Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How to Play the Pumping Game

I hope you all liked Laura's post yesterday as much as I did.

Today is all about how to pump and what kind of pump you need. We'll start out with the latter. This information comes straight from the Medela website because they are the only brand of pump I will use. I have 2 Harmony (manual) pumps, a Pump In Style Advance (double electric, single user), and I use a Lactina (double electric, rental grade) on a daily basis. I love Medela.

We'll start off with manual pumps. Every breastfeeding mom needs one; those days when you are engorged it's nice to have a way to relieve some of that pressure. Also, even if you have an electric pump you need a manual just in case something happens to your pump. Hand pumps are only convenient if you are only going to be away from your bay once in awhile; I would say no more than once a week for no longer than a couple of hours.

If you are going to be away from your baby a little more frequently, but probably less than if you had a part time job, I would go with a mini electric. It is faster than the hand pump and most of them are battery powered so you don't need a power source to pump. They are still not all that efficient, but will probably get the job done.

If you are going to be working and pumping you need a double electric pump. They are much more efficient than the single pumps so you will spend less time pumping and get more milk.

The last pump would be a hospital rental grade pump. These pumps are great for a working mom, too. They are ideal for a mom with premature babies, a low supply, or a mom that is exclusively pumping. These pumps are actually only a motor that moves a piston to create suction.

Choosing the right pump is a big part of keeping your milk supply up while you are away from your kiddo. And no, this is not a sponsored post, just my own opinions.

Now that you have a pump, we should talk about getting the milk out of your breasts and into a bottle.

  1. Get breast shields that fit your body. Most of the big pump brands sell differently sized shields, or flanges, to fit your own particular nipple and breast size. I cannot get in to fitting a shield for you, but if you are uncomfortable while pumping talk to a Lactation Consultant and get the right size.

  2. Try to find an area that you are comfortable in. I know that sometimes it will not be possible, but try to find an atmosphere where you can relax.

  3. Bring a picture of your baby and maybe even his blanket. The more you think about your baby and nursing the more hormones your body will release and the better you will let down.

  4. Do what feels right. When I am at work and I pump I take my name badge off and minimize everything on my screen so that work is not looking at me while I am pumping. Sometimes I read book, sometimes I read blogs.

  5. Relax. Take a few deep breaths and try to relax the muscles in your back and chest. Meditate if you need to.

  6. Don't get discouraged. If you aren't getting much milk at a particular session, stop pumping. Take a break for a minute or 2 and then try again. Obviously if this persists you need to speak to a doctor or LC and get some help.

  7. Don't be afraid to ask for help. This one speaks for itself. Whatever you need, ask for it. If something isn't working like you think it should find someone that knows.

I hope this helps some of you new moms or moms to be that are facing the dreaded pumping monster. Most women hate pumping. It's doesn't feel the best and it interrupts your day. But you are doing what is best for your baby and that makes you amazing.


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