I bet you find yourself doing all sorts of things while you pump and might wonder what other moms do while milking the breasts. I compiled a list of things that you could do, a few things you should do and some things you would do if someone floated you the idea.
You thought pregnancy was a free pass to eat for as many as you like, but get ready for some real pangs of hunger and thirst. Unlike your 3rd trimester where your stomach was in your throat and whatever you ate sat in your esophagus, eating while breastfeeding is downright fun. Eat at will and drop a fried egg on everything.
There are not a lot of opportunities to get some shut-eye during those newborn days. So when the opportunity arises shut your eyes, even if you are hooked up to the pump. Don’t worry about passing out too long, your baby will wake you up soon enough.
Your pump talks. Seriously. Just listen and you’ll hear the words. Imagine it complimenting you, “Super Mom,” “Dig It,” “Awesome.” Feel free to talk back to it, don’t worry about looking crazy, you can’t hide crazy in the newborn days. Make a song or rap about what it says to you.
You can totally breastfeed while you pump and kill 2 birds with one stone. You are likely dripping from the other breast when baby latches on anyway so you might as well bag and bottle it.
5. Go handsfree
Buy, or better yet, make a hands free bra by cutting a slit in an old bra or sports bra and insert your flange. This way you can knit, type, write those thank you cards, start a blog, do your makeup if you aren’t crying from lack of sleep or just flip through the channels.
6. Scroll through your newsfeed
Stay up to date on all your friends’ posts. It’s actually nice to get out of your own head for a while and see what other people are up to. Those newborn days are lonely sometimes and just chatting online with people can make you feel a bit more connected. Join a breastfeeding Facebook group, start that Instagram account that you have been meaning to start, create a Facebook page and document your journey through new motherhood or pin your favorite recipes.
7. Take photos
Take lots of photos of your baby. It’s fun to try to capture that amazing new life and watch all the Likes it gets! Take photos of yourself pumping and breastfeeding. Even if you never share them with anyone else you will always have documentation of your incredible work. What you are doing right now, growing a new life, might feel chaotic and frustrating much of the time, but you will soon forget that hard work in the early days.
8. Watch your nipple
You can make sure you are getting the most milk possible while pumping by checking that your flange is the right fit for your breast. When it’s a good fit your nipple will move freely and not much areola is being pulled into the tunnel. Remember that your breasts will change size over time so check every once in a while to see if you need to move to another size flange.
9. Get a mani/pedi
If you have a few minutes of down time consider doing something for yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s all part of that transition to motherhood where you have to make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle. Look at colors of nail polish, put it on, do your make up or whatever it is that you enjoy doing for yourself.
10. Write a rock opera
You may have already started that song with lyrics from your breast pump so consider writing a whole album based on your life right now. It’s got it all, right? High highs and low lows. Angst and panic and fear and sadness. Channel it all into a compilations of rock songs and imagine a bunch of actors jumping across the stage and belting out your life hard rock style.
11. Be a fountain
Staring at your breasts and stressing out about how much milk is coming out can actually make you pump less milk. Instead, close your eyes and imagine you are a giant fountain in a town square with water shooting out of your nipples into the air. Watch the town folk smiling as the milk falls onto their faces and the kids run screaming through your personal sprinkler.
If you have a job then you are going to have to go back to it sooner or later. Probably sooner. But you can keep right on pumping at your normal intervals because the law says so and the handsfree pumping bra you bought or made can keep you right on going. Talk to your boss before you even go on maternity leave so that you have your pumping schedule set up for when you come back.
13. Do Lunges
You can get in a full workout here! Do lunges or squats or pump some iron. There is nothing you are going to want to do more after pushing a baby out of your vagina, recovering from a c-section, not sleeping for days on end, not showering, breastfeeding around the clock and being pooped on than getting up and working on that postpartum body!
14. Make lists for people
Make a grocery list, a Target list, a chore list, basically any list you can think of and anyone who steps foot into your house gets to choose which list they want to leave with. Remember to tell them to make it snappy. If they come back within 2 hours they can hold the baby.
15. Massage your breasts
You can pump more milk by doing breast massages. Stroke your breasts all the way around starting from the chest to your nipple using your fingertips. Then you can cup each breast one at a time in a “c” hold then press gently. Follow these steps to pump up to 50% more milk!
Don’t be afraid to lean into those feelings of new motherhood. They can be scary and dark. This is a major transition! You are now responsible for another very fragile and vulnerable life. That can shake even the strongest woman to her core. Don’t be afraid to talk about it or ask for help. We have all been there.
17. Talk to yourself
Tell yourself you will be ok. Say things to yourself like, “I can do this,” “I am good enough,” “I can handle this situation.” Most stress in life comes from deep rooted core beliefs that are created in childhood. We can manage the feelings that these core beliefs bring up by talking back to them with positive “I” statements.
18. Ask for help
We live in a society that values independence. It’s hard to ask for help and to accept help when it is offered. Consider pushing through those uncomfortable feelings and asking for help when you feel like you need it. And when someone is offering help try to accept it even if it makes you feel vulnerable. People really do want to help.