Breast pumping, expressing and storing breastmilk are excellent ways to make sure your baby receives all the benefits of breastmilk if you need to be away or are unable to breastfeed.
It is essential that you select the pump that best suits your needs and lifestyle. Please visit our Guide to Choosing a Breast Pumpto select the breast pump best suited to your individual needs.
However, there are some tricks to pumping that can make it an easier, more efficient and therefore more satisfying process. Follow our ten top pumping tips to help you express that ‘liquid gold’ for your little one.
- It is so important to invest in a quality pump that suits your needs. A good pump will save you time, stress and money in the long run. The best and most efficient types of pumps are hospital grade and double electric, so you can pump from both sides.
- Sit in a comfortable chair with your back straight and supported. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor and you use a pillow or cushion to support the arm holding the pump. Make sure you are warm and relaxed.
- Before and during expressing, massage your breasts in a clock-wise circular motion to encourage a good flow.
- When you are ready to begin, support your breast from underneath by placing your fingers flat on your ribs with your first finger between your breast and your ribs. Gently ease your nipple into the funnel of the pump and ensure it is in the centre of the funnel for maximum suction.
- Good breast pumps will mimic the sucking action of your baby, stimulating your milk let-down. You should continue to pump from each breast until the milk runs out. This will ensure that your supply is plentiful for the next time you need to feed or express.
- Breathe. Breathe deeply. If you are struggling with expressing it can be a stressful experience and this can affect your let-down. Slow breathing automatically calms the nervous system so try this simple exercise: breathe in for the count of 5, breathe out for the count of 6, and pause for the count of one. Repeat until relaxed.
- Looking at pictures of your baby can also stimulate the let-down reflex. Watching a video of my daughter laughing and babbling really helped me.
- Find the time of day that works best for you. Some women say their flow is best in the morning, while some get more out at night. You know your body and your baby so let this be your guide.
Lactation cookies! What better excuse to sit down and have a cup of tea or coffee and a cookie than eating cookies that stimulate your milk supply!
- Finally, don’t be disheartened if it takes a while to get the hang of pumping, or if some days are better than others. Pumping and expressing is a learned skill and the more you practise the better and more proficient you will become.
If you are struggling with expressing or feeding, then seeing a lactation consultant or contacting the Australian Breastfeeding Association can provide an invaluable source of support. Good luck with your pumping adventures!