According to research, over 40% of women go back to work three months after giving birth. Some babies also take a longer time to master breastfeeding. As a result, mothers often need to use the breast pumping technique to extract milk and provide infants with essential nutrients.
Expressing milk with a breast pump is the most reliable and hygienic method of milk extraction. Still, the process can be challenging and frustrating, especially if you are a new mom. This frustration can then prompt you to opt for formula feeding, which has fewer benefits than breastfeeding.
However, learning what to expect during the pumping process can ease the stress and help you express milk within a short time.
Here we discuss seven breast pumping tips that every new mother should know.
1. Prepare Adequately
The key to easy breast pumping is knowing what to expect during the process. Hence, if you plan to start expressing milk, read books and articles on how to breast pump. This step will prepare you mentally and allow you to create a convenient schedule.
You need to know about the different types of breast pumps available before buying one. Further, consider specific features such as the pump’s weight, portability, and noise level. Doing this will allow you to go for a gadget that is suitable for your lifestyle and needs.
For instance, as a working mom, you may benefit from a double electric pump since it is fast. On the other hand, if you have a low milk supply, a pump with phase sucking technology is ideal. If you are not sure which breast pump is suitable for you, read this blog for more details on various models.
2. Set a Pumping Schedule
The time you select for breast pumping can determine the duration taken for the entire process and affect the amount of milk you release. In most cases, experts advise lactating mothers to pump early in the morning, when the milk supply is highest.
Still, since milk flow takes about four weeks to stabilize, you should try pumping during different times. This measure will allow you to assess your milk flow pattern and determine when your breasts have more milk.
You can use this information to create a pumping schedule, assigning at least 30 minutes to each session. However, always ensure that the timing you select is convenient to avoid clashing with other activities.
3. Pump as You Breastfeed
While some mothers find it easy to extract milk, some experience issues adjusting to the routine. Ideally, it should take about 10 to 15 minutes to pump a sufficient amount of breast milk. Nevertheless, new mothers often take more than 30 minutes, especially after exclusive breastfeeding.
This duration can reduce with time as the body gets used to the process. However, if you still need more time after using a pump for several weeks, consider feeding your child on one breast and pumping the other.
As your baby nurses, they will stimulate your body to produce oxytocin. This hormone will then trigger your breasts to release milk, allowing you to express it within a short time.
4. Massage Your Breasts
Massaging your breasts before pumping can help you stimulate production glands. This stimulation will then increase the flow of milk and allow you to have a faster letdown. You will also be able to drain your milk ducts fully and prevent breast engorgement.
When massaging breasts during the pumping session, consider wearing a hands-free bra. This will allow you to use both hands for more impact. The ideal massage technique is to gently squeeze your breast from the armpit and work your way towards the nipples.
If the milk let down reduces, you can also place a warm cloth on the surface to increase flow. However, ensure that the fabric is clean and light to prevent infection and discomfort.
5. Store Pumped Milk in Separate Containers
One of the crucial tips for breast pumping is storing the expressed milk in different containers. It’s also advisable to avoid mixing the pumped milk with frozen one. Instead, place the new batch in the fridge and allow it to cool before transfer to prevent the growth of bacteria.
If your baby feeds about four times a day, you can use containers of about 2-4 ounces for storage. Preserving the milk in measured quantities can help you to regulate your child’s consumption and improve digestion. It will also ease work for your kid’s caregiver and prevent wastage.
6. Have Several Pumping Equipment
When pumping breast milk, ensure you have at least two sets of clean flanges. If you have a busy schedule, consider connecting one of the shields to the pump in advance. Besides, always clean the storage containers before you start expressing to save time.
You should also confirm that the flanges are the proper size as the wrong one could affect milk output. The ideal way to test if they are the right fit is by making sure they cover only a small part of the areola.
The inner surface should also not rub your nipples as this can increase sensitivity and cause discomfort.
7. Care for Your Skin
The friction from frequent pumping can cause cracked nipples even if your flanges fit. So, it is vital to take care of the skin on your breast to prevent irritation.
Some of the methods you can use are:
- Only cleaning your breast with water when bathing
- Patting the nipple with a dry cloth after expressing
- Changing your nursing pads often
- Wearing nursing bras made of breathable material like cotton
Another way to care for your breast when pumping is using nipple care products like natural creams, shields, and hydrogel pads. Aside from that, consider wearing breast shells to protect your nipple and areola from cloth friction.
Enjoy the Best Breast Pumping Experience
Breast pumping can be a fun and effortless process if done correctly. By applying these tips, you can express milk in a shorter period and with little to no discomfort.
You can also identify what you have been doing wrong and rectify it to continue enjoying motherhood. If you would like more helpful tips on lifestyle and parenting, browse this page to check out more content.