The Best Breast Pumping Tips New Mommies Should Know
Breast pumping is something many women choose to or need to do in order to feed their babies the liquid gold known as breast milk. While pumping is effortless for some (lucky) mothers, it can be complicated and difficult for many others, especially new mommies and women who have never used a breast pump before.
If you belong in one of these two categories, there’s nothing to worry about – pumping is an activity that has to be learned and adjusted to. For that reason, we’ll tell you how to choose and use a breast pump, how often to pump, how much milk you should be pumping, and how to store it safely.
We included some more essential tips new mommies should know for easier and more successful pumping, so let the best breast pumping tips begin!
Choose the Right Breast Pump
There are many different breast pumps on the marke
t and it’s essential that you choose the right one for more effective and effortless pumping. There are two main categories to choose from: electric
We’d suggest that you choose an electric one if you plan to pump exclusively or more than once a day. The electric pump will take care of everything, the only thing you’ll need to do is adjust the suction levels and relax.
On the other hand, if you switch between nursing and pumping or if you rarely pump, a manual one is a great option. It’s more affordable and more convenient to carry it around, so think twice before going shopping.
Another important thing is to choose the right breast shield size, depending not on the size of your breasts but rather the size of your nipples. Most breast pumps have different shield sizes, so if you feel pain or discomfort while pumping it may be because you are using the incorrect size.
Buy a Pumping Bra
Breast pumping can be a boring activity, not to mention somewhat difficult since you have to hold the pump and squeeze it at the same time if you’re using a manual one, and sometimes even use both hands as well. This is where a pumping bra can help, especially if you plan to pump regularly.
Pumping bras, otherwise known as hands-free bras, allow you to pump without using your hands. This way you can multitask, hold your baby, watch a movie on your tablet, use your smartphone, hold a book, or simply let go and relax. It saves you time and makes the pumping process easier – a great tool that can help new mommies have a more pleasant pumping experience.
Get Yourself Relaxed and Comfortable
This is crucial for a successful pumping since the more comfortable and relaxed you are, the more milk will you manage to express. While pumping, the feel-good hormone known as oxytocin is released in your body. This hormone is responsible for how much milk your body produces, so the more oxytocin is released the more milk is released as well.
For this reason, find a quiet and distraction-free place in your home, at work, or wherever you are. Sit on a comfortable couch or chair, play some relaxing music or whatever else that calms you down, even dim the lights or light a candle if possible. If you’re using a pumping bra, which we highly recommend, you can even read a book or hold your baby if that’s what lowers your stress levels.
Even though it may not seem like it, being comfortable, relaxed, and stress-free while pumping is crucial for expressing a larger amount of breast milk and having an enjoyable pumping experience, so try to follow this advice.
Use a Nipple Cream
Whether you exclusively breastfeed, exclusively pump, or switch between both – it’s pretty common to experience discomfort when it comes to the nipples. Both breastfeeding and pumping are activities that require some getting used to, so especially in the beginning, the nipples can become sore and even chapped and cause you discomfort for weeks.
This is why you should be prepared and get yourself a good nipple cream
to help them heal. Make sure to look for creams with natural and organic ingredients in case you forget to remove it before nursing or pumping.
Also, check if you’re using the correct breast shield size since as we already said, the wrong size can be the cause of this soreness and discomfort.
If you’re in serious pain, however, or if your nipples begin to bleed, visit your doctor to make sure that it’s not because of an infection or mastitis.
Watch Videos from Your Baby to Stimulate Milk Production
Do you think you’re not expressing as much milk as you should? Even if you’re very comfortable and relaxed? There’s one other thing you can do to stimulate milk production and that’s…looking at, hearing, or smelling your baby!
We already said that the feel-good hormone known as oxytocin is responsible for how much milk your body produces, so the higher the oxytocin levels the more milk will your body produce. So, besides being comfortable and stress-free, another thing that activates oxytocin is your baby and his/her smell.
While pumping, you can hold your little one, watch some videos or photos of your baby, or even smell his/her clothes or listen to your precious one’s coos. Many mothers say that this works like a charm, so give it a try if you want to express more milk.
Stick to a Schedule
When breast pumping, especially when you do it exclusively, it’s very important to make a pumping schedule and stick to it. Having a pumping routine will help you to express more milk and prevent some issues like clogged ducts.
So, think about how often you should pump and how long your sessions are, when the best times to pump are, create a pumping schedule, and stick to it. Not sure about how much and how often to do it? Let’s see if we can help.
How Much Should You Pump
Obviously, since we don’t know you we can’t tell you exactly how much and how often to breast pump, that depends on you, your baby, your milk supply, and your personal schedule. We can, however, give you some suggestions if you don’t know where to start.
If you’re pumping exclusively and have a newborn, you should do it from at least 7 up to 10 times in 24 hours. If you have an older baby, up to 6 times in 24 hours is enough. Remember, mornings are the best
So, how long should each pumping session be? This depends on the effectiveness of your pump and your milk supply as well. We’d say from around 10 to 20 minutes if you use a double pump, and around 30 minutes if you pump each breast separately.
If you switch between pumping and nursing, it’s best to pump around 1 hour before or after your baby breastfeeds.
Store Breast Milk Safely
Firstly, use special containers and label each one so everyone knows it’s breast milk. Make sure to store only freshly pumped milk, especially if you want to keep it for longer periods of time.
If at room temperature, fresh breast milk can last for up to 5 hours, less if the place is warmer.
If you want to refrigerate it, it’ll be good for up to 5 days, but only if it’s in the back of the refrigerator and NOT in the door compartment.
If in the freezer of the refrigerator, it can last for up to 4 months, but if you store it in the back of a deep freezer, you can keep it for up to 1 year. That being said, it’s also recommended that you keep it for up to 6 months.
Breast pumping can be very difficult in the beginning, but know that it’ll get easier over time. We hope our advice will make this experience more pleasant, especially if you’re a new mommy. Make sure to stay hydrated, massage your breasts, and follow our tips and you’ll be pumping with ease in no time!