Pumping. It’s a task that many mothers have a love/hate relationship with. It may have even led to some awkward situations with friends or in the office. I remember one time my pumping session took too long and ran straight into a coffee that I was having with a friend. She knocked on the door and there I was with pumps attached to my breasts! Luckily she had breastfed and pumped her own babies, so she had no problems with it and laughed with me about it.
Many situations can arise that call for a need for pumping. You may be headed back to work. You may want to give your partner the chance to feed. Or your baby may have a medical condition requiring bottle feeding or may have difficulty latching to the breast.
Whether you’re new to the pumping game or just looking for a few tips, this post will help you become a pumping rock star!
Tips for Pumping
- Pumping in the Hospital: If your baby is unable to latch at birth or you want to begin bottle feeding right away, ensure that you start pumping at the hospital. You’ll want every drop of colostrum (the first breastmilk) to feed your baby. Ask your nurse for bags or bottles to fill with breastmilk and for a refrigerator to store the milk. The earlier you begin pumping the better your supply will be. If you are able to start pumping in the hospital you can even make an appointment with the lactation consultant to get expert advice on pumping and breastfeeding. If you don’t already have a pump upon arrival at the hospital your nurse can likely provide you a hospital grade pump for use during your stay. The hospital may also have pumps to rent and take home.
- Buying a Pump: If you plan to pump after your baby arrives, it’s best to purchase your pump before the birth. Most insurance companies will pay for a pump but check with your insurance for which kinds it will cover. Some medical grade pumps are not covered. Many moms love the Medela pumps, especially the dual pumps that allow you to pump both breasts at once. However there are some new pumps coming on the market that are really changing the way moms pump. The Willow is a hands-free pump with two separate units that are concealable under your bra. Moms can actually get things done without pumps hanging off of their breasts! Willow seems to be changing the world of pumping just like the BlueSmart mia is changing bottle feeding!
- When to Pump: For most moms, breast milk supply peaks in the early hours of the morning. So it’s best to pump straight after waking, if possible. This will also boost your supply for the day, letting your body know that it needs to provide milk. Then, maintain a pumping schedule that reflects your baby’s feeding schedule. This will allow your body to produce enough for your baby to consume throughout the day. If you’re pumping and also breastfeeding, you should pump 15 or so minutes before your baby’s feeding.
- How Long to Pump: You shouldn’t pump longer than 15 minutes in a session. Pumping is faster than breastfeeding because the pump sucks continuously. So you really shouldn’t need longer than 15 minutes.
- How to Pump More Milk: There are many tips to help you pump more milk in a session.
- Massage: You can massage your breasts before pumping to allow the milk to flow more quickly.
- Hot shower: If you have the ability, take a quick hot shower before pumping. Hot water will help your milk to flow.
- Picture or Video of Baby: To help your milk flow look at a picture of your baby or watch a video. You can even call your child’s caregiver or daycare and hear your child coo and babble. This will help your hormones to work and release your milk.
- Relax: Find a relaxing place to pump. This may not be so easy if you’re at work, but do your best to make your surroundings relaxing. If you have a pumping room at work, try bringing an essential oils diffuser in the room. Turn on some nice music, bring a magazine or book. And make sure you know your room is a private space. Worrying about people coming in will not help you to relax.
We hope these few tips will help you in your pumping journey! Have you been pumping for a while? We’d love to hear your tips and tricks to make pumping easier!