Pumping Basics - When, Why, How
You have the breast pump – now what? These tips, and a little practice, will go a long way in getting the most out of it.
Pumping (or expressing) is a great way to provide milk for your baby when you need to balance breastfeeding with all the other things going on in your life. These tips, and a little practice, can go a long way in getting the most out of your breast pump.
The Pumping “Why”
Life happens. Some moms plan to exclusively feed their baby from their breast. But there are times, either planned or unexpected, when breastfeeding moms need to be away from their baby.
Pumping generally falls into two “whys”: extra breastmilk for occasional use (such as when you have an appointment), or building supply for when you need to be away for longer stretches of time (such as going back to work).
The Pumping “When”
Many moms find they have the most success when they pump first thing in the morning. Resting has allowed their milk supply to replenish and is likely to be abundant. For easy and safe storage, we offer Lansinoh® Breastmilk Storage Bags and Lansinoh® Breastmilk Storage Bottles.
Going back to work takes a little more planning because you’ll want to have an ample amount saved in advance. To build up supply, pump daily after your baby has nursed. This ensures you have drained all the milk and signals your body to make more. You can store the excess in your freezer.
When you’re back at work, pump at the times when your baby would be feeding, then safely store the milk and bring it home to add to your freezer stash. Also see our Back-to-Work Checklist for more tips.
The Pumping “How”
Remember learning how to breastfeed your baby? For some of us, it happened quickly and easily, while for others it took a little more practice before it became second nature. Here are some breast pumping basics to get you started, but remember it might take some time to get the hang of it:
- “Wake up” your breasts by massaging or leaning over and gently shaking them.
- Wash your hands and take a few deep breaths to relax. This is key to getting your milk to flow freely (let-down reflex). Some moms find looking at a photo of their baby and listening to soothing music helps.
- Close your eyes, shut out the world, think of your sweet baby—this has been shown to help with let-down and milk flow.
- To pump, center the nipple in the flanges (the cone-like parts that go on the breast). Your breast needs to completely fill it to form a vacuum. Tilt the tunnel slightly downward so the milk flows naturally into the bottle.
- Plan on a 20-minute pumping session, but this could vary – some moms take more or less time. Don’t get discouraged if your output initially seems low. By pumping, you’re telling your body to keep producing milk and you’ll begin to see an increased amount.
- To build up your freezer supply, try pumping after nursing and add in extra sessions when baby is sleeping.
Give yourself a pat on the back! Pumping does require extra effort, but you’re doing something wonderful for your baby. We’re here to support you. If you have any questions about our breast milk pumping basics, Ask Our Experts.