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I love pumping! Said no breastfeeding mom ever. Ok seriously, breast pumps ARE super helpful. Whether 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 knowledgeable 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. This time around I’m using the Spectra S2, and I absolutely love it
- 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 to make milk as you pump or nurse. So pump until your milk SLOWS, but at least 20-30 minutes.
- There are lots of ways to increase your supply. The main recommendations are to put baby to the breast as much as possible if you are nursing, power pumping, drinking enough water, and eating enough calories. A lot of women also swear by eating or drinking certain things like oatmeal, oatmeal cookies, lactation cookies, red and blue Gatorade, flaxseed meal, brewer’s yeast, and dark beer. There are also companies who have developed supplements specifically for breastfeeding like Milky Mama!
- 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 Technique
- 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. You can order the whole set for the Medela here and the Spectra here.
- Get a hands free pumping bra. Or make one! Just take an old sports bra and cut wholes in it. Viola! Pump bra 🙂
- Keep your pump parts in the fridge in an air tight container in between pumps during the day. That way you only have to wash and sanitize once a day!! (If you have a preemie, pump parts must be washed and sterilized after every use.)
- Use heat while pumping. These are specifically designed to be used while breastfeeding or pumping!
- 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!
Here are some GREAT resources that helped me!
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!