Breastfeeding is perhaps one of the first experiences of motherhood. The hospital nurses, doctors and the elders have probably chipped in their tips and tricks on breastfeeding the baby, however there may be times when you are required to be away from your baby and therefore unable to breastfeed. Either because of the pressure of resuming work or due to any other condition you might feel the need to pump and feed the milk. To this end, some women pump Breast-milk beforehand and store it appropriately, which can then be given to the baby as per the need.
Top 8 Tips To Pump Breast-milk
Breast-milk can be pumped out or expressed as it’s called either via hands or mechanical pumps. Nowadays sophisticated and easy to use pumping machines are available in the market which facilitate pumping out Breast-milk rather quickly. Below are a few tips to further simplify the process of pumping Breast-milk:
- Choose the correct device: Breast pumps are available in various sizes and variants. Be it the manual one, battery-powered or electric, select one depending on your need and size. These breast pumps help in extracting milk from your breast easily and without any hassle. Pay particular attention to the size of flange (the funnel like part of the pump in which your nipples are placed). Your nipples should just fit in it such that the nipples do not touch the surface but are snugly placed
- Adjust the vacuum just right: The suction setting in many of the pumps needs to be adjusted by the individual. You must find the maximum suction speed at which you are comfortable. Too low or high vacuum may cause discomfort and not yield desirable results. Pump at a lower suction if your nipples are sour. As you pump, the nipple should not rub with the flange
- Relax: The bodily functions can be disrupted to a great extent by stress, the same applies to Breast-milk! You need to relax, calm down while you sit down for pumping Breast-milk. For some, music and picture of the baby seems to work, you need to explore what stimulates your milk flow. Gulp a glass of water, keep all things within reach and work on setting the mood!
- Be an early bird: Many women find the milk flow to be quite easier in the morning than other hours of the day. Perhaps sleep and rest encourages milk flow. Take good care of your body, relax and you will be on the roll! Try to establish a routine when you have to pump Breast-milk. Try to do it at the same time, in the same condition every day
- Massage breasts: It’s like a warm-up before exercise! You can start massaging from your armpit in circular motions and slowly progressing towards the center of the breast. Stroke the entire breast from chest wall to the areola. Repeat with the other breast. It is recommended to stroke or massage the breast during breastfeeding to continue stimulation of tissues for optimal supply of milk. Some women shake their breast with hand as they feel that this increases the milk flow. You can also apply warm compress on your breast and then pump milk
- Double pumping: As you become familiar with the usage of pump, consider pumping both the breast together. This not only saves time but also promotes milk production. The prolactin hormone is greater as compared to single breast pumping, which in turn stimulates milk production. So those ladies trying to increase milk supply, may try this out!
- Eat right: Eating a nutritious diet and staying hydrated can help things become a lot easier. Drink plenty of fluids such as water, fresh juices, smoothies and milk. Limit teas and coffees due to their caffeine content. You need to restrict alcohol and smoking too. These are capable of changing the taste of milk and induce irritability in the baby
- Identify triggers: Initially there may be complaints of not pumping enough milk, this is largely because it’s the baby and his sucking which was stimulating the entire process. Mechanical pumping is just a machine after all. The sight, smell and sound of the baby may do the trick. You may gaze at the picture of your baby, sniff at his clothes or simply listen to his recorded babbles. It helps to keep baby blanket or a baby toy and express milk. Listening to your child’s recorded voice is also helpful in promoting your milk flow
Lastly, do not forget to clean and store the pump and pumping set as per the manufacturer’s directions. Practice hygiene to protect your little one from falling sick.
Remember that pumping milk is supposed to be painless, if you experience any discomfort, then perhaps you are doing it wrong. It’s best to meet your obstetrician and discuss this further. You may inadvertently damage the delicate breast tissues. When at home, try to breastfeed as much as you can, save the pumping only for certain occasions. As an anonymous quote rightly suggests “Breastfeeding is not just about milk, it’s also about love”.
Read more about breastfeeding pains and discomforts here
Read all about Breastfeeding and working mothers here