Pumping, supply, and international travel

I haven’t written too much this go around about my pumping experiences. Now that I’ve been back to work for almost two months, I’ve had to readjust to the frequent pumpings, trying to get enough milk, and pumping on the road.

After some very difficult weeks with Brynn refusing the bottle, she has finally gotten into a groove and for the past two weeks has been consistently finishing her three ounce bottles at daycare. On a typical day when I am in the office, I nurse her when she wakes up, she gets a bottle and I pump around 9-9:30, I go to daycare and feed her at noon, and then she gets a bottle/I pump around 3-3:30. When we get home, I’ll usually quickly nurse her and then she nurses one last time before going to bed between 7 and 7:30. I do one last pump before I go to bed at 10:00.

I started off getting awesome (for me) amounts of milk. I was thrilled to be getting 4-5 ounces with that first pump of the day and then 3-4 for the second pump. At my bedtime, always my lowest volume pump of the day, I get about 2 ounces.

Well, just recently, my output has dipped considerably! Now I’m getting a maximum of 3 oz per pump (unless she sleeps through the night and I only give her one side when she wakes up…then I can get 4 oz) and at my bedtime I’m only getting 1.5-2 ounces. Ugh! So the other day I gave in and decided to try fenugreek. I never tried it with Bella even though I had the same issue. So for now, I’m trying 3 capsules, 3 times per day. I haven’t noticed a difference yet but they say it is working once your sweat starts to smell like maple syrup. I’m worried that Brynn is soon going to need 3.5 or 4 oz bottles at daycare and I’d like to be able to pump as much as she is eating. Selfishly, I also really want to drop that bedtime pump as well since it delays me going to bed and is usually the last thing I want to do at that time!

I’ve also had some really fun [sarcastic font] pumping experiences while traveling lately. In my first two months back to work I have already had to travel to St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Nice. So I’m back to pumping in airport bathrooms and given the timing and duration of a few flights, on the actual plane. My flight to Nice I was actually in a middle seat and had to do it, although thankfully on my flight back, I lucked into having one of only a couple of empty seats on the whole plane next to me.

The international pumping and travel with breastmilk brought up a whole new set of logistics that I didn’t have to worry about when I did my traveling two years ago. First off, I thought I was good bringing my outlet adapters, but didn’t realize that my pump also required a voltage adapter. Ugh!! My pump is so much weaker on batteries and I had to pay a ridiculous amount of money to buy a second set of AA batteries (which they hide behind the counters) in France. Second, at NCE I ran into a huge problem bringing my milk home. Thankfully, they have security before you check your bag, so when I brought up that I planned to carry my milk on as I do in the U.S., they told me that wasn’t allowed. After 30 minutes of them talking with various supervisors, the verdict was that I’d have to check it. Cue my panic as I only had one tiny ice bag in there and my 70 oz of milk had to make it all the way to JFK. They told me that they could only allow more than 3 oz of milk if I had a baby with me. Hello! If I had the baby with me, I wouldn’t have had to pump all of that milk! The kind security folks spoke to Delta for me and they put a priority tag on my bag so that I’d quickly receive it at JFK. Thankfully my flight wasn’t delayed so my little ice baggie lasted 10 hours and my milk was still cold when I picked it up before customs. At JFK, it was no problem at all to check the milk on which was good, since I spent 8 hours there due to numerous flight delays. When I got home, we realized that I’d actually fried the pump’s plug, so I borrowed one from a neighbor until I could get a new plug mailed to me. So yeah – hope these lessons help someone else who may be in the same boat!

My next work trip isn’t until November and is only for two nights. In December, I’ll have one trip where I can take Brynn with me and another for two nights where I can’t. Hoping to make up for all this travel with a little extended winter break home with my girls!

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3 thoughts on “Pumping, supply, and international travel

  1. Have you tried nursing holiday or power pumping? That really helped to increase my supply when I first started out. Hope the fenugreek works for you, it just made me smell like maple syrup, lol. Make sure do drink well, I know that’s always an issue when I’m at work. Gatorade has helped others I know, more efficient hydration I suppose?

    • I haven’t! How long do you have to do the holiday or power pumping for? Do you just do it once and it works? I still don’t think I smell like maple syrup. I do need to focus on drinking more water!

      • Nursing holiday would work best over a weekend where you have nothing planned. For power pumping, doing it at a time you don’t normally pump every day for at least 3 to 4 days should give you a noticeable increase. Kellymom.com has other great tips if you search for increasing supply.

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