Let me preface this by saying that with little C. I used a single electric breast pump knowing that I would be staying at home with him and wouldn't need anything too fancy. In retrospect, that was somewhat true. But...this time I was faced with the same scenario, only having nursed and pumped in the past, I had a whole buildup of experience. And I knew going into this second-time experience, the pump could really be more of my friend. I could use it more than I did the first time to free me up a little and to freeze a little breastmilk for when I travel to New York this fall. Not to mention, the more you pump, the more your supply goes up, so that makes things less stressful. And this pump is way faster and more efficient...bonus. (Can I also let you in on a secret? The pump is amazing at getting contractions going if you're having trouble kickstarting labor like I did.)
Luckily, I do get to stay at home with baby L., so I don't have to worry about constant pumping. I usually pump first thing in the morning, and another time in the afternoon. And I say "another time" because the hardest thing about pumping is finding the time to do it with two kids...eek! I've found so far it's best to do it while baby's napping and then have little C come in the same room with me with books or another activity. I only do it for 20 minutes, but it's amazing how quickly both kids can suddenly become so demanding in those 20 minutes! :)
I started familiarizing myself with my pump after Lansinoh sent it to me, about a few weeks before I went into labor, but the Lansinoh Affinity Pro is super easy...it just becomes second nature. You grab a couple of the bottles and attach to the pump, plug the tubing into the main base unit (which plugs into the wall) and turn it on with the power button. It will warm up (or stimulate) for two minutes and then it's time to pump. The LCD screen tells you how long it's been pumping and you can easily adjust the suction strength with the arrow buttons. I like to turn it on the lowest setting for the first few minutes, then turn it up every five minutes or so (because the higher you turn it up, the more results!). Also, I've found more success using both at a time than just one. I love how once you're done, you can just put a cap on the bottle you pumped right into and store in the fridge. But I mostly use the Lansinoh storage bags where I write the date and time on the bag before storing the milk in it in the fridge for a few days at a time. It's really an easy process once you get the hang of it.
I waited about three weeks I think before I starting pumping because I didn't want to use a bottle too early. Baby L now gets a bottle about 1-2 times a day so that I can run errands by myself or with little C. It's also nice knowing she's getting 3 oz. from the expressed milk, whereas directly from the breast, you're just left wondering! As long as she's getting my milk, it doesn't bother me if it's from me directly or a bottle, honestly.
To clean it, I rinse it with hot water, but I also have some quick cleaning wipes that are helpful in a hurry. I'm actually at my parents house for a couple days this week and I'll say the pump (or "pumpers" as little C calls it) travels really well...it comes with a nice tote.
While some days it feels like all I'm doing is feeding...changing diapers...pumping...I know it won't last forever and I should just enjoy this crazy lil' moment for now. I'm just so glad I have a pump that's quick, easy and comfortable because it definitely makes the newborn stage that much easier on me. Whew. I will survive.
P.S. How is nursing going you ask? First-time moms, don't be discouraged! It's waaaay better the longer you do it (days three and four were the worst) and even better with the second child. You just know what you're doing so much more, as with most everything I've found. I'm so more relaxed! And while I look at the clock, I feed a lot on demand and don't stress about a feeding schedule. So...right now it's so far, so good. I hear there's another baby growth spurt this week, so if I can get through that, I'm golden until the next one at three months! I don't have a goal for how long to nurse, although I would like to do it as long as I can. baby L. is a natural, although without my pump, I would be lost.
[Photo via Lansinoh]