Several things may cause moms to embark upon the journey of exclusive pumping. A baby may not want to latch correctly, or mom may be working full time. In these situations, many feel their only option is to formula feed. Exclusive pumping, however, is another option if you're set on giving your child breastmilk. That being said, it is a big undertaking and you may want to take notes on the things to do to make exclusive pumping easier before you get started.
In addition to providing baby with the benefits of breastmilk, exclusive pumping can give moms more control and flexibility over their schedules. It can give them the ability to decide when to pump versus breastfeeding on demand and even the opportunity let others bond with and bottle feed their babies. Even though a mom may be unable to breastfeed, exclusive pumping still gives mom and baby the ability to obtain all the benefits from breastmilk without having to breastfeed.
As mentioned earlier, however, exclusive pumping can seem like a pretty big undertaking. Like with anything new though, pumping takes an adjustment period. After time and by utilizing a few tips to make exclusive pumping easier, it can become a normal, helpful part of everyday life.
1. Pump Every 3 Hours
Because a newborn baby normally nurses eight to 12 times per day, Kelly Mom noted that it's a good idea to match that consistency when pumping. Hooking up to the pump every two to three hours, especially in the beginning, will help get your milk flowing and keep production up. Kelly Mom also mentioned that prolactin levels are highest in the early morning hours. So, it's super helpful to try to pump at least one time between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
2. Pump For At Least 15 Minutes
The previously mentioned Kelly Mom article stressed that experts encourage pumping for 15 to 20 minutes each time. Even if your milk is necessarily producing the entire time, the stimulation is what's important.
3. Pump For 5 Minutes After You're Done Producing Milk
According to Exclusive Pumping, you should pump for a few minutes after milk has stopped flowing to keep up milk production. You can even try taking a one to two minute break after the initial 15 to 20 minutes of pumping and start again to stimulate one more letdown.
4. Invest In A Quality Pump
One of the most important parts of exclusively pumping is ensuring you have a quality pump to assist. According to Babble, investing in a hospital grade pump is a huge help and can be an absolute necessity when exclusively pumping.
5. Stock Up On Extra Pump Parts
The previously mentioned Babble article also said that grabbing extra pump parts can be a life saver when you're pumping multiple times throughout the day. Having extra parts cuts down on time spent constantly washing for reuse. If you're working, it's also a good idea to keep an extra set of pump parts (or even an extra pump) at your office. It helps you avoid the hassle of lugging a pump from place to place and eliminates the potential to forget a part.
6. Use A Hands-Free Bra
On her blog, registered nurse Lauren McBride wrote that finding a supportive, hands-free bra, like Simple Wishes ($39), can completely change your pumping experience. It's worth the investment to go hands free or have the extra support when you're constantly pumping. Especially if you want to multitask.
7. Try To Stay Relaxed
Pumping can be stressful. According to the aforementioned Exclusive Pumping article, it's helpful to try to stay relaxed. Don't constantly check the bottles to see how much milk is in them. Instead, find other things to focus on like reading a book, watching a show, or just propping yourself up to relax without any distractions.
8. Don't Turn Up The Pump Settings
According to the aforementioned Kelly Mom article, a high setting does not necessarily equal better or faster milk production. Sometimes setting the suction too high can irritate your breasts or nipples and make pumping more difficult in the long run.
9. Massage Your Breasts
Learning to massage your breasts, or even use hand expression, can help with milk flow, stop engorgement, and clear milk ducts. According to the previously mentioned Exclusive Pumping article, breast compressions and massage while pumping can also help empty out your supply and in turn, produce more.