8 Pumping Tips from an exclusive pumper
Breastfeeding is an amazing thing you get to do with or for you little one. Knowing a mother can supply every nutritional need your baby has for their first 6 months is still a mind blowing concept to me. Weather your exclusively pumping(like myself) or pumping and breastfeeding(like I wish I could have), you are doing one of the most rewarding things you can do for you and your baby. So kudos to you mom!
I pumped for 8 months straight, and I have learned a ton. I will admit, I am one of those people that can just pump without having to focus on my baby or anything. That being said, my tips may need to be altered slightly if your experience is different. I totally understand that not everyone is the same, so what works for me may not totally work for you. I just wish that I had had some of the tips I’m putting out there to help my experience along. So here we go..
- Have a minimum pumping time but not a maximum– Once I realized it, this was probably what helped me the most. I would always pump just 15 minutes the first couple of months. When I was extra full that just wasn’t long enough to make me feel empty. I ended up uncomfortable a lot more that I had to be. Now, I pump a minimum of 15 minutes. If I am really full for any reason, like I no longer pump at night or I had to go longer in between pumps, I pump until I feel empty. This will also help build your supply. Not pumping until your empty will tell your body you don’t need to produce as much, therefore lessen your supply.
- Start your day off empty– This one goes right along with the first one. I always make sure I pump until I feel empty in the morning. If I don’t then I spend the first half of my day uncomfortable and wishing I had. I’ve sat up in the morning pumping for up to 30-35 minutes before. This didn’t apply to me the first couple months because I was getting up through the night with the baby and pumping while I was awake. It took a while to adjust to no nighttime pumps but starting the day right helps tremendously.
- Make your pumping time productive– I don’t know about you all but for me sitting there for 15 minutes with my pump is eternity! Seriously, it feels like 15 hours instead of minutes sometimes! I eventually started trying to be a little productive while pumping since I was lucky enough that I didn’t have to concentrate a lot. In the mornings I would put my makeup on while pumping. At work I would eat a small meal every time I had to pump. Usually during my last pump session before bed I write while pumping. It certainly makes the time go by faster and has the bonus of at least getting a little something done.
- Get a car adapter for your pump– My husband and I almost always run errands together. I always tried to time my errands around my pumping schedule. This allows me to make use of the drive home or from place to place. This way I don’t have to get home, unload the baby, then sit and pump. I did use batteries for my pump for a short time. As much as I used them I could see batteries getting very expensive very quickly. The car adapter for my pump was a great investment! It comes in handy for day trips as well so you can pump a fresh bottle for they baby.
- Have a habit of applying nipple cream/lanolin after every pump– I was and honestly still am horrible about this one. If I put my cream on every time I pump I never have any issues with dry or cracked nipples. If I wait until I do start having a problem it takes so long for them to heal back up. Then I regret letting them get that way. If you don’t have any nipple cream, get some, or coconut oil works great(and is safe for baby)! This is one of my must have pumping products!
- Massage!- The best way to get rid of a clogged duct is to massage them while you pump. It also helps your breast empty faster. Sometimes my breast don’t feel empty unless I do massage them. This one was a little awkward for me at first, I mean I already have to pump but now I need to massage them too? But, it really does help so much! Put pressure on the outside and work your way in, that’s what works best for me.
- Use the right size bottles– Nothing is worse than filling up a bottle to where it overflows. Cutting your pump time short or interrupt a session is also a pain. I use my 8 ounce Dr Browns bottles in the morning because I pump so much more first thing. My Ameda, Medela and Dr Browns bottles all fit on my Ameda pump. Medela makes 8 ounce bottles as well. If you have a good supply like I did I would recommend having some bigger bottles. Especially for those extra full times. Plus, you can alway pop a cap on the bottle and have one ready-made in the fridge for your baby.
- Drink your water– I really can tell a big difference in my supply when I am drinking more water. When I’m more hydrated my milk lets down easier and I hardly ever get clogged ducts. Not to mention the other obvious health benefits as well. I’m slacking on my water intake almost every time I get a clogged duct. So, drink up!
I hope my experience and tips can help someone. I am always open to any tips you can give me as well! Be sure to check out my pumping schedule too! Happy pumping ya’ll!