So you want to get a breast pump (or perhaps you’re already the proud owner of one). Congrats! Here are a few things to know before you flip the switch.
1. Check your insurance coverage
It’s a good idea to contact your insurance company before baby arrives to understand your benefits and get your pump before you need it. Most health insurance policies will provide a double electric breast pump at no cost to mom – yes, you read that right! You can also use our simple insurance locator to see whether your policy covers our Signature Pro or Smartpump breast pumps.
2. Know that comfort is key
If you’re planning to go back to work or will need to pump frequently, here’s our biggest tip: Get a comfortable pump. Seriously. A comfy pump can make a huge difference. Look for one with multiple settings that you can adjust to your liking. And check out the ComfortFit Flanges on our Smartpump and Signature Pro breast pumps. Their soft, flexible rims create gentle suction with no pinchy inserts – ahhhhh, we feel better already!
3. Get to know your pump before baby arrives
If your insurance is cool with it, you can arrange get your pump before baby comes. Take time to get to know one another: Cuddle on the couch, take it for a nice meal…we mean, read the instruction manual! Then sanitize the pump and store it in an airtight plastic bag so it’s ready when you are. Once baby arrives, you’ll be glad you did. Just don’t get too familiar (see #5).
4. Work It Out
It may seem sooooo far away, but bear with us: You spend a lot of time at work (we repeat, a lot). And if you plan to breastfeed and go back to the daily grind, you’ll want to schedule time to pump during the workday. Arrange a chat with HR or your manager before you head out on maternity leave.
On the agenda:
- Scheduling pumping breaks, ideally at your baby’s regular nursing times;
- Finding a clean, quiet, and private space to do it; and
- Deciding where to store your expressed milk.
If your office doesn’t already have a designated lactation room—no, the ladies’ room doesn’t cut it!—and refrigerator space, then this will give them time to make arrangements. See our Back to Work Checklist for more tips on transitioning into your new role as a Working Breastfeeding Mother.
5. Wait for baby
If you’re Type A, you might be wondering if you can get a jump on pumping and build up your supply. Slow down, Sister - it’s not a good idea to pump (or even hand-massage your breasts) during pregnancy. Pumping releases oxytocin, the hormone that causes uterine contractions, and it could lead to premature labor. So resist that overachiever urge. Baby will be here soon enough!
6. Use breast massage
Your baby will be much more efficient at removing milk from your breasts than any breast pump. But you can help things along with massage. A recent study found that breast massage while pumping increases milk production. (Hint: This is much easier with a pumping bra.)
7. Don’t rush it
Even after your little one arrives, you may not need to start pumping right away. Feeding your baby often, directly at the breast, is the best way to establish your milk supply. Your baby doesn’t require a freezer full of breastmilk early on, only what they'll eat while you’re away. So don’t sweat it. You’ve got this, mama.
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