If you have landed on this page, congratulations on being a new mom! The first few weeks of being a mom can be somewhat daunting, especially if you are having difficulties breastfeeding your baby. While there are many local clinics you can visit to meet with other moms and receive feeding support by trained midwives, there are also a number of tips and tricks other moms have used which saw their milk levels increase.
First things first, before you attempt to pump more milk, you will need to be taking care of your own health. If you are not healthy your body will struggle to provide for your baby. Eating nutritious meals is important at any stage in your life, but now that a little person relies on you, keeping your health in check is even more important.
Tommee Tippee – Closer to Nature Electric Breast Pump
I used this breast pump myself during those early days to increase my milk supply. What I loved about this breast pump is that it hooks up to any of the Closer to Nature bottles and pouches. This means less to clean up, and you can store your breast milk straight away. Each part can be washed individually and sterilized. This pump has four different speeds and is also BPA free. While there are many different breast pumps on the market, in my opinion the Tommee Tippee electric and manual pumps are among the best.
One of the best let-down triggers is your baby. Many woman suggest pumping and breastfeeding at the same time to produce more milk.
- 1 Reasons to Pump Your Breast Milk
- 1.1 1. Ensure Your Pump is the Right Fit
- 1.2 2. Check the Suction Settings
- 1.3 3. Time Your Pumps
- 1.4 4. Ensure You are Warm and Comfortable
- 1.5 5. Massage and Pump
- 1.6 6. Visualize Your Baby
- 1.7 7. Relax Your Muscles
- 1.8 8. Play Calming Music
- 1.9 9. Hand Pump
- 1.10 10. Take a Break
- 1.11 11. Stay Hydrated
- 1.12 12. Use a Double Pump
- 1.13 13. Pump Early in the Morning
- 1.14 14. Add Lactation Friendly Foods to Your Diet
- 1.15 15. Lean Forward When Pumping
- 2 Common Mistakes Made When Breast Pumping
- 3 Tips and Tricks for Breast Pumping Mothers
- 4 Lactation Friendly Foods
Reasons to Pump Your Breast Milk
While exclusively breastfeeding is often recommended to maintain constancy with a newborn and avoid nipple confusion, there are a number of reasons why a mother may need to pump her milk and feed her baby with a bottle opposed to breast feeding. Below we’ve compiled a number of reasons that some mothers choose to use a breast pump.
- You have Returned to work.
While returning to work can be tough, many mothers continue to supply their baby with breast milk by pumping it in advance. This way the milk can be stored and the caregiver can still provide the baby with the mother’s milk during the day when she cannot herself.
- Your Baby has Difficulty Sucking
This often occurs when a baby is born prematurely or has a tongue tie. If your baby cannot latch properly, you may be advised to temporarily pump and bottle feed.
- You May be Pumping to Increase Your Supply
Pumping in between feeds can work to increase your supply and it also allows you to create a back up of milk in the case that you have to leave your baby in the hands of say the babies father or grandparents.
- You have Fallen Ill
If for any reason you are ill and hospitalized although well enough to still use a breast pump, you may choose to do so.
- Your Baby May Need to Stay in Hospital
If for any reason your baby has been hospitalized and you cannot be there, nurses may suggest pumping your breast milk so that it can be fed to your baby.
- Breastfeeding has Become too Painful
If for some reason you cannot stand the pain associated with breastfeeding (especially a teething baby) or you need a temporary rest from breastfeeding you may choose to start pumping milk for bottles.
- You Wish to Donate Breast Milk
Some mothers pump extra breast milk to donate to hospitals for babies whose mothers are unable to provide them with their own milk.
1. Ensure Your Pump is the Right Fit
Choosing the correct ‘Flange’ size is important in ensuring you optimize your breast milk.
Breast pumps often come with different sized shields as each woman’s breasts are different. The breast shield is the tunnel that connects the pump to your breast. It should leave your nipple enough space to move back and forth as the pump begins it’s motions. Your nipple should never be rubbing within the shield.
See the diagram below to ensure your breast pump is the right fit.
2. Check the Suction Settings
You should only pump at a setting that feels comfortable. While the highest setting may seem like the best option, if you are in discomfort your body will seize up and your milk flow will be affected.
Start off slowly and increase as you feel necessary. To stimulate your milk let down and in turn produce more breast milk, the best method is to start off on the lowest setting, once your milk begins to flow that’s when it’s time to turn things up to the highest setting before it begins to hurt. Once you begin to feel that your milk is not flowing freely, turn your breast pump back down.
3. Time Your Pumps
There is not an exact time limit to breast pumping, as each woman’s let down is different. You may wish to pump until you have no breast milk left. If you leave the pump on the lowest setting after no more milk is being produced, this will stimulate your body to produce more, which is what most breast pumping moms are hoping to achieve.
4. Ensure You are Warm and Comfortable
Being warm and comfortable will help you relax and in turn allow for your milk let-down. Keep a robe and some slippers handy if you intend on pumping during the night and ensure you have a breast pumping station, for example, a feeding chair with a coffee table where you can rest a drink of water and perhaps a lactation cookie or two. While reclining may seem like a good idea, leaning slightly forward will allow you to pump more breast milk.
5. Massage and Pump
Massaging your breast while using the pump will allow you to fully empty any milk out. Massaging your breasts in a circular motion while pumping will not only help release the milk from your ducts but it can also work to help increase milk supply.
6. Visualize Your Baby
Hearing, seeing or smelling your baby can help with milk let-down. This even works if you are breastfeeding from one breast, why not pump from the other? Keeping a photo of your baby nearby your breast pumping station can help you produce more breast milk.
7. Relax Your Muscles
Holding yourself tense will prevent your milk let-down. The key to breast pumping is being relaxed and warm. If you find that your muscles are tense, ask your partner or family member to give you a short back massage. A short massage can help you feel relaxed and ready to use the breast pump.
8. Play Calming Music
Playing music can help to keep you relaxed and calm and in turn allow for your milk to be pumped freely. If you are feeling overwhelmed as a new mom and the feeding experience, try playing some calming music while using the pump and see if it makes a difference.
9. Hand Pump
If you find that the automatic pump isn’t working out for you, a manual pump or even just using your hand to pump milk may be a better option. Some mothers swear by hand pumping milk for better results.
10. Take a Break
Take breaks to rest and refuel. Ensure you are getting enough food and water. Many new moms can feel overwhelmed and give up. There is no need to give up, all you need is a break. Even a 5 minute break from pumping can trick your body into thinking you are completing a new feed and in turn you may produce more milk.
11. Stay Hydrated
If you are dehydrated your body will struggle to produce large quantities of breast milk. If you are breastfeeding or breast pumping it is always a good idea to have a bottle of water close by.
12. Use a Double Pump
Using two pumps at once or a double pump allows you to empty both breasts at the same time. This means they are both working to produce more milk ready for your new babies next feed. While double pumping isn’t for everyone, if you feel up to it, it’s definitely worth a shot to produce more breast milk.
13. Pump Early in the Morning
Your breasts are most full during the morning and this is a great time to make use of all that breast milk. Setting yourself up to pump early say at 5am or 6am will see you producing more milk than any other time of the day.
14. Add Lactation Friendly Foods to Your Diet
Researching some lactation friendly foods or purchasing special lactation cookies can help you to produce more breast milk. While lactation cookies work for many moms, be careful how many you are consuming especially if they have an added sugar content.
15. Lean Forward When Pumping
Use gravity and lean slightly forward when you are breast pumping to allow your milk to easily flow into the bottle. This reduces a back up of milk in your breasts. You may have to use a breast pad on your opposite breast as leaning forward and pumping can tend to see the other breast leaking milk.
Common Mistakes Made When Breast Pumping
First and foremost, it is important to have realistic expectations when breast pumping. It takes time to breast feed a baby and in turn it takes time to breast pump. When you first begin pumping, you should not expect to see much milk. It takes time for your body to adjust to the pump, but don’t worry after some time of adjustment, and with the right techniques you should have no issues pumping 200, 300, 400 or even 500 ml of breast milk per pump. Stressing and panicking will inhibit your let down and in turn you will struggle to produce a large quantity of milk. Try relaxing and breathing exercises to calm yourself down.
Tips and Tricks for Breast Pumping Mothers
- Purchase Your Pump Prior to the Arrival of Your Baby
Being prepared will minimize any stresses you may have after you arrive home with your newborn baby. Purchasing your pump early will give you time to ensure it is the right fit and to purchase any additional pieces you may need.
- Set Up a Feeding/Pumping Station Prior to the Arrival of Your Baby
Set up a feeding station prior to the arrival of your bub. A feeding station should be located in a quiet area within your house and it should be warm and cozy. Having a coffee table next to your feeding chair will allow you to rest any items you will need to either pump or breastfeed.
- Purchase Some Cheap Labels
It is important if you are freezing your breast milk that you label the satchel with the date it was pumped. This way when you defrost the breast milk you can ensure it is still within its used by date.
- Research Lactation Friendly Foods
If you find that your milk supply has significantly decreased, many mothers suggest reviewing your diet. Your diet can have an affect on how much milk you produce. Research some foods that help with lactation and try and incorporate them into your diet.
Lactation Friendly Foods
Your diet will impact the amount of milk you produce along with a couple of other key factors mentioned earlier. If you wish to increase your milk supply, try adding some of the following foods to your diet:
- Nuts and Beans
- Green Leafed Vegetables
- Flax Seeds, Hemp Seeds and Chia Seeds
If you cannot seem to form a connection with the breast pump and you are struggling to see more than a drop of breast milk, you may need to book in to see a lactation specialist for more personal advice. It is best to see a consultant in the early days as once your milk has dried up your breastfeeding journey may cease.