Breastfeeding

Pumping Tips

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So the day is finally here and it’s time to return to work. Remember this might be a difficult day for you, so prepare. It can be an emotional time to leave your baby and to actually start working. It’s been months where you’re home. It can take a few days or even a few weeks to actually get back in the swing of things but you’re going to get there.

I recommend on your first week back to start with a short week. That means don’t plan your first day back as a Monday where you will need to work an entire week right away. Start on a Wednesday or Thursday, that will give you two days before a weekend and a day off, that way you have time to regroup again and then get back to work on Monday.

The key to pumping is going to be your ability to relax which may not be so easy when you know that you’ll only have so much time and you have to get it done. There are many things that you can try to help this process and make expressing your milk that much easier for you.

Try some relaxing music. Whatever you need to do to not be tense, because pumping and tenseness just don’t go hand and hand. Setting up an environment with music, may be having a cup of tea, reading a magazine, or something that will really work, in reminding yourself of your baby.

Bring a picture of your baby that you can look at, or even a recording your baby’s coos so you can listen to your baby while you’re pumping. I’m sure most of you have had that experience of hearing a baby cry and feeling your milk let down. I know, I’ve had that happen. Pack a onesie or a little outfit that your baby wore the day before that smells like your baby. Smell is a really strong sense that you have with your baby. Just like your baby loves the scent of you, the scent of your baby can also help your milk to let down and make pumping that much easier.

Whatever you do, don’t “bottle watch”. You know what I’m talking about when I say bottle watch. If you sit and look at the bottles while you’re trying to pump, it is going to drive you crazy. You’ve got to take your mind off of it. It’s hard to do, I know, but try to come up with some kind of activity, or just close your eyes and meditate. There are audio CDs out there that help you to do visualizations while you’re nursing or while you’re pumping and this can be really relaxing and helpful.

Everyone is different. For some people they can just put the pump up to their breast and the milk just flows out. My sister was one of those people who could just put the pump on, milk would just fill up the bottles and she was done. I was never one of those people that could do that, although I was able to exclusively breastfeed and pump for over a year with both of my girls. It is important not to compare yourself to other moms that may have an easier time with it than you. It does not mean that there is something wrong, it just means that you will need to use other techniques that will work for you.

Breast massage and compression during pumping is another great technique to use in order to get the milk to flow faster and empty your breast more efficiently. There’s nothing wrong with that and it may be just what you need while you’re pumping to keep the milk flowing.

Start by pumping on one side only. Hold the pump up to your breast with your opposite hand. With the same side hand as your breast…right breast, right hand…left breast, left hand…hold your breast with your hand in the form of a C with your thumb on the top and the other four fingers underneath. Gently massage and compress the breast in a downward motion as if you are milking it and pushing the milk down towards the nipple. For most moms this technique is very effective at helping the milk to flow and also to get more out.

Some moms can pump both breasts at the same time and if you can that’s great because it can save you time. Some can only do one side at a time to be really effective because they need to compress while they’re doing it, plus depending on the strength of the pump you have, the divided suction on the pump from doing both sides at the same time, may just not be enough.

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