It is recommended to breastfeed as much as possible as it is the best way a mother could feed her baby. However, at certain point of time and in certain cases it is difficult for a mother to stay 24 hours with the kid due to various reasons like own health of mother, prior work commitments etc. Also, the nutritional content of breastmilk is very well understood along with its importance for the baby’s health. In such cases pumping breast milk can be an effective way.
Some reasons of pumping breast milk
- To store milk, when away from baby
- Baby is unable to feed directly from breast
- If there is a wish to donate breast milk to milk bank or a milk exchange program
- In order to increase milk supply
- When its difficult to hand express
Learning expressing breast milk using a breast pump requires time and dedication, but its effectiveness is worth the effort. It’s completely fine, if the output for the first time is not as you desired as you cannot stimulate the same feelings as via direct breast feeding. However, the only key is to remain patient. The body will learn gradually to get adaptive to the usage of a breast pump.
Read More – Steps to HAND EXPRESS Breastmilk
Scared of using a breast pump? Don’t worry at all its extremely simple. There are few things which should be kept in mind while starting with breast pumping.
#1. Don’t start away jump to breast pumping
In the initial weeks give you and your baby some time, to adapt to each other. This is the time when your body rhythm start matching with your kid needs. If the baby is healthy enough then there will be no requirement for breast pumping, as breastfeeding will do the needful task itself. In case breastfeeding is not an option, try hand expressing breastmilk (Refer to article: Steps to hand express breast milk). If that is also not effective, then try using a pump.
#2. Learn expressing
Learn expressing breast milk from a health professional or your treating doctor or nurse or midwife or a breastfeeding specialist. Do not hesitate to ask for any kind of help or counseling from them. You may use hand expressing or pumping or a combination of both. This will depend on the need of the hour. Do ask the staff how to use a breast pump, which will be the best suitable type of pump, the kind of containers to be used, how to store expressed milk, how to sterilize the containers etc.
#3. Frequency does matter
Try and aim for approximate 10 breastmilk pumping sessions first, for every 24 hours. And when the milk comes in try maintaining that frequency. Don’t worry much if the first session does not reap much milk, as it will increase gradually with the frequent sessions. Try expressing for around 15 minutes during your first session. Extend the time duration between two pumping rounds in order to increase the milk volume. However, in such cases it cannot be guaranteed that breasts will be completely drained out. Hence, it suggested to do it frequently and regularly
#4. Be prepared and maintain hygiene
With preparations it is meant that keep all the necessary stuff near you before you start. This involves breast pump, a pumping bra if needed, storage container, a warm soothing drink if needed (which should not be coffee), a soft warm cloth, few snacks, tissues if needed and anything which you feel will make you feel more comfortable. Maintain proper hygiene – wash hands before getting started, use sterilized pump and storage container. Sanitize products daily, dry them properly, put them in a clear sealed bag until it is required for next use.
#5. Be comfortable
Find your best comfortable position and be relaxed. Try and sit in a private and comfortable place. You can use a comforting song, your baby in front of you or the baby’s photo, a gentle and soothing back massage from your partner, etc. in order to relax. It is essential to be relaxed in order to stimulate oxytocin hormone properly. Do make sure that back and arms are rested comfortably before you pump. Any sort of distractions or negative thoughts can hamper the milk output.
#6. Start pumping
There are various different types of pumps available. There are few pumps which require manual effort, however there are few which does not require much usage of hands. Mostly electric or battery-operated pumps have 2 phase of expression technology, which means, that this technology tries to act like a baby suction and imitates the way a baby feed. There are 2 modes in such pumps, first is stimulation mode and the other one is expression mode. It is fast with slow sucking initially, followed by slow and stronger sucking. Stimulation mode generally lasts for 2-3 minutes. Having skin to skin connection with the baby can help stimulating more milk, hold your baby in hands or on your lap, to feel more. Warming the breasts also helps in increasing the milk flow.
#7. Keep a check on your milk flow
Watch your milk flow. You will come to know when the milk is coming down either you could sense it, or it can be seen in the connected container of breast pump. Keep the vacuum suction as per your comfort zone, however pump suction can be increased gradually. Turn the pump down if it is uncomfortable.
#8. Time taken
Do not compare your session timings and duration with other females. Every body responds differently. It might be possible that after 4-6 weeks some women don’t require much time, whereas it is also possible that a woman might take more time to express. As already said that expressing milk is a skill which learnt overtime and gradually. It also depends on the frequency of expressing, like if expressing is done more frequently and regularly it might require less time to drain out all the contents whereas if done after long breaks it might take more than 15 minutes to drain out the whole milk out of the breast.
#9. Double pumping
Double breast pump can be used in such cases. Research show that a woman who double pumps have more let down when compared to a woman who pumps single breast at time. This saves time and effort, and gives more milk. This option should only be used if you are comfortable in doing so, if not than kindly do not neglect your discomfort.
#10. Don’t hurt yourself
Expressing milk in discomfort is a completely no no. Do not ignore your discomfort while expressing, try reducing the suction of vacuum. Also do make sure that you are using the right size of breast shield to funnel your breasts and which fits you breasts size. Breast shields come in different sizes, so choose the best size for you. As if ignored, this may reduce the milk outcome or milk flow. If discomfort still persists try consulting doctor or a breastfeeding specialist.
Stay happy and healthy for both the health of your baby and you yourself!!
Read More – Basic of Expressing Breastmilk