Breastfeeding and Pumping Tips

Problems pumping? You are not alone! Here are PSP member tips for keeping your milk supply up and baby and mommy happy and healthy.

 

 WHEN TO PUMP:

  • "Try to pump at the same times every day, preferably at intervals no longer than 3 to 4 hours apart."
  • "Nurse as frequently as possible when you’re with the baby.  Try to avoid cutting night feedings.  Or, if your baby is sleeping for long stretches at night, pump in place of a feeding.  Pumping first thing in the morning is also recommended since this is generally when your milk supply is at its highest level."
  • "Many women find they can not pump enough during the day to provide adequate milk for all that the baby needs. So build up a stockpile in the freezer before going back to work, and try to maintain it by pumping on days off, nights, and weekends.  Once the baby starts solids, try to keep them to a minimum on the days you're with her and nurse as much as possible.  On the other hand, your caregiver can give the baby more solids so as to use less breast milk.  The same goes for water:  don't give the baby any water when you’re with her, but, rather, just nurse instead (unless it’s very hot out or if your pediatrician advises otherwise)."
  • "Try to maintain as flexible a work schedule as possible."
  • "I also pumped right after feeding and once in awhile - when I could finagle it - pump from one side while my baby was feeding on the other."
  • "What I learned was pump in the morning (better supply) and directly after feeding (don't take a break)..."
  • "Pumping first thing in the morning has been what's worked for me."
  • "I also found that pumping in the morning, an hour or so after feeding was the best time."

 

BEFORE YOU PUMP:

  • "I also take a hot shower before I pump, the hot water helps "loosen" the milk."
  • "warm shower beforehand or warm compress on the chest beforehand helps too (I heat a cherry pit bag to warm the bed on colder nights, once fell asleep with it near my chest and woke up with a soaked tank top ??)."
  • "When stressed or in a rush, I find it helps to look at pictures and videos of the baby."

 

WHILE YOU PUMP:

  • "Massaging breasts during pumping, working hands down and out towards the horn."
  • "Changing the way one nurses: in the mornings, I would let the baby nurse on one side exclusively to fully empty out that breast, and then pump the other one , which was really full. Then, when I pumped at work,both breasts would fill up pretty well again after that."
  • "Using maximum pressure on the pump (may need to work up to it)
  • "My supply was really low and my lactation consultant told me to have a a cup of raspberry tea (using alvita  brand) in the am and one cup  in the evening.  When pumping- use the let down speed for 2 minutes and go back to it every 4 mins (2 mins let down/ 2 longer sucking speed). I also was told to pump after bf to get any extra Milk at the beginning until my supply picked up ( I no longer do this). My supply is now giving me around  6oz and sometimes more surplus every day (not sure if good but I'm happy with it)."
  • "She usually only nurses one side at a time, so I pump from the unused side and freeze that."
  • "Breast massage while pumping seems to be the best way to make sure you get all the milk out - at least that's what I found personally."

 

ABOUT THE PUMP ITSELF:

  • Pump using the right size flange (there are different sizes).
  • Some parents suggest switching pumps: (a) Rent a hospital grade pump from Boing Boing (and other places), which are more efficient and quicker; (b) Ameda pump worked better for 1 mom; (c) Avent Isis hand-pump worked better for another; (d) Medela manual pump fit another mom better. And one mom suggested cutting the ends of the tubes because they might not be tight enough and so may not be getting the right amount of suction.
  • Many folks suggested replacing the white membranes, which apparently wear out over time. One mom replaces them every month.

 

CHECK BREASTSHIELDS:

  • "Getting your breastshields checked (one mom suggested returning to hospital where you gave birth to avoid paying a private lactationconsultant)."
  • "Try different sizes of "breast shields" (the funnel-like things that you put up to your nipple). The right size impacts how much milk you can extract. I ended up trying 3 sizes and found that the 30mm get the most milk out.  I'm shocked b/c nothing about my breasts would be considered XL before."

 

HOW LONG TO PUMP:

  • Breaking up a longer session (15-20 min) into 2 shorter ones, which allows for another let down.
  • "Also my lactation consultant reccoed that you keep pumping maybe 2 min after the last drops. The idea is to make your body think you need more milk than what your baby is taking in."

 

TRY HAND PUMPING:

  • "I get more milk out of a hand pump. I bought this $27 medela hand pump to extract when I wake up at night and don't want to hook up to a machine, and was shocked at how well it works. My baby nurse confirmed she thinks its better at extracting milk generally its not *as* much of a pain as I thought, though obviously more work and can take longer because you can only do one at a time.  bonus is stronger wrists, maybe?"

 

SUPPLY PROBLEM?

  • Is it a supply issue? Read PSP advice HERE.
  • To build up my supply (I was also pumping like half an ounce) I did an aggressive pump schedule (8x a day after every feeding) for 2-3 days and that helped me build a good amount that's lasted since (it's been 2 months) and now I only pump maybe 1-2 a day)."
  • Recognize that supply just dips if you are exclusively or primarily just pumping, if baby is on solids, if mom is menstruating. And pumping isn't as efficient as is nursing.
  • If it's a supply issue: (a) EAT, EAT, EAT. You have to eat to produce milk - burgers & fries and pasta helped one mom. Drink lots of milk and eat oatmeal; (b) drink plenty of water; (c) pump at least 3times a day at work (this isn't practical for me, unfortunately); (d) marathon feed your baby on the weekends; (e) fenugreek; (f) mother's milk tea; (g) try to relax and not stress; (h) More Milk Plus tincture (the version with grain alcohol) used as directions on bottle recommend. My own two cents: review the archives because there are recent posts on this topic.

 

SAFETY WARNING:

 

FURTHER RESOURCES/ HELP:

  • A few moms suggested what looks like a great resource: yahoo pumpmoms listserve. And another suggested Kelly Mom, particularly this article which is very informative.
  • "If you haven't gone already, I found the La Leche League meetings to be really helpful. Emily and Lucy - who facilitate the Fort Greene and Cobble Hill meetings are both really knowledgeable and super helpful.  I called them with questions that came up along the way and they were both really responsive."
  • PSP reviews for Lactation Consultants

 

PUMPING AT WORK? Read what working moms say about how to pump at work when breastfeeding HERE