I love pumping! Said no breastfeeding mom ever. Ok seriously, breast pumps ARE super helpful. Wether it’s because you’re having problems nursing, need to increase supply, or stock up on your freezer stash for when you go back to work, breast pumps are a great tool! That being said, it still pretty much sucks to sit hooked up to the pump for 20 to 30 minutes.
Unfortunately a lot LCs aren’t very knowledgable about pumping, so the only information I got at the hospital was how to hook up the pump and to pump for 15 minutes every 3 hours. While I was exclusively pumping for the first 8 weeks I was lucky enough to join a local Facebook group with fellow moms who were exclusively pumping. Through them and the blogs of other pumping moms online, I learned a lot of great tips!
- Get a good, NEW electric double pump. I used a hand-me-down 1998 PIS for a while before getting a new Medela PIS, and the difference was incredible. Most of the time your insurance company or Medicaid will completely cover an electric pump.
- Pump for at LEAST 20 minutes. I’ve heard so many people say they’ve been told what I was: 15 minutes every 3 hours. You’ll never get your supply up that way. A lot of people will tell you to pump 5 minutes after empty, but that’s not possible. This drove me crazy!! I would pump, and pump, and PUMP, but there was STILL milk coming out. This is something I didn’t know until recently, but your breast continues make milk as you pump or nurse. So pump until your milk SLOWS, but at least 20-30 minutes.
- Pump BEFORE you nurse. Like I said before, your breast will continue to make milk as you pump or nurse, so it’s best to use the pump for the milk stored in your breast and let your baby baby do the rest. Babies remove milk way more effectively so don’t worry, your baby will still get plenty of milk!
- COCONUT OIL. Is there anything this stuff isn’t good for? But seriously use it to lubricate the flanges and to moisturizer your nipples in between nursing/pumping. It also helps prevent thrush since it’s a natural antibacterial! SCORE! Just make sure you get the UNrefined cold pressed stuff!
- Massage, massage, MASSAGE! This will not only help stimulate milk production, but also help empty the breast. There’s lots of different techniques you can use, so try them and figure out what works best for you! Check out Breast massage & The Marmet Tecnique
- If you’re pumping regularly (more than once a day every day) replace your pump parts every six weeks. This includes flanges, membranes, and tubing. These parts can get small cracks that will affect your output.
- Get a hands free pumping bra. Or make one! My favorite pumping bra is just a sports bra I cut holes in. I don’t recommend the strapless pump bras if you have a larger chest (like me 😩) because it just doesn’t hold right.
- Keep your pump parts in the fridge in an air tight container inbetween pumps during the day. That way you only have to wash and sanitize once a day!!
- Use heat while pumping. You can either use one of these, or do what I did and fill a newborn diaper with hot water. The diaper won’t leak water like a cloth would and holds heat longer. Get it as hot as you can without burning yourself.
- Set up a place in your home where you can get comfortable, watch Netflix and have everything you need to pump. I have my pump and all my necessary goodies under the side table in my living room. That way I don’t have to run around trying to find everything every time I pump.
Bonus: Pump in the car!! It’s a little tricky the first couple times, but once you get the hang of it it’s super easy and saves a lot of time!
Disclaimer: These tips are things that I have found work for me and my baby. Everyone is different and these may not work for you. Please use these tips at your own discretion and always consult your doctor if you have any questions!