When it comes to breastfeeding and pumping, there's a definite learning curve for any first-time mom. It can be awkward at first, to say the least. I mean, have you ever had a machine (or another person for that matter) hooked up to your boobs forcing liquid out before? Neither had I. And as unpleasant as that sounds, breastfeeding — and pumping, if you let it — can actually be one of the most amazing things you'll do as a mom. To help you get over said learning curve though, there are some invaluable pumping tips for nursing moms that you shouldn't miss out on.

Whether you're new to the pumping scene, or are just in need of a few pro-tips to help up your supply, you're in the right place. I'll just come out and say it — pumping isn't the greatest. It can be stressful and exhausting, especially if you're also nursing. Balancing a schedule, maintaining your supply, and trying to establish some form of self-care can be a lot to handle. But it is totally manageable with a little bit of preparation, scheduling and (wait for it) relaxation. No matter your goals for pumping and nursing, it's ultimately the best thing you can do for your baby, so don't sweat the small stuff and get to pumping!

1. Know Your Plan For Pumping


Are you pumping just to supplement when you can't be with your baby? Are you pumping and working a full time job outside the home? Knowing what your "pumping goals" are will help you better establish a schedule.

2. Set A Schedule


Your body produces milk best when it's on a schedule. Decide when you're going to pump and when you're going to breastfeed and stick with it.

3. Invest In A Quality Pump


A quality pump will not only save you the worry of it malfunctioning or breaking, but will be sure to help you expel the most milk in the least amount of time.

4. Relax


When it's pumping time, make sure you're in an environment you can relax in. If you're at work, go somewhere private. Looking at a photo of your baby can also help stimulate the let-down reflex, if you're having trouble producing milk while you're away from baby.

5. Pump In Between Feedings


If you pump right after breastfeeding your baby, your supply probably will be too low to get any real amount from pumping. Try to schedule some times in between feedings where you can pump for even a few minutes.

6. Pump Both Breasts At Once


Most women claim that pumping both sides at once yields the most amount of milk in half the amount of time.

7. Pump For Shorter Times, More Frequently


The La Leche League suggests pumping for shorter periods of time (10-15 minutes) more often during the day. This can help you pump more milk in each sitting and increase your supply.

8. Pump After Bed Time And First Thing In The Morning


Before you get overwhelmed, remember that your sessions don't have to be long. Pumping after your little goes to sleep will add in an extra feeding, increasing your supply. Furthermore, most people's supply is highest in the morning — so take advantage of it.

9. Pump After You Shower


Taking a warm shower, or using a hot compress, can help your milk flow easier, so you spend less time trying to stimulate let-down.

10. Stay Hydrated


Staying hydrated while breastfeeding — especially when you're pumping too — is one of the most important things you can do. It will help maintain your supply and ensure that you're not depleting yourself.

11. Take Care Of Yourself


Self care while breastfeeding and pumping is extremely important. Make sure that you're eating, drinking, and sleeping enough. And remember to relax, knowing that however it's going, you're doing the best you can for your baby.