Pumping is an important part of breastfeeding, but it can be a little confusing when you're starting out. Here are six helpful tips on how to pump correctly so that you get the most out of your pumping sessions.
Decide what type of pump you need. There are three main types of pumps: manual, electric, and hospital-grade. Consider your budget. Some pumps are more expensive than others.
Think about how often you'll be using the pump. If you'll be using it every day, you'll want to invest in a quality pump that will last. Make sure the pump is comfortable to use. You'll be using it for a while, so it's important that it's not too bulky or heavy.
Choose a pump that has easy-to-use controls. Check to see if the pump is covered by your insurance. Picking the right breast pump doesn't have to be difficult. Just take some time to consider your needs and find the perfect pump for you and your baby!
2. Make sure the pump is properly fitted
If you're using a manual or electric pump, make sure the breast shield (the part that goes over your nipple and areola) is properly fitted.
If it's too small, it won't be effective in extracting milk from your breasts. If it's too large, it could cause discomfort and cause clogged ducts. The shield should fit comfortably and cover most of your areola.
3. Use the correct settings on your breast pump
When you're using an electric pump, it's important to make sure the settings are correct for optimal milk flow. If the pump is set too high, it can cause discomfort. If the settings are too low, you won't get as much milk as you could be getting. So, how do you find the right settings? Here are a few tips:
Start with the lowest setting and increase it if needed.
Make sure the pump is comfortable to use. You should not feel any pain or discomfort when pumping.
Increase the speed and/or power if milk flow is slow.
Decrease the speed if you are starting to feel discomfort or your milk stops flowing.
Experiment until you find the settings that work best for you.
4. Relax and take deep breaths
Relaxing and taking deep breaths may not seem like they would have an impact on milk production, but they can actually make a big difference. When a mother is stressed, her body responds by releasing the hormone cortisol.
Cortisol can interfere with the let-down reflex, making it more difficult for milk to flow. Therefore, it's important to take a few deep breaths and relax before starting to pump. This will help the milk flow more easily and reduce stress levels. In addition, pumping in a calm environment can also help to increase milk production.
So, if possible, try to find a quiet place to pump where you can relax and not be interrupted. By taking a few deep breaths and creating a calm environment, you can help ensure that you pump the most amount of milk possible.
5. Massage your breasts while pumping to get more milk output
Massaging your breasts while pumping can help to increase milk production. Some mothers find that massaging the breasts before and during pumping helps to produce more milk.
Using a breast massager like the Lilu massaging bra can help pumping mothers pump up to 50% more milk in much less time than not using a massager. If you're looking for a way to get more milk out during your pumping sessions, try massaging your breasts while you pump.
6. Pump frequently
When you're a pumping mom, it's important to pump frequently and for the recommended amount of time. This will help you maintain a good milk supply.
Most experts recommend pumping every 2-3 hours when you have a newborn, but you can stretch that out when your baby gets older. Pumping can be time-consuming and sometimes frustrating, but it's worth it to know that you're providing your baby with the best possible nutrition.
Plus, it's a great bonding experience! So make sure to pump often. Your baby will thank you for it!
How Do Breast Pumps Work?
An electric breast pump will create a cycle of suction and release by producing one pull per second to begin milk let down as breast milk begins to flow.
The breast pump's suction mirrors a baby's natural sucking pattern through several stages:
Let Down - when a newborn is sucking vigorously. The let-down reflex is triggered when the baby's suckling stimulates the release of oxytocin from the mother's brain. This hormone signals the milk glands in her breasts to let down, or release, milk.
Expression - after the let-down reflex has started, a baby will often slow their sucking to a more deep and rhythmic one. This is when milk flows most efficiently from the breast.
Breast pumps can be used to express milk manually or automatically. Manual pumps require the user to operate a handle that creates suction, while automatic pumps have a built-in motor that does the work for you. Most electric breast pumps have a let-down setting and an expression setting.
Types of Breast Pumps
Choosing the right breast pump can be a breastfeeding mom's most important decision (besides deciding to breastfeed in the first place, of course). After all, her pump will be her new best friend, providing much-needed relief when her baby is fussy or her milk supply is low.
There are a few different types of breast pumps on the market, so it's important to do some research before making a purchase. Lots of electric pumps are typically small and portable, making them a good choice for moms who are on the go.
Double electric pumps are ideal for moms who need to pump frequently, as they provide a faster and more efficient way to express milk. Hospital-grade pumps are often recommended for mothers who are dealing with low milk supply or who have premature babies in the NICU.
No matter what type of pump you choose, a breastfeeding mom is sure to find relief--and maybe even some extra bonding time--with her new baby.
How to Use an Electric Breast Pump
This system will help you maintain your milk supply if you're using a double electric pump.
Make sure you center the nipples in the flanges. Then lean forward slightly and turn the pump on.
Start on the let-down or stimulation setting. Once your milk begins to flow, increase the suction until it feels comfortable, then switch to the expression setting.
Pump for 10-15 minutes, or until your milk supply slows down. Be sure to store your expressed milk in a clean, airtight container.
How to Use a Manual Breast Pump
First center the flange onto the nipple. Then squeeze the lever to create pressure. Start with short and shallow squeezes until the letdown phase has started.
Then move to deeper and longer squeezes to have a more efficient milk output. Pump for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the milk stops flowing. Then you can then switch to the other breast.
When Do I Start Using My Pump?
This will depend on if you plan on exclusively pumping, going back to work, or want to pump occasionally for date night.
If you want to exclusively pump, you will want to start pumping right after the baby is born.
You will want to remove the breast milk every 2-3 hours, which will help establish your milk supply.
If you go back to work, you will want to start pumping 2 to 3 weeks before you go back to work.
If you want to pump occasionally, start pumping after your milk supply has already been established (around 3 months).
How Often Should I Pump?
If you are exclusively pumping, you will want to remove the breastmilk every 2-3 hours, which will help establish your milk supply.
If you go back to work, you will want to pump during your baby's normal feeding time while at work.
If you want to pump occasionally, you can pump once a day to build a freezer stash.
However, if you want to increase your milk supply, you will need to pump more often.
How Much Milk Should I Pump?
Whether you're a first-time mom or a seasoned pro, figuring out how much milk to pump can be a challenge.
On average, a breastfed baby consumes 25 oz (750 mL) per day, between the ages of 1 month and 6 months. But the range can go as wide as 19-30 ounces in a day. (570-900 ml).
There are a few things to keep in mind when you're trying to determine your ideal pumping output.
First, consider your baby's age and feeding schedule. If you have a newborn, you'll need to pump more frequently than if you have an older baby who is eating solid food.
Second, the quality of your pump can make a difference in the amount of milk you produce. If you're using a high-quality pump, you'll likely get more milk than if you're using a lower-quality one.
Finally, nutrition and hydration are important factors in milk production. Make sure you're drinking plenty of fluids and eating a balanced diet to support a healthy milk supply.
With a little trial and error, you'll soon find the perfect pumping routine for you and your baby.
If you're a breastfeeding mom, using a breast pump can be a great way to maintain your milk supply when you're not able to nurse your child directly. If you have trouble producing enough milk while pumping, try massaging your breasts while pumping with the help of the Lilu bra. This will help stimulate more milk production. Drink plenty of fluids and eat a balanced diet to support healthy lactation. With a little trial and error, you'll find the perfect pumping routine for you and your baby!
This article was written by Lacy Reason. She is a Lactation Counselor and writes about all things breastfeeding at earlymotherhoodguide.com.
Lilu is a Women’s Health company building tech-enabled devices to empower new moms. Our first product, the Lilu Massage Bra, mimics compression massage, so you can empty your breasts fully to establish, increase and maintain your milk supply. Pump up to 50% more milk each session, all while going hands-free.
The Lilu Massager + Bra is designed to make pumping moms’ lives easier. It works with your pump so that you can produce up to 50% more milk per pumping session completely hands-free. It enables you to actually get stuff done or simply relax while pumping. Reach your pumping goals, with Lilu.