Whether you are a breastfeeding mom getting back to work or a stay-at-home mom planning a day away from the baby and leaving them with a sitter, breast pumping can seem a daunting task at first. It’s hard to mimic the sucking action of your baby, and this may cause some discomfort.
With time, however, once you get the knack of it, you realize it is not as complicated. It ends up being a handy tool for you as it allows you to not only help maintain a steady milk supply for your young one but also relieve engorgement. It would be naïve to assume that the experience with the breast pump nearly feels the same as your suckling child. Still, the following tips will not only ease the discomfort and make it more comfortable but also keep you and your baby safe during the whole process.
When to start breast –pumping
If your baby is born premature or may have special needs that limit nursing, you are advised to start pumping immediately. However, if nursing for your little one is going great, avoid nipple confusion by introducing them to the bottle two or three months after birth. You could also add a back and forth regime where they get to suckle and use the bottle alternatively. As with everything to do with mothering your child, do what feels most right to you.
Getting down to it
Assemble your pump kit according to the manufacturer’s instructions in a sterile condition to avoid the contamination of the milk and subsequent contamination for your baby.
A better breast pump will make your life much more comfortable, so do your due diligence and refer to this review to select yours. If you are pumping for the first time, chances are you will get a bit uncomfortable, and that may affect the amount of milk you put out. Your milk production may slow but not to worry since newborns require just a spoonful of milk. Regular pumping at intervals will be vital in getting used to the different sensations and gradually increasing the output. It might take time before you get into a comfortable rhythm, but the following tips could go a long way in easing your journey.
- Lubricate the pump horns with a small amount of lanolin cream or vegetable oil to moisten the inside of the pump horns and minimize friction of your breast against the plastic horns, therefore, reducing chafing and helps the pump increase the suction resulting in more milk.
- Lean forward during pumping to maximize the effects of gravity. The milk flows smoothly into the breast pump horn and the bottle. The amount of milk that bucks up around the horn and is consequently lost is also minimized.
- You might have noticed that when breastfeeding or pumping one breast, the other lets down a bit of milk. You could capitalize on this by pumping both of them at the same time-saving time. You increase the hormone that aids in milk production, allowing you to pump more milk than you would have with just one breast.
- Keep baby’s smell or clothing near you when pumping away from them to trigger your hormones to produce milk without much hustle.
- Relax. This may be hard due to the noises from the pump and discomfort from the plastic parts, but sitting in a comfortable chair with scented candles and soothing music in the background could be relaxing enough.
Care should be taken when you embark on breast pumping. Cleanliness should be maintained to avoid contamination of your child and waste of milk that goes bad. The following are tips to help you do just that.
- Wash your hand thoroughly with soap and dry them with clean cloth/paper towels before assembling or mounting the pump.
- After use, take apart all containers and constituents of the breast pump to remove any traces of grease, milk, and dirt.
- After washing, drain all containers and pump upside down on clean paper towels and store them in sealed containers after ensuring no water droplets are left. • If available, it is advised to use sterile breast milk bags.
Have pumped the milk, the next vital stage is its storage to ensure it stays fresh and doesn’t go wrong. Milk stored in the freezer can last up to five days, but earlier use is preferred. Label the bottles with the date pumped, and the last day it could be used. They should be placed in the back of the main body of the fridge to keep them cool. When the time to feed your baby is up, do not heat the bottle in a microwave as it is subject to uneven heating that could scold your baby. Instead, a water bath is preferred as it gets just to the right temperature. Taste the temperature on the back of your hand, and if it is just right, your young one will happily and safely indulge.
Updated: 16 July 2020