Many moms-to-be are already thinking about breast pumps and pumping plans long before their little bundle of joy arrives. It can be a great way to get your little one breast milk while you’re away. However, it can seem a little unnatural at first as you navigate cords, settings and even suction levels.
“The most important thing when it comes to pumping is for moms to stay comfortable,” says Carol Chornock, RN, IBCLC and lactation coordinator at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center.
Here are a few tips to help new moms find a comfortable, productive pumping routine:
Get the pump that’s right for you.
Like most things baby-related, there are countless models and accessories to go with a breast pump. The good news is that most insurance companies cover the cost of a breast pump, or provide an allowance that enables you to pick the right model for you. If you’re using a breast pump from a previous baby, call your hospital and find out if a lactation specialist can ensure the pump is still working properly.
Create a comfortable space.
Spend a few minutes before you begin pumping to set up an area that’s comfortable. Keep a baby picture or piece of her clothing handy. Find a soft pillow or blanket. Make sure that everything you need is within arm’s reach. You’ll find it’s easier to sit back and relax once you’re comfortable and cozy as you can be!
Resist the urge to look at the bottle.
Try to focus on relaxing, not how much milk you’re producing. Remember it’s not a race and no matter how full the bottle gets, every drop provides important nutrients for your little one.
Stay on the baby’s feeding schedule.
Be sure to pump when your baby eats. As your baby’s schedule changes, you should also adjust your pumping schedule.
Set a timer.
Believe it or not, it can be easy to get sidetracked when pumping. Set a timer so your session doesn’t go longer than necessary, which can cause nipples to become sore or cracked.
Keep nighttime feedings at the breast.
Moms tend to produce more milk at night. It’s also a great time for some extra bonding and snuggle time as your little one gets ready for bed.
Clearly write date and time on all expressed milk.
Keep track of when milk was expressed and establish a system of rotating milk between the fridge and freezer before it goes bad. As a rule of thumb, breast milk is good at room temperature for 5-6 hours, in the refrigerator for 5-6 days and in the freezer for 5-6 months.
These are just a few tips to help establish a pumping routine that works for you. Learn more about breastfeeding and pumping at Adventist HealthCare’s maternity and baby programs. Check our calendar of events to find upcoming classes.