Pumping Breast Milk

pumping breast milk, bottle feeding

Remember that breast pumping output does not indicate whether you have enough breast milk or not. A baby will always remove more breast milk than a breast pump.

Pumping while breastfeeding can be a challenge, but it does get easier as you practice. When pumping breast milk, the main things to look out for are relaxation, hydration, and nutrition. Other than these,  here are a few tips that will make pumping a little easier…

Pumping Tips

  • Make sure you are using a pump that suits your specific pumping needs. 
  • If you have let down problems while pumping breast milk, you can look at your baby or baby picture while pumping, this helps the flow of hormones, which will help with the flow of your milk.
  • Always lubricate the breast pump parts with a little lanolin or olive oil, this will make pumping more comfortable and will help the pump draw in more of the breast.
  • Relax while pumping. Milk is more easily released while a mother is relaxed. Get a comfortable spot, without interruptions.
  • Always place the breast shields center, so that your nipples are not damaged. You should not feel any pain while pumping.
  • Massage your breasts just before pumping and use a warm compress or warm shower to get your milk flowing.
  • Always begin pumping on a lower setting (slower suction). Never use the pump on a speed level that hurts your breast, as this could harm your breasts and decrease the amount of milk that is expressed.
  • Ensure that you have the right size breast flange for your breast size. Your milk output will increase with the right size flange.
  • You can make pumping breast milk a whole lot easier if you have a hands free pumping system.
  • Drink enough water. When your body is hydrated, it can produce breast milk in abundance.
  • A power pumping boot camp

Pumping Tips for Working Mothers

  • You should start pumping milk a few weeks before you return to work, this will allow you to build a backup supply of milk.
  • Most working mothers find that they keep their milk supply up easier when using an electric, double action breast pump.
  • It’s always best to keep a pumping schedule so that your body becomes accustomed to pumping times.

Pumping Breast Milk to Increase Supply

    Will pumping increase milk supply? Yes, any extra stimulation to the breast will increase supply as long as it does not replace the baby’s suckling; pumping should be done between feedings.

If pumping is the only means of increasing supply, the mother will need to pump more often.

  • Pump more frequently, rather than more extended periods at a time.
  • Do not skip a session of pumping.
  • Comfort nursing (non-nutritive feeding) is excellent for helping to increase supply.
  • Pumping both breasts at once has been found to help release more hormones during pumping, therefore, increasing milk output at each session. There are special double breast pump sets available for this purpose.
  • Pump at least every two hours or less.
  • Pumping one breast while breastfeeding, can help with milk flow too.
  • Herbs that can be combined with pumping to increase milk supply.
  • Using breast compression while pumping and breastfeeding, will help you drain the breast. 
  • Many wonderful lactogenic foods can help to increase your milk supply naturally. 
  • If you are pumping exclusively, you may want to consider using Galactagogues or Domperidone

Cleaning your Breast Pump

  • You will need to clean your breast pump with hot, soapy water and make sure you clean inside any crevices.
  • You do not need to boil or steam your breast pump parts.

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