When it comes to feeding your child, returning to the workplace and transitioning daily care to a childcare provider, there is no right way. The same can be said for pumping. While many choose to pump – for any number of common reasons – the practice may vary in its level of ease for mothers. For most women, however, practice makes perfect and regular pumping often leads to more satisfying results.
We recently overviewed some pumping basics, including which method of pumping is the right method for you and how to select the right pump. Now, we’re providing you with some additional tips and tricks to ease the process of pumping.
Knowing when to pump is just as important as knowing how to pump. If you pump too soon postpartum, you may not have as much expressed milk as necessary. If you don’t pump frequently enough your production of milk may decline. It’s a balance of timing and production and the best way to find that sweet spot is by documenting it. Keeping a log of when your baby eats and your pumping schedule can help determine the times that work best for your family.
Timing also changes depending on whether you are breastfeeding in addition to pumping, or if you are pumping exclusively. If you are pumping while breastfeeding, pumping thirty minutes to one hour after nursing or an hour before nursing works well, as there is typically plenty of milk for both sessions. Women who are pumping can often pump up to ten times per day, but each body is different. Find out what works best for mom and baby.
If you are not producing enough milk, it’s possible that you could be dehydrated. You lose a lot of water during breastfeeding and milk production increases your water loss. It’s vital to your health, and to your pumping results, to drink fluids throughout the day.
Tip: Always drink eight to ten glasses of water per day but also remember that soups, fruits and vegetable juice are other great ways to include fluids in your diet.
Find a Relaxing Spot to Pump
Being at work, missing your child and trying to pump can be stressful and sometimes makes it hard to get into pumping. Do all you can to find a calm space where you can literally “let go”. When you are relaxed and calm your body will begin to letdown your milk.
Sometimes dimming the lights or focusing on something in the room helps. Some women like to look at a photo or video of their baby to initiate the letdown and start the flow. Whatever your happy spot is, try to get there to make the process go smoother with better results.
Keep It Clean
Be sure the pump and your hands are clean. Most manuals come with cleaning instructions for all parts of the pump to ensure that everything stays as clean as possible. Check out this great resource from the CDC for information on breast pump cleaning.
Ask for Help
You should never feel guilty if breastfeeding or pumping isn’t going according to plan. Don’t feel defeated and don’t give up. Getting a working system between you and your baby might take time and practice to get right. Sometimes, just when you think you’ve got it, something minor changes and you feel like you’re starting over. That’s okay. Feel free to call us to speak with a lactation consultant to help figure out or get started with the pumping process. The sooner you feel comfortable pumping, the sooner it is that you and your baby can get on the path to an enjoyable breastfeeding experience.
We offer a lot of valuable resources for breastfeeding mothers. With classes to support groups (day and evening options) we want to be sure your breastfeeding needs and questions are covered. Burdett’s Back to Work/School/Life Program covers pumping tips and tricks, as well as instruction on maximizing efficiency and managing supply changes, storing and warming pumped milk and feeding the breastfed baby a bottle.
Our support groups are free and open to the community at large, and registration is not required. Parents may drop in any time, and stay as long as they like. Siblings are also welcome to attend. Please click here to learn more or give us a call at (518) 271-3393 for more information!