Multi tasking is the name of the modern motherhood game, and that goes double for breastfeeding moms. In an effort to save time (and your own sanity) you may watch your favorite TV shows, take conference calls, type up an email, or catch a couple of Zs all while breastfeeding or pumping. But what if you need to feed your baby and add to your breast milk stockpile? Can you pump and breastfeed simultaneously? Turns out you can, but it will depend on how well you and your baby are established with breastfeeding already.
In an interview with Romper, international certified lactation consultant LaShanda Dandrich says it is possible to pump and breastfeed simultaneously. But only, "if you find that your baby has become efficient and feeds on only one breast at a time." That's the key — making sure your baby has a secure latch and no other issues with breastfeeding. Helen Anderson, lactation expert, registered nurse, and creator of Milkies agrees with this advice and adds that you should, "wait until you have both breastfeeding and pumping down to a science before combining the two." She also points out that you may need to be extra diligent in the safety department. "Use caution if your baby is squirmy, you may need both hands to keep him safe," Anderson tells Romper.
Not only will safety be the key to simultaneous breastfeeding and pumping success, so will position and practice. "It does take some practice to hold your baby and the pump simultaneously," Anderson admits, but says it's not impossible.
For anyone that's willing to try, she suggests you "place your pump where you can easily access the controls." For anyone that's done a feeding without being able to reach a remote control or a phone, you know how important it is to line this up before you get down to business. Having access to all necessary buttons is crucial. "You'll also need a flat place to put down your milk container when your baby is ready to come off the breast," she says This could be a table or even a thick coffee table book of some sort. The question then becomes who gets hooked to the breast first - the baby or the pump?
"You may want to switch on your pump then latch your baby and place the pump on your breast last," Anderson suggests. Additionally, you can use nursing pillows, hands-free nursing bras, or even an extra hand from your partner or someone close to you to help initially get the hang of it.
All moms are being pulled in a million different directions today. It often feels like there aren't enough hours in the day. Rest assured you can kill two birds with one stone - building a milk stash and feeding a hungry baby, and do it well. It may take some practice at first, but once you and your baby get it down pat you'll be saving the most invaluable resource of all - precious time.