Breastfeeding is one of the most wonderful things that you can do for your baby if you are abe too.
There are times in our lives when its not always possible for you to be there to feed your baby. So what do you do?
It’s not an option to leave your baby to starve, so then the next best thing for your baby is to consider pumping your breast milk.
If you have never pumped before then it might sound a little scary to you and that’s ok because we all have to start somewhere.
In order for your journey to be a successful one, I have put together some pumping breast milk tips to help you along the way.
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13 Pumping breast milk tips to start your journey with
1. Prepare mentally for it
The first hurdle when it comes to pumping is the mental challenge.
You might be full of enthusiasm to begin with but that can quickly start to flag as postpartum exhaustion begins to set in and life takes over.
Make sure that you are well prepared and remember the reason why you are doing it.
Have it in your mind that there is no other option so that you don’t start to make excuses for yourself at those low points.
Believe me, there will be low points. Pumping is definitely not the easiest route to take so be prepared for that.
2. Build up your supply
Making sure that your milk supply is well established will help you immensely.
After all, you can’t pump milk if you don’t have a good supply going already.
Here are a few things that you can do to make sure that your milk supply is flowing really well before you begin to start pumping.
If you don’t do this pumping will become incredibly difficult and you will quit due to frustration.
Here’s how to boost your milk supply:
- Make sure your baby is feeding regularly
- Be sure to switch breasts at each feed
- Make sure you stay hydrated
- Eat the right foods
- Make sure you are rested
- Feed your baby at the breast as much as they want it
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3. Choose the right breast pump
There are lots of different breast pumps out there on the market and they really do vary in price range.
The two most obvious options that you will come across is whether you want a manual or an electric breast pump.
Manual breast pumps make you do all the hard work. You simply place the pump over your breast and pump the handle using your hand. This basically acts in a similar way to how a baby would sucking at your breast.
An electronic pump is usually a little higher priced but there is a lot less work involved in the process.
With electric pumps, the machine does all the pumping action for you. You only need to hold the bottle in place as it pumps. The settings can also be adjusted to make sure that it is not uncomfortable for you in any way.
Which is better? That depends on your needs. If you want to be regularly feeding because perhaps you are going back to work then an electric pump will be best. Using a manual pump in this situation could prove to be a bit too labor-intensive.
Here are some popular breast pumps that you can consider:
As with anything you must practice. Practice always makes perfect.
If when you start to pump you are not seeing much results then you may just need to give it a little more time.
If you have already given it time and still feel like progress is not being made then it might be time to get some professional help with it.
Thankfully there is a brilliant course by Milkology which covers all aspects of pumping including how to master your milk supply, safe milk storage and how to introduce a bottle. It very fairly priced and will save you tons of tears (I’m talking about you, not the baby) and frustration.
5. Consider manual pumping
Sometimes no matter how hard you try trying to pump milk with a machine your body just won’t let you.
Another option is to pump manually using your hands. This is not really a great solution if you need to pump regularly but it could help to kick start things if you are struggling with a breast pump.
Pumping by hand is actually incredibly easy to do once you get the hang of it.
Consider this if maybe money is tight at the moment or you need more time to get used to using a breast pump.
6. Make sure you are sitting comfortably
This might sound basic but it is important. If you are not comfortably seated you won’t want to sit for long enough to build up a stash of milk.
Before you start pumping make sure that you are sitting comfortably and that you have everything that you need around you.
You may need some water, the remote if you are watching tv while pumping or maybe even some snacks.
Consider investing in a glider chair for maximum comfort whilst pumping and feeding
7. Don’t be in a rush
You need time to pump your breastmilk so the worst time to start pumping is when you are in a rush to go and do something else.
Only pump when you have enough time in your day to spare.
8. Know the best time to start pumping
The best time to start pumping your breast milk is first thing in the morning.
The mornings are when everything is nice and fresh. You are well (or at least hopefully) rested from sleep, and your milk should be ready and waiting.
Hopefully, you are less likely to be stressed out at this time of the day so your milk should flow easier.
Get yourself into a routine where you have time to pump early enough to take full advantage.
9. Build up your stock
Building up a stock supply of milk is really important because pumping only when your baby needs to feed kind of defeats the purpose.
Also doing it this way could mean having to pump under pressure. Nothing good can come from that.
The idea behind pumping your breastmilk in advance is to make sure that you have enough supply for your baby to feed from for a period of time if you are absent
You might want to consider pumping a week or 2 weeks in advance for your baby.
Just keep in mind that your baby has periods of growth spurts along the way so could go through a supply quicker than you thought.
Always keep an eye on how much milk you have stored away in the freezer.
10. Pump whilst breastfeeding
Some people like to pump their breast milk whilst breastfeeding their baby.
If your milk has not yet settled then this is another great reason to do it.
In the early stages of breastfeeding your milk supply is quite unbalanced and you might have excess flow which is why some people wear breast pads.
In order not to waste that milk by letting it just leak away. You can pump at the same time as you are feeding your baby. Much like feeding twins simultaneously.
Even after your milk settles and becomes a supply and demand situation you can still continue to pump in this way.
It can actually make it easier for you to pump as your brain will automatically let the milk flow as you watch your baby feeding.
11. Build a pumping routine
The sooner you get yourself into a routine when it comes to pumping your milk the easier it will make things for you.
Pumping sporadically could lead to you missing sessions and running out of stored milk.
Getting yourself into a routine makes it easier to remember. Very much like how your baby feeds.
Your body will learn to have the milk ready at those times of the day. This is a great little tip if you are struggling with milk production.
12. Consider pumping simultaneously
When you sit down for a pumping session you don’t need to do one breast at a time, you can actually do both breasts simultaneously.
This will save you tons of time.
You will need to make sure that the breast pump that you have purchased allows you to do this and that you have the right equipment for it.
13. Breastfeed as much as you can
The more you breastfeed your baby the more milk that you should have ready to breastfeed.
Your body is very clever and will soon get into a routine of producing the amount of milk that your baby needs.
This is why when some moms go back to work their milk supply can start to decrease.
You can counteract that by feeding your baby at the breast at all possible opportunities when you are at home.
How much milk should I be pumping?
This is quite a difficult question to answer because a lot of it will depend on the age and weight of your baby.
Every baby that you have will feed differently so it would be unfair to have a number of oz’s in mind.
Just note that in the first few weeks of breastfeeding not much milk will be produced but this will increase over time as your baby begins to grow.
Your baby’s stomach is only this size of a walnut when they are first born (source)
Final thoughts on pumping breast milk
These pumping breast milk tips should set you off to a great start in your pumping journey.
If you have tried it before and failed you can always try again or try with your next baby, either way, I would highly recommend you take the breastfeeding pumping course by Milkolgy here. It really is great.