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7 Essential Breast Pumping Tips for New Moms

Pumping breast milk is not going to be easy for the first few months but it’s definitely going to be rewarding. The experience varies from person to person.

In my case, using a breast pump was a nightmare when I had my first baby. Fortunately enough, I became more patient, learned from my mistakes, and taught myself some clever hacks off the internet when I conceived for the second time.

Breast pumping tips for new moms

Sure, breastfeeding classes can offer a lot of useful insights, but you won’t know what will work best for you until your baby arrives. As a mother of two babies and a working parent, I think I’m qualified to offer some practical tips on pumping and storing breast milk that’ll make your life easier.

Without anymore beating around the bush, here are 7 must-know breast pumping tips for all the expecting and new mamas out there:

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1. Perfect Your Timing

Timing is everything when you are trying to master the art and science of breast pumping. Many lactation experts suggest starting the process early in the morning because your milk supply is the highest during the early hours for most women.

Some get a high volume if they pump from one side while breastfeeding from the other. Similarly, many moms get a greater milk yield by pumping an hour after feeding.

Try both methods for 1-2 weeks to figure out what works best for you.

While nursing my 2nd baby for the first time, I had to feed my son from both sides as the milk supply from one side wasn’t adequate for him. However, the supply increased in a week or so. After that, feeding from one side and pumping from one full side wasn’t a problem anymore. The simultaneous suction made let-down easier as the act of nursing produces breast milk-triggering hormones.

2. Fix the Duration of Pumping Sessions

Your breast milk flow supply is going to take 4 to 6 weeks to get established. Once you successfully kickstart your let-down, you can start modifying the pumping duration as per your need and comfort.

For your first breast pumping session, you should ideally express for 15 minutes or more. If you are naturally wired to have your let down early, you might have to pump for maximum 8-10 minutes in the following days. My let downs triggered a bit late, so it always took me 15-20 minutes to empty my breasts.

To determine the ideal pumping duration, you need to carefully observe your milk flow pattern and number of let downs. A fool-proof method to do that is to observe how long it takes before the milk squirts into the container.

Also, note the time of your highest milk yield during the session.

Most importantly, don’t forget that each woman has a unique flow rate. So don’t panic if you can’t yield a large amount of milk in the first few attempts. Your body needs time to adjust the flow to your schedule.

Hey, mama! Trying to learn the ins and outs of pumping before heading back to work? Our readers are CRAZY about the Ultimate Back to Work Pumping Class by Milkology. It’s less than $20 and guaranteed to boost your pumping game. Or, if you’re an exclusively pumping mama, check out the new Ultimate Exclusive Pumping Class.

3. Find the Right Equipment

The key to painlessly pump enough milk for your baby’s needs is to invest in an equipment that suits your lifestyle.

For example, double electric breast pumps are great for working moms. It will let you stash a large volume in a short time which is a huge relief if you work late hours. If you are going to pump in the office or travel with the pumping kit, make sure the pump is quiet, lightweight and portable too.

Mothers with a low milk supply will benefit the most from pumps featuring 2-Phase Expression Technology. These specialized pumps mimic the sucking behavior of babies to trigger faster let-downs and stimulate milk supply.

4. The Importance of Massage

Massaging the breasts or applying a warm compress are two legit ways to improve milk flow rate and volume. It’s hard to tell what kind of massage will work out for you since everyone’s body is different.

Just to be safe, try massaging your breasts for 1-3 minutes before pumping and see how it goes. In the following week, massage while pumping if your breast pump kit comes with hands-free accessories to hold the flanges in places.

Many lactation experts suggest the “massage, stroke and shake” method. Alternatively, you can also try massaging your breasts in circular motion to stimulate the production.

7 Easy Breast Pumping Tips for New Moms

5. Skin-to-Skin

Skin-to-skin contact tells your body that your baby is hungry, so it’s time to get him some grub. Jokes aside, skin contact with your baby is scientifically proven to stimulate breast milk-producing hormones i.e oxytocin and prolactin.

If you are a working mom who doesn’t get to hold the baby while pumping on weekdays, try the weekends. Put on a sling or babywearing wrap while breastfeeding from one side and pumping from another. The extra stimulation it gives can lead to a quicker let down and also boost the milk production.

6. Follow a Pumping Routine

Stress can be one of the biggest roadblocks to both manual expression and breast pumping. That’s why you need to relax and make yourself comfortable before you begin the session.

Start by finding a quiet and nursing-friendly place for the task.

To laser-focus on pumping, you can also put on some relaxing music or practice mindfulness techniques. A lot of women find thinking about their babies, looking at their photos or videos very helpful. Due to our brain-body connection, the visual and audible cues of the babies establish can effectively speed up the let-down.

7. Store the Milk in Small Batches

Mothers are over-feeders by default. We can pump a gallon of milk and still think it’s not enough. But in reality, babies have tiny tummies which can only fit so much. Instead of storing the milk in large 4-6 Oz. bags, I’d suggest preparing small batches of 1-2 Oz.

Ask your caregiver to respond to the baby’s hunger cues and feed small servings frequently. This will not only reduce milk waste but also improve the child’s digestion.

Breast Pumping Tips for New Moms: The Bottom Line

So that was a list of things you can do to make breast pumping a little less intimidating.

Pumping is a physically-taxing activity, which is why some new moms can feel unusually sleepy or hungry during the first few weeks. Don’t forget to give your body adequate rest and nourishment. Also, if pumping is constantly causing severe discomfort, you might be using ill-fitting flanges and wrong pressure setting. Invest in flanges/ breast shields that fit your nipples properly, start from the lowest pump setting and crank it up gradually over time.

That’s all for these breast pumping tips for new moms. I hope these pumping tips help you as much as they helped me back in my days.

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