Ever since I started dropping pump sessions, I have been taking forever to empty. I used to pump for about 30 minutes each session, and now, I am noticing that I have to pump until at least 40 to 45 minutes in order to get the same output that I got previously with just 30 minutes. This is really really frustrating. Sometimes, I end up staying connected to my breast pump for an entire hour. This is supposed to be fairly common unfortunately: I’d read about this happening for a lot of women in my Facebook pumping mamas group, plus my Cleo lactation consultant says this is normal, as well. This is not necessarily the end of the world, as because my pump is battery operated, I do not need to be stuck to a wall. I can actually move about the apartment, and most of the time while I am pumping, I am playing with my baby on the floor. But it is definitely not convenient to have bottles stuck and connected to my nipples. I cannot do exactly everything that I could be doing without the pump connected because of this. On top of that, my total time connected to a pump is actually longer now than it was when I was doing seven pumps per day. This was not how I was envisioning pumping at five times per day, which is what I am currently at. Plus, in just a couple of short weeks, I am going back to work. Granted, I am lucky in that I am not going back into an office, and that instead, I am going to be working from home at my desk in the second bedroom, so I can still pump while I am at home without being forced to go into a tiny, windowless and soulless pumping room for moms. However, I do not necessarily want to be pumping milk during all of my meetings. I am planning to block out my calendar twice during the workday to pump milk, and so during that time, I will not be doing any video meetings or external meetings. But I was originally envisioning that my pumping breaks would only be 30 minutes. It’s not a big deal for me to be connected to a pump while I am outside of work hours, but this can get really annoying once I am actually doing work meetings again. And I already do all of the things that have been recommended to me to empty faster: I do breast compressions. I apply heat. I massage my breasts before I pump. I have played around with the settings to see what else can empty me faster, but I was already doing that, anyway.
This is annoying, but this still beats pumping seven times per day, every three hours during the day and every four hours at night. I have to wash my pump parts two times less than I did previously. My output per pump is a lot higher now, which makes pumping feel a lot more gratifying now. I am going to get through this.