All About Breast Pumps
Just like with any other product you might be using for the first time, it can take you a bit of time to get used to using a breast pump. If you ask us, the key to crack the code is to be patient, even if it seems like a far-fetched idea. If you think that a breast pump isn’t for you, this isn’t the case. Slowly and gradually, you can use it like a pro.
It is important to realize that a breast pump cannot stimulate the same kind of feelings as your baby could, so it can be time-consuming to get everything on track.
However, as time progresses, your body will surely learn to grow familiar with the pump; what might have started as small quantities, you will soon express a considerable quantity of milk.
To get on track with using a breast pump, follow the steps below.
Get the timing right
We recommend not expressing milk for over 15 minutes during your first ever pumping. Before you voice your concerns, allow us to tell you that you shouldn’t worry if you’re collecting limited amounts of milk. With time and regular suctions, a pump will be able to stimulate your breasts better. As a result, you’ll witness an increase in milk production.
Other than this, when it comes to pumping, what works for one mother might not work for you. Hence, experiment and express at different times to see what is working out for you. To put things in perspective, some mothers find it convenient to pump an hour after they feed their baby. For them, it produces more or provides the greatest milk yield. On the other hand, other mothers prefer pumping after every second feed.
Stick with that pattern of time when you have successfully determined what works best in your favor. This way, your body will get used to the breast pump use and, of course, the extra demand when it comes to milk supply.
It is natural if you’re tempted to extend the period between your pumping sessions to collect larger volumes. However, consistency is key here! You need to be consistent in terms of frequency and regular with pumping.
Practice the hygiene
Make it a point to always wash your hands. This should be the case at all times; before and after breast pumping. In addition to this, thoroughly clean all the parts of the pump that have been in close contact with your baby’s mouth or the milk.
Moreover, experts recommend that you sanitize it at least once a day after all the cleaning.
When you are done with cleaning, don’t pack it while it is still wet. Make sure to leave the parts out to dry thoroughly. Once dry, take a clean bag or container to store your pump set for the next use.
Make sure to have everything you might end up needing during your breast-pumping session so that you don’t face any interruptions.
For instance, you might feel like grabbing a snack to munch on while you pump. Other than this, keep enough storage bags or bottles to collect the expressed milk. Don’t forget to keep pieces of muslin cloth handy so that you have something to soak up any spills or drips.
Furthermore, invest in a bra specially designed for breast pumping. It will give you the freedom to keep your hands free. This way, it will become convenient for you to operate it and keep up with other things while you pump the milk.
Make yourself comfortable
If there is any position that works best for you, it is when you are at the utmost ease.
The hormone oxytocin in your body stimulates the let-down reflex. Your body only releases this when you are in a relaxed and comfortable position.
Additionally, make sure to pump in a place that offers privacy as discomfort, coupled with distractions, can really affect the entire process. While you pump, your arms and back should be well-supported, so it does not wear you out physically.
Hold the breast shield gently between the thumb and index finger. Then, use your palms and other free fingers to lend support to your breasts if you are not wearing a pumping bra. Do not press your breasts too hard as it can compress your breast tissue, which in turn, might obstruct the flow of milk.
Other ways to feel at ease is to try deep breathing exercises or tune into some soothing and mind-calming music
Some mothers find visualization techniques or back and shoulder massage from their partners to be quite therapeutic. It can prove helpful in pumping more milk.
Make efforts to trigger let-down reflex
To stimulate milk flow and increase the volume you collect, massage your breasts both before and during the breast-pumping session. Another way to stimulate them is to warm up your breasts through a warm compress before you start expressing.
Other than this, it is also said that having skin to skin contact with the baby can help you express more volumes of milk. Are you wondering why?
Well, this is because your body releases oxytocin when your baby’s skin touches yours.
For some mothers, it works best if they feed their baby from one best breast while pumping from the other. It helps with the stimulation and results in a better collection of milk.
If your baby is not with you for some reason, we suggest you look at a photo or perhaps a video of your baby. If not this, try smelling any of the items your baby uses, such as a blanket, while expressing.
This will help you build a connection with your baby. This is excellent as it helps raise oxytocin levels, which can keep the milk flowing and allow you to collect more.
Don’t ignore if you feel any discomfort
It is a misconception that pumping breast milk is a painful process because it isn’t. Pumping breast milk should never ever hurt. However, if you are feeling some sort of pain or discomfort, or noticing blisters or chafing on the nipples or around the breast, the chances are that you are using the wrong size of breast pump suction. You should consider using one that provides an adequate fit.
Other than this, ensure that the breast shield you are using is of the correct size. For those who have no idea, a breast shield is a part that fits onto your breast and is funnel-shaped.
While the breast shield should be closely covering the nipple area, there should be enough room for it to move about freely without any rubbing. The areola should experience a hard pull while you pump breast milk.
Make sure to opt for a brand that offers variations when it comes to sizes as an ill-fitting breast shield can end up reducing the volume of milk you express.
If your discomfort doesn’t subside even after considering the factors discussed above, you must stop the pumping right away and consult a lactation expert.
What are the best times to pump breast milk?
Well, it depends entirely upon the mother as to which time she deems fit or works best for her. Once you start getting the hang of using a breast pump, you will soon be able to figure out your pumping schedule.
To make it easier for the ones not sure where to begin from, try and pump an hour after you have fed your baby if your goal is to increase the supply.
- Posted by Stephanie Johnson
- On September 30, 2020