Top Pumping Tips
I have been an IBCLC now for over 10 years and one thing I have learned is that exclusively pumping moms are true heroes. I usually put them in the same category of wonder as twin moms because they literally are doing the job of feeding two babies (a pump and also their baby!). Over the years I've helped countless pumping moms but have also learned so much from them.
No matter if you are an exclusive pumper or an occasional one I wanted to share some of the top pumping tips that I hope will make your life easier!
1. If you are planning on pumping regularly (more than once a day) then please buy a second complete set of pumping parts (bottles, flanges, valves etc). This way if one set needs washing you don't have to scramble to clean them prior to pumping. I know they are costly but I swear it's worth it!
2. Speaking of washing pump parts, you do NOT have to wash them after every pumping session! Think about how breastmilk, due to its natural antibacterial nature, is good at room temperature after pumping for 4 hours and in the fridge for 4 days. So go ahead and pop your pumping parts into a large freezer sized ziploc bag and put them into the fridge after you pump and reuse them! Wash them all up at the end of each day and start fresh every 24 hours.
3. Try to change your mindframe around pumping times. Instead of dreading and stressing over pumping sessions use this time for you! Do something that you enjoy also, read a book, watch a show, take this time to slow things down a bit and relax, even try meditating if you can!
4. Try different pumping flanges. We are not all built the same so why should the same flange fit everyone? There is some emerging evidence that smaller flanges might actually work better for some moms! So...try a couple of sizes and compare what is the most comfortable and gives you the highest output!
5. Don't obsess over your output. This is easier said than done especially when you are dealing with low supply but know that staring at those single drops can cause you stress and anxiety which will NOT help your supply in the long-run. My suggestion is to cover the bottles with clean socks while pumping so you can avoid the anxiety while pumping and focus on relaxing.
6. Spend 5 min after every pumping session to do some hand expression into the flanges. You will be amazed at how much more milk you can remove by doing this consistently and the extra breast stimulation can help boost your supply.
7. Make sure you're comfortable and have snacks and drinks readily available! I think we can all agree that a snack is never a bad idea and who's ever sat down to pump and then wished they had used the bathroom first!
8. Remember why you are doing this. Hold this love in your heart and know that worthwhile things are not always easy. Breastmilk is not all or nothing. Each drop contains more than one million white blood cells that contain antibodies to help babies fight infection and disease. So let's celebrate even those single drops!