As many of you will realise by now, I am a breastfeeding mum. We are still going strong 14 months down the line, though that’s not to say that it’s been solely breastfeeding. He does have a bottle. I must say its not his preferred method even though we did try to introduce it when he was tiny… After a lot of trial and error he will take a bottle.
Then, over Christmas (I know, I know, it’s June) he was sick. Really snotty, bunged up, horrible sick. So sick he stopped feeding because he couldn’t latch on and drink, and breathe all at the same time. You know the horrible colds they get? And then some on top of that? He had that. He could however drink from a bottle and breathe.
My boobs were fit to burst so I hit the pump. Though it had been so long, coupled with mass sleep deprivation from 3 hours walking round the house with a poorly baby through the night, I’d forgotten what to do, which is where this post came from! Instead of my normal no problem 5ozs, out dripped a measly 1oz. I had a hungry baby. My boobs were still bursting and I didn’t know what to do.
In the end I took my own advice which was to hold the baby to get the milk flowing, which it did in the end.
After all of this, when I had a little bit more sleep, I realised that a lot of us will have tips to share, a lot of breast pumps will have lactation consultants attached to them, so I went out searching for some of the best tips for when you use a breast pump.
I turned to you lovely lot via the Positive About Breastfeeding Facebook page, and as always you didn’t let me down…
Your Breast Pump Advice
“Pump early hours or first thing always worked best for me.” – Claire
“Same time every day. Then it doesn’t interfere with supply.” – Lindsay
“Dont’t do it when your stressed or on a deadline. Relax! I don’t pump often but I’ve made the mistake of doing it when I absolutley have to get a good amount ie because I’m going to be out etc and always get a lot lot less when i’m stressed.” – Hannah, Hi Baby
“Swap between manual and hand, seems to help move the milk forward (hand) and then the pump takes it from just behind the nipple.” – Lauren
“I always watch comedy and never look at the bottle! I have an ardo calypso double that makes things so easy, I mimick let down and then pump!” – Lucy
“Drink 2 big glasses of water before pumping.” – Stacey
“Get a pump that works for you. I always struggled with my old pump, it just flows out with my new one. I didn’t realise pumps were different!” – Katherine
“If my supply started to drop I would always finish by hand expressing after the pump had stopped getting anything out. I’d get an extra ounce, at least, from each boob and it very quickly upped my supply over a couple of days.” – Jen
“Same time every day, be comfortable and relax.” – Donna
“Avoid pumping within the first 6 to 8 weeks of your breastfeeding journey (if you can), to give your body the chance to establish your supply based on your baby’s needs.
If you need to pump to increase your supply, consider pumping in the middle of the night or in the early morning when your production is at its highest.” – Adventures of a Novice Mum
Having had a Medela Swing this time round I was ecstatic that I got chance to speak to Medela’s lactation consultant….
Tips from Medela UK’s Lactation Consultant
What is your top tip for Mum’s who want to pump?
Expressing your milk for your baby is a way of supporting milk production and can provide some lifestyle flexibility.
If you want to express because baby is born early, unwell, having feeding difficulties or you have challenges with inverted nipples, mastitis, or need a medication break and are unable to nurse – you can express from birth. Initiation is important with both breastfeeding and pumping and there is a magic week after birth to activate all the milk cells to maximise milk production. In these early days pumping 8-12 times a day is advised if baby not feeding or if not effectively after every feed. A Symphony double pump is the best for this period.
If for a lifestyle choice – ie dad wants to assist with feeding – it is advisable to get breastfeeding off to a good start , lots of nursing means lots of practice and your milk production is well established before you start expressing. Start with pumping at a time that fits you, if it is early in your breastfeeding journey pump only from one breast just in case little one wakes early until you get an idea of little ones feeding preferences.
Why is Medela’s swing so effective?
The swing is a lovely personal pump that will compliment your breastfeeding journey if you are looking for occasional expressing. The stimulation phase followed by expression triggers your milk letdown effectively just like baby does and the expression cycle removes the available milk. If you are looking at a lot of expressing it is important to choose the right breast pump. A double breast pump such as the Swing Maxi and Freestyle provides you with this 2 phase technology but the gain of a double pump is more milk than a single swing pump and the time saved.
For many Mums pumping is one way for them to continue their breastfeeding journey, there is often a lot of confusion around milk storage and pumping into the same milk throughout the day – can you clarify what is best?
Human milk is a gift that needs careful handling to maintain the amazing factors that it holds within. Ideally plan ahead and use fresh when you can – you can store expressed breastmilk in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Ideally pump the milk and allow to cool in the fridge before adding to another bottle. Pooled milk is best stored in 24 hour batches eg. all of todays 21st together. When you add warm to cold it affects how it works and can shorten the shelf life so to extend cool both separately and then combine, cool next pumping session then add to batch.
Pooled milk that you are unlikely to use fresh can be placed in the freezer.
What about you – what are your top tips?