You don't really understand the phrase "labor of love" until you've sat in a a chair with a breast pump hooked up to you first thing in the morning. You'd rather be sleeping, or even getting ready for work, but you've got to pump to keep your supply up. Whether you're exclusively pumping or only on occasion, using a breast pump doesn't have to be a nightmare. There are certain things you can do at night to make morning pumping much easier on yourself, and luckily, most of them are super easy.
Though pumping is different for every mom — some women can express a full bottle in one sitting, while others only get a few ounces — sticking to a pumping and nursing routine is important for your supply and for your baby's schedule. Since the more milk you remove from your breast, the more you'll produce, it makes sense to keep your pumping times consistent. Just like with nursing, skipping a feeding or pumping session signals to your body to slowly stop making milk at that time. So if pumping is an important part of your feeding cycle, be sure to do it consistently.
Although every mom who pumps does it for different reasons, these tips can help you streamline your pumping and nursing schedule, keeping it as simple and stress-free as possible.
1Set Up The Pump
Some pumps require more set up than others, but if you're using it often, there may be parts scattered in other places from washing them or from previous use. Before you go to bed, try and set everything up in the spot you'll be pumping (or if you're bringing it to work, have it ready to go.) This at least saves you a few minutes of running around.
Although drinking more water won't help you produce more milk, it can help you feel more awake, according to Dr. Sears. It will also help you stay healthy over all, so drinking a glass before you go to bed and first thing before you pump is a good idea.
3Have Bottles Ready
If you're pumping just to build a stockpile, you'll need a different storage method. But if you're pumping for later in the day or while you're at work, be sure to fill up the bottles you'll need and have them ready.
4Nurse Before Bed
Whether you nurse or pump, you probably won't have your most successful session at night (many moms claim their supply is lowest at night, according to Baby Center). But removing milk from your breasts triggers your body to make more, ensuring that the morning session will be successful.
5Get Enough Sleep
The best thing you can do for your body at night is to actually get some rest. Health Link notes that exhaustion can cause a dip in your milk supply, so getting enough sleep (or at least a little bit) will help you feel refreshed and your supply be at its best.
6Grab A Few Snacks
Whether you're nursing, pumping occasionally, or pumping exclusively, chances are you wake up ravenously hungry. Save yourself an extra step by keeping a few snacks by your bed and by your pump so that you can snack while you pump.