waiting to be let it. The talk and laugh and jiggle the door handle and FREAK you out.
My cheerleaders know that I pump, but they know because it's been a necessity to tell them. I have to leave another coach in charge for 20 or so minutes on game nights. Plus, they are with me so much more.
I will say that I thought pumping was tough before school started... but now, I cannot even explain what a commitment it is. I worry about leaking through my shirt all the time. I hurt more often than I don't. I think about quitting all the time. I feel guilty for thinking about quitting. It's a lot more emotional than I ever knew.
I think my time as an exclusive pumper is drawing closer to it's end. I always said that I would do what was best for my family, and as long as it worked we would do it. I find more and more that stopping to pump isn't working. It is limiting.
But, even with all of that... I am so proud that Moose still hasn't had formula. I also think it has played a big part in my loosing all the baby weight so quickly.
I really appreciate all of you guys keeping up with the blog. It's been quite a journey! Leave a comment and share your pumping questions or your pumping experience.
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