Breastfeeding and pumping breast milk
Sometimes when expressing breast milk, you might feel a bit like a cow that’s being milked…but remember that you are doing such a wonderful thing for baby. Read more on the benefits of breast milk
Breastfeeding and pumping ~ Why pump?
Reasons why a mom might want to pump her breast milk
- Moms who are returning to work will need to pump in order to store milk during the times when she is not available to breastfeed baby
- Mom can pump extra breast milk for times when she needs a break or if her husband or other family members would like to feed baby. This is
great because mom can get some rest while dad has some bonding time with baby.
- Pumping can be used as a way of increasing breast milk production if your milk supply is low.
- Pumping can be used by moms who want to induce lactation so that they can breastfeed their adopted babies.
- Mom can relieve engorgement pain with pumping to relieve some pressure
- If mom needs to temporarily wean she will need to pump
- Some moms prefer not to breastfeed in public and then use expressed milk on outings.
Breastfeeding and pumping ~ Tips on pumping breast milk
How to start pumping breast milk & breast pumping tips
- First find a breast pump suitable for your specific pumping needs
- Make sure you are comfortable and relaxed. Relaxing will help the milk flow.
- Be gentle while working with your breasts. Make sure that the suctioning speed and level are comfortable as not to hurt your nipples or breast tissue.
- Make sure that the breast cup fits your specific breast size. If they are too small they might restrict the flow of milk.
- If your milk takes a while to start flowing you can think of baby while you pump or keep baby nearby so that you can look at him or sing to him…this brings on the hormone oxytocin which help with let down. Be patient, it can take quite a while…especially in the beginning.
- How many ounces of breast milk should I be pumping? There is no specific time period that you need to pump, and there is no specific amount of milk that you need to express during a pumping session…everyone is different. The average time spent expressing is between 30 – 45 minutes.
- A breast pump can be kept in the fridge for later use during the day, but should always be sterilized with hot water and soap at least once per day.
- Read more here on safe breast milk storage tips and guidelines
- Get yourself a different breast pump if you are having trouble pumping. Sometimes it’s best to use an electric hospital grade breast pump if your main objective is to increase milk supply.
- Pumping both breasts at the same time can help with saving time and can help increase milk flow.
- Read tips on exclusive pumping (pumping without breastfeeding)
- Make sure that your nipple is in the middle of the shield before pumping, if it is not you will have trouble getting the milk out and it will probably cause sore nipples too.
When should I start expressing?
If possible it's best not to express breast milk until your breast milk supply is fully established. If you are worried about nipple confusion you can read more on feeding baby with alternative feeding methods.
It is always best to first breastfeed before you pump, this is so that your baby can stimulate your breasts as much as possible (the pump can never work as well as a baby’s sucking)
If you are having trouble introducing the bottle you can read more on our page “from breast to bottle”
Breastfeeding and pumping ~ Pumping to increase breast milk supply
Tips when pumping milk to increase supply
- How often can I pump breast milk? Should I have a breast pumping schedule? Pump as often as possible. Make sure you pump at least every time baby feeds
- Avoid giving baby any other supplements
- Eat well and drink lots of fluids
- Finding a galactagogue that works for you
What about pumping instead of breastfeeding?
Pumping does not stimulate a mother's breasts as well as a baby does and therefore her milk supply might drop a lot if she only pumps, but exclusive pumping is possible and has been done successfully by many moms. Read more on exclusive breastmilk pumping
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The Breast Crawl ~ Watch a baby crawl to the breast on their own immediately after birth!