Andrea, my go-to exclusive pumper, has shared her top five tips for successful pumping! Check out my interview with her over here.
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Tip #1: Get yourself a good hospital-grade double pump. I tried two brands and found Medela Symphony to be the best. (Check if your insurance covers a pump! Often it will!)
Tip #2: Get a pumping bra… Yes I know they are not sexy but they hold the cups well against your skin, create a good suction and you can carry on with emails, calls and even being with your baby.
There it is — the big Medela Symphony over there.
I was told so many times to think of my baby when pumping… that didn’t work for me. I found I couldn’t pump properly. I distracted myself with a book or facebook or something so I wouldn’t stress about how much milk I would be able to pump.
Tip #4: Store your milk in small volumes to avoid waste. Babies don’t follow rule-books on how much they should drink. My midwife suggested 80mls in each bag so that I wouldn’t create too much waste when defrosting or warming the milk.
Tip #5: Try not to over-pump….it hurts!!! The best way I found was less suction and more tempo…. (Edit: “This would be my Tip #6! I totally forgot about this one! To pump more, use hands-on pumping.)
Thanks Andrea! It’s great to be able to share some tips from an experienced pumper. But because I’m me, I can’t post pumping info without just a little extra important info! Nobody is surprised, I’m sure. Brevity has never been my strong suit.
The most important thing to know about pumping is that your milk output in no way represents the amount of milk that you are producing. Some women can pump over 200ml in one sitting, others will sit there with incredibly full breasts and a thriving, exclusively breastfed baby, and not be able to get one single drop out of their breasts during a pumping session. If you have tried pumping and it isn’t working, or you are getting very little, don’t think that this means you have low supply!
I had such bad pumping experiences with my first, that I didn’t touch a pump whatsoever until I went away for a night when my little one was 18 months! In the words of Jack Newman, “Do what you can. A mother exhausted from pumping is probably no further ahead with milk production. And yes, it is not necessary to express your milk if this is a burden and makes you want to stop altogether.”
So, to all the new mamas out there pumping away, take a read of Andrea’s tips, take a deep breath, and give that little bubba of yours a kiss. <3 We are all amazing mamas, doing all that we can.