A proper pump is essential for pumping your breast milk. It allows you to produce enough milk for your baby to drink while you’re away from them and to maintain your supply if breastfeeding isn’t possible. This is particularly helpful if you’re planning on being away from your baby for any length of time, like for work or school.
1. Use a comfortable pump setting that imitates your baby’s sucking patterns (48-60 times per minute). Strong suction can damage your nipple and reduce milk production.
2. Choose a flange fit that feels right to you and increases the amount of milk you can make at each feeding. There are many different flange sizes and mothers should try several before buying.
3. Keep the parts of your pump clean and sanitized between uses to keep it in good working order. If your pump has a nozzle or tubing, use an antibacterial wipe to clean the part before using it again.
4. Double-pumping is a great way to increase the amount of milk you can produce. It’s also a great way to save time as you don’t have to pump each breast separately.
5. Having a warm compress and gentle breast massage before and after your pumping session can help increase the amount of milk you’re able to produce. This helps stimulate milk flow and can encourage you to pump more often.
6. Keeping your mind on your baby while you pump can also be beneficial. Focusing on a picture of your baby or singing a song about them can help you relax and increase the amount of milk you’re expressing.
7. Having a good pumping schedule can help you maximize the amount of milk you can make during a single feeding and over the course of a day or week. It’s best to space your pumping sessions evenly throughout the day, but some parents might want to vary their schedule slightly depending on how much time they have available and what their needs are.
8. Consider taking a break from pumping during the middle of a feeding to allow your body to rest and recover. This can allow your milk to “let-down” a little easier and allow you to nurse your baby more easily as well.
9. Ensure you have a portable container or storage bag to store your pumped milk. This will make it easier for you to take your milk with you on trips and keep it cool when you’re not near a refrigerator.
10. A sock or mitten covering the collection bottle can be an effective tool for some mothers who find the volume of milk collected stressful. This is especially useful if you’re trying to pump more frequently as it can make you feel less anxious.
Getting help from an IBCLC can also be extremely beneficial as they can provide expert support and encouragement during your pumping journey. Whether you’re a first-time pumper or an experienced one, they can offer advice on the equipment you need and can give you tips for maintaining an even keel as you pump.