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8 Tips and Tricks for Pumping

March 31, 2016

Breastfeeding and pumping can be challenging. Whether you’re heading back to work, or wanting to bolster your freezer supply, here are eight tips and tricks to help you have pumping success.

1. Drink water. Lots of water.

This may seem obvious, but it’s really important. You know that plastic lidded mug they gave you at the hospital? Use it. Become best friends with it. It will help ensure that you have water easily accessible every time you plan on pumping. Staying hydrated throughout the day is also vital.

2. Invest in quality pumping equipment.

If you’re planning on pumping high volumes of milk, high-quality pumping equipment is key. This equipment helps you express milk more effectively, and also comes with accessories that are integral for pumping on the go and at work. A double electric pump is ideal. My favorite pump is the Ameda Truly Yours Ultra because, along with the pump, it includes a lot of great additions, including: a tote to carry the pump and other equipment, milk storage bottles (which attach directly to your pumping equipment) with lids, a cooler and ice packs, and power adapters. This pump can also run on batteries, so cords won’t encumber you while you pump.

Pumping Image without text

3. Buy a hands-free pumping bra.

Trust me when I say you’re going to want a hands-free pumping bra. Regardless of whether you are planning on pumping at work or at home, a hands-free bra allows you to double-task and helps ensure you get good suction. My favorite kind of pumping bra is more of a bustier-style, with a zipper in the front. My favorite is this one by Simple Wishes. Also stock up on nursing pads to avoid any leakage issues. They happen, I promise.

4. Breastfeed on demand.

When you’re at home with your baby, try to breastfeed for every feeding. This will give you a better idea of how often to pump when you are away, and acclimate your body to a pumping/feeding schedule. Based on your schedule, try more frequent evening, early morning or weekend feedings. And if desired, talk to your child’s caregivers about avoiding feedings during the last hour of care so that you can feed her when you arrive. You can also pump for 10-15 minutes after feeding your child as a means of generating more milk and stockpiling your existing supply.

5. Pump often.

When you’re away from your child, try to pump as often as she nurses. Which means, if you work full-time, pump for about 15 minutes every three hours or so. This might not always be feasible, but the closer you can stick to your baby’s nursing schedule, the more likely you will be able to bolster and maintain a steady milk supply. Buy two sets of milk storage bottles, and have freezer bags (these are my favorite) on hand so that you can keep a rotation of one set at work and the other at home.

7. Relax.

This can be the hardest to do, especially if you have to pump in an unfamiliar or unaccommodating environment. The calmer you can be, the more your body can relax and produce milk. If your pumping location is less than ideal, or if pumping just stresses you out, try listening to your favorite playlist or to an audiobook. Breathing technique and affirmations can also be helpful to reduce stress.

8. Don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Eating a healthy diet and incorporating physical activity into your daily routine are both great ways to keep your body and mind healthy. When possible, sleep when your baby sleeps and know when to ask for help! If you are having problems with your milk supply, or have other concerns, don’t hesitate to contact a lactation specialist and/or your doctor. And try these amazingly delicious (yet also healthy) lactation cookies. Because treats are always a good idea.

—Contributed by Lauren Soderberg

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