Each and every mother has a different experience of breast pumping than the next. While some can pump several times a day without a problem, others may only be able to do it once in a while. While some mothers may be able to get by without having to use a breast pump, others don’t have a choice as they return back to work.
The one thing that all mothers seem to have in common is that they don’t enjoy the breast pumping part of motherhood. While breast pumping will never be on the top of the list of things new moms want to do, it doesn’t always have to be a frustrating time. Here are 10 breast pumping tips for new moms to make the process a little more bearable.
10 Easy Breast Pumping Tips For New Moms
Know Your Pump
Before the baby comes, you need to be prepared for a lot of things. Your breast pump is one of them. It’s important that you rent or buy a hospital-grade pump that suits your needs as a nursing mother.
One thing you should avoid doing is borrowing a used pump from a friend. Breast pumps are designed to work at full strength for approximately one year. After time the motor decreases and they won’t be as effective. Another reason to avoid sharing is that there is a high risk of bacteria contamination.
Stock Up Before You Need To
If you know ahead of time when you are going back to work then the breast pumping experience will be a lot easier for you if you start pumping extra milk ahead of time. It is best to do this in between your baby’s feedings.
When your breasts are full of milk then your body won’t produce as much because it doesn’t think that your baby needs it. If you start pumping in between feedings then your body will produce more milk so you won’t have to worry about running out.
Related: How to Produce More Breastmilk
Pump and Breastfeed At The Same Time
If your baby only drinks out of one breast you can try to pump the other breast while they feed. This trick has helped a lot of new moms be able to produce more milk for their baby.
Use your baby as your cue for when to breastfeed. Often when babies prefer to drink only out of one breast they get hungry again more frequently. It’s okay to feed them, it should only take a couple of days for your body to get used to this schedule and produce more milk as needed.
Extra Equipment Is A Must
If you plan to breast pump on the go then it’s a good idea to have extra flanges with you. Extra flanges are usually sold separately from the breast pump. Before buying them it’s important that you check and get the right sizes. You should also test them out a few times at home to make sure they are sufficient.
When new moms go back to work they often find that if they have a breast pump already assembled that they can make the most of their break time spent pumping.
Get A Routine Going
To get your body into the habit of breast pumping you should start a routine. Follow a set of steps every time you pump. Your body will start to get used to these actions and take it as the sign to start producing more milk.
You can do simple things to relax before you pump that your body will get used to. Whether it’s putting on a soothing song, watching a video of your baby, or sitting down with an herbal tea. Pick whatever makes you comfortable and your body will begin to pick up on it.
Massages Make It Better
Don’t neglect your breasts. Go ahead and give them a good massage. Massaging the firm areas of your breast actually helps to release milk. Always massage your breasts for a couple of minutes before putting the flanges on. If that doesn’t get you the amount of milk you need then try to massage them while pumping to release more.
Pump Them Both
Earlier we mentioned that some mothers have a lot of luck if they pump while feeding their baby. Another way to make pumping easier for new moms is to pump both breasts at the same time. When both breasts are pumped together the pituitary gland is able to release more of the hormone prolactin, which helps to produce more milk.
A hands-free pumping bra can be extremely helpful for pumping both breasts together.
Short And Sweet
Most new moms have better luck with their breast pumping experience if they schedule pumping breaks. They do this by pumping for roughly 15 – 20 minutes on their baby’s feeding schedule. If your baby drinks every 3 hours, then you should get in the habit of scheduling a pumping break in to match. Once your baby gets introduced to more foods you won’t have to schedule these breaks as often.
When you do a pumping break you should always continue pumping for an additional 2 – 5 minutes to make sure you get your breast as fully drained as possible.
Divide Your Milk
To make sure that none of your milk is going to waste once your baby is with the caregiver, you should freeze it in smaller portions. If you divide your milk into 1 – 2 ounce portions before freezing then it will be easier for the caretaker to feed the baby what they need.
Always discuss your baby’s feeding habits with the caregiver to get an idea of what feeding schedule the baby is on when in their hands. It can help you determine how much milk they need while you’re away and also opens up room for you to make suggestions.
Keep On Feeding!
Last, but definitely not least, you should continue breastfeeding as often as possible. If you’re away from your baby during the day at work, then it’s important to feed them as often as you can when you’re together. If you feel like your supply may be dropping then it is a good idea to take a couple of days off and focus on feeding your baby.
There is also the option to reverse-feed the baby. This means that you can feed them as often as they will eat during the night time so the next day when they are with their caregiver they won’t require as many feedings. Although some mothers have found that this leaves their supply on the dry side.