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Breast pumping is often a practical, convenient way for mothers to feed their baby. The following article will give you an idea of what to expect if you choose to pump milk for your child.
When Pumping is Recommended
For many mothers, breastfeeding is ideal. But there are many reasons you might choose to use a breast pump, some of which include:
- Your baby has difficulty latching and can’t feed directly from the breast.
- You’re looking to increase your milk production.
- You need to drain your breast to help your mastitis heal.
- You want to have a supply readily available for when you are away from your baby.
When to Start Pumping
If you are primarily breastfeeding:
- This means that, for most of the time, you choose for your baby to receive milk directly from the breast.
- This is usually possible if your baby is healthy, full-term, and doesn’t have any difficulties latching.
- You can wait a couple of weeks to begin pumping and storing milk.
- Once you do start pumping, pump in the morning as this is when you’ll typically have the most milk available.
- Try to space out breastfeeding and breast pumping sessions so that there’s enough milk for your baby to nurse.
- If your baby does want to nurse right after you pump, allow them! Some babies are willing to feed longer to get enough milk.
If you don’t breastfeed right away:
- This usually means that your baby can’t latch, is preterm or too ill to breastfeed, or that you have chosen to exclusively breast pump.
- You should start pumping as soon as possible after delivery (within one to six hours is ideal).
- Start off pumping 8-10 times every 24 hours. You should eventually reach your full milk production (anywhere from 750-1,035 mL).
- Once you reach your full production, keep to a schedule that continues producing 750-1,035 mL a day.
For other scenarios (increasing your milk supply, decreasing your milk supply and preventing excess production, weaning yourself from the pump, etc.), research different methods online and determine the one that is best for your circumstances.
Choosing the Right Pump
There are many different types of breast pumps on the market. To create the suction around the nipple, pumps can use manual, battery, or electric power. There are single and double types that can extract milk either one or two breasts at a time. Again, research the different types available and choose the one that is best for you.
Learning How to Pump
Become familiar with the basics of breast pumping during your pregnancy. You have plenty of time to learn the steps and get comfortable with the process. It is also important to read the instructions for your breast pump.
When you are scheduled to pump, make sure you can do it in a quiet, comfortable setting. Make sure to wash your hands before beginning and clean your equipment afterwards.
Does Pumping Hurt?
If you are using a breast shield that is properly sized and the suction isn’t too extreme, breast pumping shouldn’t be painful. Consult a specialist if you consistently experience discomfort.
Properly Storing Milk
Once you successfully pump, you need to store the milk. Breast milk can be left at room temperature for four hours, in the fridge for eight days, and up to nine months in the freezer!
When it comes to breast pumping, you should be armed with as much information as possible. If you keep these tips in mind and continue to do your own research, you should have a wonderful experience with breast pumping!