When you make a commitment to breastfeed not much can stand in your way. The benefits are plentiful, but sometimes the logistics leave you wondering how on earth you’ll achieve your breastfeeding goals.
For many moms, a breast pump becomes a valuable resource at one point or another through the breastfeeding journey. For me, it was a crucial element of allowing me to continue breastfeeding while I worked away from home.
It is never easy to adjust to a relationship with a pump, there is no cooing, soft touch, or gentle latch. But, you can make your pump a teammate in your breastfeeding success. Here are a few tips to get you through the beginning stages whether you are an occasional or exclusive pumper.
Research your teammate. That’s right, your pump is your teammate in getting the goods. Before employing a pump, research what you want it to do for you and buy or rent accordingly. Do you need it for an occasional evening out or multiple times each day while you’re at work? Are you an exclusive pumper and in need of a real work house? If I were purchasing a pump again I would look very closely at the Hygeia – it’s a closed-system pump which means it can have multiple users (how green!) and they are the only pump company currently supporting the WHO.
Build a station. When you are connected to your pump, be sure to have everything you need close at hand. Here’s what I kept in my pump bag: pump, wall plug-in, 4 bottles with lids, 2 sets of each pump part (valves, flanges, membranes, etc.), hands-free pumping bra, hair tie, water bottle, reading material, and a mini insulated lunchbox.
Practice your technique. Does wiggling or adjusting the suction kick start your letdown? What about starting with hand expression or adding in massage? Try different things to maximize your pumping time, remember, you and your pump are teammates in providing for your baby!
Remember what’s important. Sometimes pumping can get downright depressing. Don’t forget that every ounce of milk you provide for your baby is priceless. Don’t let the numbers haunt you and just do the best you can. Stress is your worst enemy! Try watching a video or looking at pictures of your baby while you pump, it will remind you of what really matters. Plus, there is nothing like a little crying or cooing to get a rush of milk!
Find support. No one knows or understands the journey of pumping like another pumping mama. Seek out support, gain ideas, and let the boob talk begin!
What advice would you add from your pumping experience?
For additional resources on pumping success check out these links:
19 Tips for Better Pumping
Mayo Clinic – 7 Tips for Pumping Success
Choosing a Breast Pump
Tips on Picking the Right Breast Pump for You