Returning to work – How I built my BM stash

I am full time working mom and I have returned work after 2 months of giving birth to my son though I was CS. Just in case, I needed to go home. I used the 2 weeks to practice my baby cup feeding the breast milk stash that I built before I went back to work. For those 2 weeks, I did not go home since my baby and his caregiver adjusted quite well.

I am proud to say I have exclusively breastfeed (EBF) my baby for 3 years even though I am a full time working mom with a stressful work. I expressed milk at work until my son was 2 years old.  Now, I just feed him at night or when I am around him. EBF meant my son have not tasted formula milk at anytime and for the first 6 months of his life, all he drank was breast milk and not even water. I introduced solid food on his 6 month.

Breast feeding is a default, exclusively breast feeding for 6 months until weaning is a mindset. I made the decision to EBF when I got the right information by attending a breastfeeding class when pregnant with my caregiver/yaya. Like every working mom’s concern, I want to learn how to feed my baby when I went back to work or when I am away from my baby.

First set a target output. How much breast milk (BM) does your baby need in a day?

Breast milk consumption is based on weight of baby with this formula, baby needs breast milk of 150ml/kg/day. 30ml is approximately equal to 1 oz, hence, 5oz./kg/day. But remember each baby is different from the other. So how does the equation work 5 oz. per kilo per day (5oz./kg./day)? First, get the weight of your baby, example, your baby weighs 4kg. so he will need 5 oz. x 4 kg = 20 oz. in a day. Count the number of feedings, example 10x a day so about 2 oz. in each feeding. Some use the rule, 1 oz per hour. example for my baby when he was 9 months, he weighed 8.2Kg so 8.2Kg x 5 oz.= 41 oz. so he may need about about 1.7 oz per hour. If he feeds every 2 hours he needs about 3.4 oz. When I am way for 10 hours from my last feed then he may consume about 17 oz. But since he is eating now, he just consumes about 12-15 oz. from 6:30am to 6:30pm or 12 hours. Hence, the 1 oz. to 1.5 oz. per hour rule works.

So when you build your stash count the hours you will be away from your baby. But start small or short hours away from baby. At 6 weeks your breast milk output will stabilize so it is the suggested time to pump. However, if you are planning to go back to work at 8 weeks, then better start pumping at 4-5 weeks so you can slowly build your stash. Some recommend that start pumping at 6 weeks which I did. However, if you want to build a huge stash, meaning you will be away for a longer time or want to donate, it is ok to pump after 1 month of direct feeding but it’s recommended to pump after 6 weeks when your supply becomes steady.

Breast Milk and feeding cup. Practice being away to slowly build my stash. On my 6 weeks I started pumping milk using my Medela Base Manual pump.

Second – choose how to express – hand, manual, single electric or double electric pump.

For working moms especially those who are busy or have stressful jobs, better invest on a heavy duty double electric breast pump. I used Medela Base Manual pump in the first 3 months of me going back to work, then I got tired and acquired Medela Freestyle double electric pump. It is a bit pricey but it is very reliable and it has a service center at Medela House. Imagine if your breast pump gets busted in future, how will you pump? Medela House loans pump if your pump it not repaired right away. That is why it is good that I still keep my manual pump just in case my electric pump it out of service or no electricity in the future. But there are many brands out there just chose wisely by researching its performance and also asking from others who used them. Some working mom do hand expression, I really recommend to learn how to do it. Hand expression has no cost and if you get is right, you maximize and empty your breast very well more than any electric pump will do.

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Third -begin small and slowly build up your stash

The key is practice and don’t expect too much. Your first pump, you may only express about 5-10ml or 0.3oz. That is ok. Should you pump before you feed or after you feed your baby? I suggest, before you feed when you breast is full but not engorged or too hard as it maybe be painful for you, expression milk should not be painful. My first pumping session where I used Medela Base Manual pump, I pumped after I fed my baby and I got so small and later I notice I have a tinged of blood. So it was a shocking experience, I do not recommend it. Pump for a least 5 minutes only.

First plan to go out for 2 hours. So pump every 2-3 hours with a target of 2 oz. to 4 oz. of breast milk.

Second – Think of you baby and your ability to produce. Don’t self-doubt that you can produce.  If you are not producing, get professional help from lactation consultant to address your concerns.

Three – breast milk handling, storage and feeding means cooler or ref and cup feeding.

Use the 5-5-5 rule in breast milk storage:  5 hours in room temperature, 5 days in the ref or more if placed in chiller. and 5 weeks if you freeze the BM.

Feed your baby with expressed milk using a small cup.  let your baby lap or use her/his touch to drink the milk and later, your baby will learn to drink from a cup.

Four – Best tools for you

You may express using your hand, manual pump, and single or double electric pump. Also, consider using nursing bra and breastfeeding clothes for each access but discreet. You may consider using nursing covers.  I used Medela Base Pump for 3 months but got tired and taking so much time so I upgraded to Medela Freestyle double electric pump. I also use the Sweetpea nursingwear but I made a Do-it-yourself (DIY) breastfeeding clothes to save and be fashionable and using available ready to wear clothes but I made some alterations.

Five – Support in the Office with RA 10028

Inform and enlist the support of your office including your boss, HR and colleagues that you decided to ebf and you will need pumping breaks as prescribed in RA 10028. As per RA 10028, a lactating mother is given a 40mins to express milk  per 8 hours of work.  These 40 minutes are paid. And if you need more time just talk to your HR and boss and work something out.  Express your desire that your focus is your daughter. If you show that your priority is your family, your baby and not work, they will adjust their expectations.  Be a good mom first and then be a good employee so work hard when at work.

Six – Slowly build your stash, express when engorged and when baby is not feeding and you feel full.

Expressing milk anyway you can before going to work. remember 1 ounce equals to 1 hour of feeding baby. So if you will leave for a few hours, make sure the number of hours away from baby is the number of ounces you have in you ref.  Example if you will go to out for 4 hours, make sure you have 4 ounces of milk at home. Then express at least once ore twice when you are out to replenish the ones consumed by baby.

Seven – Keep a strict schedule at work. Express every 2-3 hours not more than 5 hours.

Express every 2-3 hours. If you arrive early at work, express for 15mins. Then express during break time like 10am , lunch time at 12pm. at afternoon break time at 3pm and at 530pm or before leaving work. The goal is express at least 2 ounces to 5 ounces in each time. So if you express 4x a day and get 3 ounces each time then you will bring home 12 ounces of milk which is enough to feed your baby the next day. The first milk expression of the day is usually the largest amount then as the day goes on, the express milk gets less and less but don’t fret.  Just look at how much you bring home each day. I was able to express 3 ounces on each breast so 6 ounces each time so I bring home an average of 24-30 ounces each day. I donate the extra milk I get each week.  I just make sure I have 40 ounces each week.

Eight – Law of supply and demand.  The more you express effectively, the more your breast will produce. If you express less, your breast will express less.  And directly feed your baby when you are around.


Pumping Technique That Maximized BM Output

I would like to share my pumping technique where I was able to maximized my breast milk output using Medela Base manual pump and Medela Freestyle double electric pump.

Before I purchased my breast pump, I researched first, what breast pump are highly recommended? All reviews said that chose a breast pump that mimics how baby suckle from breast. So far from reviews, its Medela breast pump that are highly recommended. I chose Medela brand for its after sales services and comes with 2 year warranty with accessible service center at Medela House where I had my breastfeeding classes and other mommy trainings and seminars.

I really wanted Medela Freestyle double electric pump but I can not afford it since I had high risked pregnancy and I stopped working for 8 months. I opted to buy the Medela Base manual pump, where the regular price is at Php 1,800. 5166a
But I got mine for a Mommy Mundo bazaar with 500 pesos off. Medela Base manual pump have adjustable suction level. After 3 months using the Medela Base manual pump, I was able to acquire the Medela Freestyle with the help of my boss who gave me cash advance that I can pay for 3 months.
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Before using a pump, read the instruction/manual of the pump but I highly recommend attending a breast feeding seminar or research on-line or read books on breast feeding and understand how the breast work. click here for more info. Learn how to store milk and feed BM to your baby. Click here for suggestion for freezing milk. But for me, I don’t like freezing as I just put my stash in chiller using milk storage bottles since I don’t like thawing frozen milk and I donate my extra BM. Also, my baby is cup fed to avoid nipple confusion and he prefers chilled BM than the thawed BM.
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2 Phases of Expression

Whether you use manual or electric pump, keep in mind, that pumping should mimic how babies suckle. As per Medela’s research studies, there are 2 phases of expression, first phase of expression is stimulation or fast and short sucking. Since it’s stimulation, it takes time for the BM to come out. Hence, wait for your breast to be stimulated. Once, the breast is stimulated to let-down breast milk then you move to the second phase of expression is the let-down phase or slow and long sucking, this is when the BM flows freely.


Babies suckle using vacuum, and their tongue to “press” the boob. When your baby is directly feeding on you try to notice these two phases, the fast sucking and the slow sucking. The breast milk is release through vacuum suction, whether the baby sucks or your pump suck, it’s the vacuum that work to draw out milk. So when you pump be sure you have vacuum then stimulate your breast with fast pumping motion and when the BM comes out pump with slow and long just like a let-down. With Freestyle, stimulation is about 1 minute and 5 seconds of fast suction. The ideally, it is better to pump with double electric to maximize milk production and milk ejection-reflex. Click here for more info.

Painless – Right Size of Breast Shields

Breastfeeding and pumping should be painless so when its painful then something is wrong with your latch or when your pumping breast shield size is incorrect. The shield is the bell/horn shape part of the breast pump that touches your breast. When you buy a Medela pump, make sure you get a breast shield fitting to know what shield is more comfy for you. I use size 24 however there is a pinching pain that is why I just use level 5 where my average BM output is 4.5oz. I did have a shield fitting where my size is 27 on the right and size 30 on the left, there is no pinching pain at level 9 however, I’m only getting 1 oz. hence, I went back to using my size 24 and just use level 5 suction. But my case is different so its best to have a shield fitting when you buy so that your breast will get use to it. I got used to my size 24 shield so maybe that is why I get 4.5 oz. in one pumping session plus I learned the pumping technique that gives me this much output.

Pumping Technique That Maximized BM Output

So when you start using your pump, make sure that your nipple is at the center of the shield. See to it that you created a vacuum between your pump and your breast. Also, I read that, strong suction does not mean BM will come out strong. Too strong suction can tear your breast tissue. That is why I bought the Medela Base Manual Pump where I can adjust the suction level depending on what is comfy for me and what level the BM will come out. So with manual pump fast and short motion until the milk squirts a lot, then, pump with long and slow motion for the let-down phase. With Medela Freestyle you can see in the LCD screen the level of suction and after 70seconds or more it will automatically shift to let-down suction. Also Medela Freestyle you can store the suction level that you like. Level 9 mimics the suction strength of babies but for me, I can only tolerate level 5 and it is the level that the BM comes out. When I go to higher levels the BM stops from coming out. Once you see that only drops are coming out in the slow and long suction, go back to stimulation phase with fast and short suction. When the BM is squirting you can go to let-down phase or slow and long suction.

Ideally pumping time is 10-15 minutes but with Medela freestyle you can go as long as 20 minutes. My rule is when I am pumping and no more is coming out and I went back to stimulation twice, trice or 4X already, I stop pumping when I know that I have emptied my breast even if I just pumped for 10 or 15 minutes.

After pumping for 5 to 10 minutes and you just got less than an ounce of BM even when you are engorge or you feel your breast is not emptied. Stop pumping. Take a deep breath and relax. Massage your breast from outer edge going to the center. Use your middle and ring finger tips, massage your breast with a circle motion, start from the outer edge to the center. Don’t be too hard on your breast, massage just enough to soften the hard parts. Then pump again. Make sure that you place the shield in the center but when you pump and don’t feel the suction, remove and put shield back. Also, when you start pumping and you feel that the “sweets spots” are not being drained, remove and put the shield back. You can check your sweets spots by pressing boob while pumping and the milk squirts. You can press that portion then transfer when there is no more milk coming out. For Medela Freestyle, I always check the membrane assembly if the vacuum and suction is optimal. The yellow membrane should not touch the outer plastic that the tubing is connected. When it happens, I remove the tubing and put it back or I re-clip the back cap to improve the suction. Hold the shield between your thumb and fingers, like cupping your breast. Also, giving the breast a lift can help the expression.

pumped at work

Keep your pumping schedule of 2-3 hours even if your breast are not engorged. I learned that even soft breast can produced the same amount as an engorged breast. Again, don’t wait for your boobs to be engorged to pump. It is more difficult to pump with engorge breast because sometimes the vacuum is not optimal that you have to massage to soften the breast.


I learned that right vacuum and get on to the “sweet spots” of your breast is where you can maximize your BM output. Hence, get to know your breast, by knowing pressing points or areas where milk will flow when you pump. Also, remember the feeling in your breast and nipple when you have a let-down or milk are flowing and the sweet spots are pressed. Let your pumping sessions be a learning on how to milk yourself.

Latch and Supplementation

Breast milk output is dictated by supply and demand. Hence, your baby needs to learn how to properly latch so that your milk demand is steady and your body will supply the demand. But make sure your raw materials are high quality too. Eat right. Just like a car, you need proper maintenance, you don’t put water at your gas tank. Hence, eat a balance diet that has all the nutrients you body needs. Not all of us have the same required micronutrients. Some have anemia so they need iron, some need vitamin B for energy. It is best to ask your doctor who can run some test which micronutrient you need some boosting.

Most breast feeding moms take supplements to increase breastmilk, click here for more info.

Eating a balance diet can be tricky that is why I supplement with high quality organic vitamins and minerals. I take Nutrilite Double X multivitamins that gives me extra energy being a working and breastfeeding mom. When I took Double X out BM output increased from 2.5 to 4.5oz in each pumping session. Also, I take Nutrilite iron folic plus, Nutrilite Cal Mag D, Nutrilite Omega 3. If you want to know more about Nutrilite or want to order click here., just leave a message I will be happy to explain more about Nutrilite.

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I Make Milk – Latch, Pump And Supplement but Prayer works

I make milk.

Yes, my baby is exclusively breastfed since birth up until now that he is turning 9 months.

I make enough milk for my baby and donate some. Yes, I had low milk supply at 3 months and after 1 month, I overcame and now I have abundant milk supply.

Here are my journey and secrets in my abundant milk supply.

Attend a breastfeeding seminar.

This is what I learned, first and foremost, you need to have the right breastfeeding knowledge to learn the benefits of breast milk to decide for your yourself that you will exclusively breastfeed your baby. Learn proper latching as milk is dictated by law of supply and demand. If your baby do not suckle properly and empty your breast because of poor latching, your milk supply will go low. Also, your baby will learn to latch over time. Around 6 weeks when your milk supply will stabilize, meaning your body has adjusted demand of your baby and your supply will adjust accordingly. If you are working mom and decided to exclusively breastfeed, you must learn ways to expressing milk to feed your baby while you are away, proper infant feeding when you are away, like cup feeding to avoid nipple confusion. Learn proper storage of expressed milk and its shelf life to minimize contamination and risk for your baby. Be sure to take care of yourself by getting good nutrition, adequate fluid, and lots of rest and managing stress.

Highly recommend to attend a breastfeeding class since information will be presented in cohesive and organized manner. All you questions and problems maybe discussed there and saves you the worry and stress in managing your breastfeeding challenges. If you do not have time, make time. If it’s costly, attend free seminars.

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I joined breast feeding club under Ms. Abbie Yabot a LLL leader and attended 3 classes on breast feeding at 2 hours each class meeting once a month at Medala House. I was properly equipped in the seminar and I got materials that I can review when I need to recall some info in bf. If you are to breastfeed for the next 6 months to 2 years and breastfeeding is 24/7 then a 6 hours to learn is basics to weaning is a good investment. Also it was here that I was inspired to donate milk and support other mothers who may need help in breastfeeding their babies.

Unang yakap to initiate breast milk production at birth.

At birth of my son, my pediatrician established skin to skin or “unang yakap”. Since I was CS, my OB made sure that there is no retained placenta. These two helped to initiate milk production. So I had no problem breastfeeding and also my pediatrician see to it that my baby was properly latch and I was given instruction on breastfeeding and infant care before discharge from the hospital.

Belief and confidence on yourself that you have enough milk for you baby. Be positive to naturally produce prolactin and oxytocin, they are naturally occurring chemicals in our human body to produce milk.

After 1 week of from discharge from the hospital my baby gained weight. My pediatrician who is also my “Ate”, was very happy because of weight gain of 150 grams with exclusive breastfeeding. And baby gained weight each month and weighed more than what is the mean for his age.

At 6 weeks, I bought a Medela manual pump since I was returning to work in 2 weeks. I did the drill to build my stash for baby to consume while I was a work. The rule for feeding milk to baby is 1 oz. per hour. I left baby for 2 hours but I left 2 oz. of breast milk for baby. Then, I left for 4 hours and pump at 2 hours while I was away so that I bring home bm for baby. Then I left for 6 hours and pumping every 2 hours. then finally I left for 8 hours. This exercise helped my care giver or “yaya” feed my baby with the cup feeding. I chose cup feeding to avoid nipple confusion for my baby. Cup feeding is giving breast milk in a cup where baby needs to lap with his tongue, a mammal or a dogs laps for water. Lapping has the same movement of tongue as suckling thus, exercises the jaws too.

I returned work on November 18, 2014 and I was manually pumping at work every 2-3 hours. I was happy, I was able to take home about 12.5 oz to 15 oz. of breast milk. My baby only consumes 10-12 oz. per day. I had extra so I donated some to Medela house and they bring them to PGH, PCMC and Fabella hospital who has a Human milk bank.

What to eat and galactagogues?

The National Institute of Nutrition recommends that breastfeeding mums take iron, folic and calcium supplements. You may also need supplements of vitamin A, zinc, vitamin B12 and vitamin C.

It would be best to speak to your doctor before taking any vitamin supplements. If you do take supplements, bear in mind that it can’t make up for poor eating habits. It is also important to eat a well-balanced, varied diet. Sourced at click here.

I learned from seminars and reading articles and books on increasing breast milk, that there is no proven effective galactagogues or breast milk increasing food or supplements. Some are effective to some and some are not affective to others. As per Prolacta, they are selling malunggay capsule. They said they have not found the exact compound found in malunggay that helps produce more milk. but Malunggay has multivitamins with high in iron.

With the thought, I made sure I was eating right and I had good nutrition that is why I supplement using my pre-natal vitamins. I take Nutrilite organic vitamins and supplements. I was talking Nutrilite Daily multivitamins, Nutrilite Iron Folic Plus, Nutrilite Cal Mag D and Nutrilite Omega 3. Nutrilite comes with 90 days money back guarantee so if you want to try you can order here.

My breast feeding challenges:

My baby is is tongue-tied. Breastfeeding him at first was painful but I had high tolerance of pain so I survived but I end up buying nipple cream to help ease the soreness.

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Pumping in the office

After 2 months of manually pumping I was getting tired and it was taking too much time from my work. Our office do not have a lactation station but I asked permission from accounting department to allow me to use a corner in their office for me to manually pump breast milk.

At 3 months, I experience a low milk supply and after a month, I overcame and now I have an abundant milk supply.

What happened and what did I do?

This is what happened to me at my third month of breastfeeding and pumping, I ran out of Nutrilite Daily multivitamins and I did not buy because I wanted to shift to Nutrilite Double X, the multivitamins I was taking before I got pregnant and during my high risk pregnancy to give me extra energy since I was a working mom. Nutrilite Double X multivitamins have the right amount of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that is maybe why I have abundant milk supply though I don’t consider them as galactagogues but I learned that all galactagogues have are usually multivitamins with high iron content, some have vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene, iron, calcium and vitamins and minerals, manganese, oils and fiber. All of which are available in Nutrilite click here for more info.

But, Nutrilite Double X ran out of stock and I waited for the new stock. As I wait, my supply went low, as I was pumping about 0.5 oz. of breast milk every 2-3 hours but I usually get 2.5 to 3 oz. before. I was not getting engorged and I was not leaking when baby is latching.

The Pump

I checked parts of my pump, there was a tear in the membrane so I ordered the parts. But still my output was low. I learned to massage my breast to produce more while manually pumping. I was bringing home about 5-7.5 oz of milk.

Wet Nurse & Prayer

But Praise God because there is a nursing mother in our neighborhood that became my baby’s wet nurse. And to make the situation worse, I had to attend an overnight planning session with our couples D group. I took the leap of faith of say yes in attending and I was not sure if can build my stash since I was producing less than what baby consumes. I ask for prayers from my D group that my breast milk output will increase.


I took recommended galactagogues. I ordered online lactation cookies and treats for 2 months. I bought Lifeoil (Malunggay oil). But I was still taking Iron Folic plus and Cal Mag D. Finally a few days before the planning session, I was able to order Nutrilite Double X.





I asked my nursing neighbor to breastfeed my baby at the end of the day so I can build a stash but it was not enough for an overnight away from baby. We went to the planning session and my prayers were answered. My abundant supply came back. I was getting engorged. I had to say, that I put God first whether my prayer will be answered. When God saw that I trusted Him to provide for my baby and for Him to answered my prayers, for me to learn faith in practice. I thank God that He blessed my efforts to make milk. And my baby learned proper latching as he can stimulate my breast as I experience milk ejection reflex.


This is what I learned from all my experiences of low supply of milk to abundant milk supply, before I was pumping around 2.5 to 3 oz. per session now, its 4.5 to 5 oz. per session.

1) Prayer works. God will bless my efforts to increase milk supply. Also, I now use Medela Freestyle double electric pump. My boss gave me cash advance which I paid in 3 months. but the bigger answered prayer was I got a salary increase after 3 months returning from my maternity leave of 8 months. Only God can orchestrate that.
2) Baby needs to learn proper latch. I had lots of milk before to the point my baby do not need to suckle hard. Then my milk supply stabilized that baby needs to stimulate milk production through proper latch.
3) Rest, do not try to do it all. Ask help from family members. Catch up on sleep so body can repair and recuperate. Breastfeeding means breast milk production. You are a machine that needs proper maintenance to properly work.
4) Good nutrition but with my busyness I do not eat right and with Nutrilite, the high quality organic supplement, I am sure I get balance nutrition and extra energy that I need to thrive as wife, mother, nursing mom and working mom.

Thus, I make milk, abundantly.