5 IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BREAST PUMPING .
Breast pumping is inevitable for a lot of moms. There are a couple of instances where a mom may need to rely on pumping for breastmilk.
- Working moms may need to rely on pumping when they return back to work
- Some moms need to pump because their baby has trouble latching.
- Unresolved tongue or lip tie
- Mom in not available to feed her little , commitments , illness, etc
- Personal choice : exclusively pumping.
PUMPING !!! How hard can it be right? Unfortunately, it took a lot of trials and errors for me to be able realise what worked and what didn’t. Pumping can be very stressful, and worse if your supply drops. It is normal to find yourself worrying about your output because unlike direct breastfeeding, with pumping you can see how many ounces of breast milk you produce from each pumping session .
I wasn’t a fan of pumping at first and I seriously struggled with finding a routine that worked.
‘Oh i needed to find a different sized flange? i couldn’t just assume that the one that came with the pumping machine is my size? interesting (haha) .
I had no idea and i was totally sore from using the wrong sized flange. Thankfully, after this post, you don’t have to. I eventually got a hang of it and it was no longer a nightmare.
Pumping for breast milk may seem unsettling at first, with all the tubes and suction, gosh! But once you learn all you can about it, it definitely gets easier .
Important things you need to know about pumping
1.INVEST IN A GOOD QUALITY PUMP
A good quality pump might be expensive, but it will hold up well with constant use. You definitely need a quality pump that can withstand the pressure from multiple hours of pumping everyday for months .
It has to be one with excellent suction that can empty the breast properly. This is really Important to enable you keep a good stash of breast milk in your fridge if you want to, and it also prevents breast engorgement. (This happens when the breast is painfully overfull with milk).
A few of my favourites are;
- The Medela Pump in style ; it has been around for a long time and it is tried and true
- The Willow Pump.
- The Spectra (s1 and spectra s2)
- Medela free style flex
- The Medela symphony
- Motif luna
It is also good idea to also have a backup pump. I recommend having a cheap manual breast pump for emergencies.
Hopefully you wouldn’t need it but if you do need it, its best to have one to fall back to.
2.STICK TO A PUMPING SCHEDLUE
This is important because regularly removing milk from your breast helps establish and maintain your milk supply. Try not to miss sessions, because that means you are telling your body that you don’t need as much milk anymore and this may make your supply drop over time.
Also regularly missing pumping sessions can cause a clogged milk duct or mastitis.
Try to stick to your schedule as much as you can. It is ok if you miss a pumping session every now and then, just get back on track.
If possible, schedule your pumping sessions around the same time as your baby’s typical feeding time.
This is ideal to keep your milk production on track. Learn from my mistake ; i got tired of pumping a lot especially at night, and i skipped pumping sessions. Believe me it was such a struggle trying to regain my supply.
If it is not possible to stick to a schedule, just try as much as you can to pump the same number of times as actual feedings .
To get most milk you should pick a time to pump when your milk supply is most abundant. For most moms that will be in the early morning hours.
If you are not exclusively pumping you can always switch to breast feeding during times when you are with your little one.
3.THE IMPORTANCE OF A CORRECT FLANGE FIT
I struggled a lot with this because somehow i ended up getting a flange too tight or too big.
I initially used the flange that came with my breast pump and that was such a bad idea as it wasn’t the right fit.
Pumping with the correct size breast shield is essential to avoid nipple pain and maximise milk supply.
You can also explore the option of getting a silicone flange instead of the regular plastic ones. Not getting the right fit can have serious impact on milk flow, a tight flange can cause blisters and that is absolutely no fun at all.
You will need to reevaluate your breast shield size if you find that one or more of the following are happening while you’re pumping:
- Your nipple is rubbing the sides of the breast shield tunnel to the point of causing discomfort.
- You see excessive areola being pulled into the breast shield tunnel.
- You have redness on or at the base of the nipple during and/or after pumping.
- Your nipples or areola are turning white during and/or after pumping.
- Your breasts still feel full after pumping.
4.PICK A COMFORTABLE POSITION AND DISTRACT YOURSELF.
Relaxation is key when pumping.
Pick a position and location that allows you to feel relaxed. reading a book or listening to music while pumping can make you less tensed or anxious . This helps a lot with milk output.
A good handsfree pumping bra is certainly a great investment, it’ll make the hours upon hours that you spend pumping easier.
Before I started using my handsfree bra, I spent every pumping session holding the breast shields in place. After I got a handsfree bra, it was amazing. I could totally use my hands to do anything while still pumping .
Life changing !!!
5.LIMIT PUMPING TO 20 MINUTES PER SESSION
When i first I started pumping i pumped for a longer periods of time because i was trying so hard to keep a staggering freezer supply. This was such a bad idea because it caused a lot of pain and clogs .
Pumping is a different mechanism than breastfeeding and too much of it can cause pressure and a lot of pain. It is best to limit pumping sessions to 20 minutes.
Do you have other important tips about breast pumping? let me know in the comments below.