There comes a time in every new mom’s life when she needs to pump. Whether you’re heading back to the office or simply wanting a break from breastfeeding, it can seem a little overwhelming to break out the pump.
Luckily, we’ve put together a list of six tips to help. Let’s dive in!
- Get Breastfeeding Support
Lactation specialists aren’t just for breastfeeding. Finding professional breastfeeding support also means knowing what breast pumps or other products can help with the process.
- Properly Store Breast Milk
Many pumps come with custom containers to hold the breast milk after it’s been pumped. If not, you can also store them in plastic bags specifically designed for breast milk.
Fill the bags about three-quarters of the way, which is usually around 3 to 4 ounces, and stick them in the freezer. It’s much easier to thaw them out when they’re in smaller quantities.
Breast milk that is frozen can last around 6 to 12 months, although closer to 6 months is recommended. If you’re keeping it in the refrigerator because you know it’ll be needed soon, note that it’s only good for up to four days.
- Stay Hydrated
Your body is now working overtime and supplies hydration for two. As a nursing mother, you’re going to need more water than usual.
On average, a woman needs around 11.5 cups of water each day, depending on their weight and exercise levels. It’s recommended to have at least 16 cups of water each day while breastfeeding and pumping.
Try to avoid any sugary drinks or caffeine as this can interfere with your baby’s sleep patterns. Don’t forget that what you eat and drink is what your baby will ingest.
- Clean Your Pump Thoroughly
Your newborn is still building their immune system, which means they’re much more susceptible to germs and developing infections or colds. To avoid adding the further possibility of getting them sick, make sure to clean your breast pump regularly.
This includes any parts that have come into contact with your breast. If not properly cleaned, breast milk can accumulate and essentially go bad, which can harm your child.
If possible, hand wash after every use. Otherwise, try to clean it as frequently as possible. Air dry them before putting them away. You don’t want your pumping equipment to start building up any type of mold or mildew from residual water.
- Supply and Demand
The question of how often you should be pumping is based on how often your baby feeds. Remember, the more your baby is nursing, the more your body will produce milk. The same goes for pumping. The more you pump, the more breast milk you’ll produce.
When you go back to work or need to be away from your child, it’s very common to pump every three to four hours for around ten to fifteen minutes each time.
- Try to Relax
How can you possibly relax when you have a newborn baby that cries and needs to be latched all day long? This tip might not seem like great advice, but it’s true nonetheless.
When your body is tense or you’re experiencing stress, you’ll find that it’s much more difficult to produce breast milk, making your ability to pump much more difficult.
Find yourself a quiet place to pump that provides some type of solitude. Deep breathing and mediation will also prove helpful during this experience.
Pumping is an important and natural step to provide your infant with nutrients and to relieve your body of any breast pain you might experience. If you find yourself struggling during this process, don’t forget to seek support from a professional breastfeeding specialist.