The first thing to understand with pumping is it is based on supply and demand so frequency is the most important. Increasing the amount of times in a 24 hour period is more important than increasing the time of a single pump session. Creating a pump routine will be important for your body to get accustomed. Keeping a healthy diet and staying hydrated is also important to maintaining a healthy milk supply. Using warm compress or vibration can help stimulate your letdown when initiating milk supply.
Establish a Routine
The biggest thing with pumping is as a mom you are already taking care of your baby with feeding and diaper changes, so when adding in pumping sessions you can tend to space them out. Unfortunately, in order to maintain supply it is all about supply and demand. Removing milk from the breast every 2-3 hours is crucial. You have a protein in your milk called FIL and when it is present it signals to the brain you do not need more milk, but when you empty it signals to the brain to produce more. Setting alarms and having a good easy set up will be very helpful.
-Set alarms for pumping every 2-3 hours
-Sit down for 15-30 minutes with a hands free set up to pump
-Have a snack, phone, water nearby to pass the time away
-Quickly wash off the parts and let air dry
-Have a milk storage set up to quickly store in the fridge or freezer
Get familiar with your breast pump
Did you know you can get a pump free through insurance?…. Click here to see if you qualify today. Once you have your pump taking it out of the box and setting it up will come in handy for when it is time to use it. Reading your breast pump manual will help you be best prepared when it is time for use. Make sure to follow any instructions on washing parts ahead of time. Check out this flange sizing guide to make sure you have the proper sizing. Making sure you are in the right flange size can really affect your pumping journey. When it is too small it can constrict your milk ducts preventing proper flow and when it is too big it can not empty you efficiently leading to clogged ducts and mastitis. Understanding the settings on your pump and vacuum strength vs cycle speed will help you get the most milk in less time.
Go hands free
Breast compression and hands on pumping is so important when it comes to pumping. Having a hands free pumping bra will allow you to have your hands free for breast compression. If you need more flow or help with a let down other than breast compression, warm compress, vibration, trying to relax as much as possible, and switching back to letdown mode can help. It can be helpful to take a warm shower before you pump if you are able to, but if not a warm compress of any kind will do the trick. Having a battery pump option can also be great when needing to walk around the house or get up to get something.
Establishing your pump routine, getting familiar with your breast pump, and having a great hands free setup can not only make your pumping journey easier but allows for more milk in less time. If you have further questions on pumping do not hesitate to reach out to our lactation team for an appointment.