Oh... okay then.
We are not hurt. It's fine. We're fine. Everything...is fine.
For those of you who haven't already seen it 🙄🙄🙄, we put together a list of 12 tips for you to help with your breast pumping journey, and called it #12DaysOfPumping for funzies.
Get it? 😂 12 Days of Christmas, 12 days of Pumping? No? Okay, we'll stop. Sorry. 😬
Anywaaays, we wanted you to have these tips because whether you are an exclusive pumper or you pump occasionally, pumping can suck. (PUN INTENDED hahaha). Ok sorry.
So we did some research, talked to a lactation consultant, and gathered some information to get you started. Continue reading to learn about some tips and hacks that can help you make your pumping sessions a little more pleasant.
1) Understand your options.
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurers are required to cover the cost of breastfeeding support, counseling, and equipment for nursing moms. If you are a new mom looking for a breast pump. Make sure you you know what your options are. The biggest difference between the pumps is closed system vs. open system.
A closed system pump has a barrier between the milk collection kit and the pump mechanism to prevent contamination. This barrier helps ensure that your milk travels through a hygienic route and that there is no milk overflow or leaking into the pump mechanism. The open-system pump does not have a milk barrier.
2) Find flanges that fit.
Mamas, this one is important! Using the wrong sized flange can really injure your nipples. If your breast shield is too big, it could tug and pull at your skin, causing nipple soreness. If your breast shield is too small, it could cause pinching and blisters. Your nipple should not feel compressed in any way, and you should not feel any pain while pumping. If pumping is painful for you, you are most likely using a wrong sized flange. TRICARE covers up to six visits to a lactation consultant. Make sure to take advantage of that and get help finding the right-sized flange for you.
3) Have backup parts on hand.
It is super important to have backup breast pump parts like bottles, milk storage bags, flanges, tubing, and connectors. You may think that it is unnecessary, but it's not! With a newborn baby or as a working mom, you probably won't have time to keep everything washed and ready. Having backups can save you some time and keep you from frantically washing your pump parts. Also, you never know when your pumping parts could give out or go down the drain. Therefore, it is always a good idea to keep backups on hand. Especially during the holiday season, when you already have so much going on.
4) Clean your pumping parts regularly.
Mamas, cleaning your breast pump parts is very important! All breast pump parts, such as bottles, breast shields, and valves, come in contact with breast milk, and it is absolutely crucial to clean them after each use. The FDA came up with new guidelines to emphasize the importance of cleaning your breast pump. For the best way to clean your breast pump, consult your breast pump's manufacturer's instructions. Medela and Spectra both have thorough instructions on cleaning your breast pump equipment to ensure your expressed milk is safe for your baby.
Also, if you are tired of rinsing your milk storage bottles a million times before pumping, we've got a solution for you. Three words.
You can use these to pump into, store, and directly feed your baby. No more dirty bottles, no leaks, and no milk transfer.
These pouches are one of our BEST-selling products. You don't have to believe us, you can check out what other moms are saying about them.
Don't be this guy. Try the Kiinde bags out for some hassle-free, washing-bottles-twenty-times-a-day-free pumping!
5) Make a DIY Pumping Bra.
We've got a game-changing pumping hack for you! You don't want to drop too much money on good nursing bra, but are you also tired of holding on to your flanges while you sit there for 30 minutes pumping? Well, we have got just the right thing for you! You can save some money and make a DIY pumping bra with just a sports bra, a pair of scissors, a marker, and flanges for measurement.
Mamas, let's get crafty! We've attached a link here for a tutorial you can follow.
6) Nipple cream.
Breast pumping can be uncomfortable, but it should not be painful. In the early days of pumping, most moms experience the pain of damaged or sore nipples. If you are one of them, try rubbing some nipple cream on your flanges or your breasts before pumping to minimize the soreness. Here's a list of the 10 best nipple creams recommended by The Bump.
7) Toggle between simulation phases.
Babies initially use short, fast sucks which triggers your let-down. As the milk starts to flow, the baby will begin to actively feed using a slow, rhythmic pattern. Most electric breast pumps come with two stimulation phases to mimic your baby’s natural sucking rhythm.
The Medela pumps that we carry come with a Stimulation Phase, which has a pumping rhythm of >100 cycles/min and is fast and efficient to start milk flow. Once the milk starts to flow, then it can be switched to the Expression Phase, which has a slower pumping rhythm of between 42 and 87 cycles/min.
Spectra pumps also have a Let-Down/Massage mode designed to stimulate your body’s letdown reflex. Then the pump will switch to the Expression Mode, a deeper and slower pattern to mimic your baby’s suckles.
You can switch back between the modes as you need and adjust the cycle and strength of the suction.
8) Establish a pumping routine.
Establishing a routine before you start pumping can help you get in the zone. Before you start pumping, wash your hands and get some water. If you are pumping at work, hang a “Do Not Disturb” door sign. Watch some videos or look at a picture of your baby to psychologically help your milk let down. Use auditory cues like relaxing music or the sound of your baby cooing. Massage each breast with a circular motion, especially in areas that feel full. These are just some tips that you can use. You should use whatever techniques that you think may work for you.
Our super cute door signs ft. Baby, the plant. You can request these cuties with your next order with us, and we will ship them out to you.
9) Divide pumped milk into small servings.
Dividing milk into smaller serving helps avoid waste and makes it easier to thaw and warm milk. You can store your milk in small storage bags in 1-4 ounces portions based on your baby eating patterns. Always remember to date the bag. Avoid adding warm milk to previously refrigerated or thawed milk. If your baby does not finish milk at one feed or if you have to open another portion, it is safe to refrigerate the remaining milk and offer again within 1-2 hours before it is discarded. Do not re-freeze.
10) Try double pumping.
Double pumping (pumping both breasts simultaneously) is not only faster, but it is also more efficient at generating milk output. Compared to single pumping, double pumping results in 18% more milk volume being pumped over a 15-minute pumping duration. It also results in increased breast drainage thereby yielding milk with a higher fat content.
11) Use weekends for exclusive nursing.
In order to maintain a good supply, it is good practice to breastfeed as often as you can. If you are a working mother, that can be a little tricky, so consider focusing your weekends for exclusive breastfeeding. Grab some snacks, turn on the TV, put your feet up on the ottoman, snuggle with your baby, and offer your baby a feeding whenever he/she seems hungry. A baby’s natural suck is more efficient in stimulating milk production. Try to find some time on the weekend, skip the pumping, and nurse instead.
12) Take care of yourself!
This one is super important. Stay hydrated, nourish yourself, eat healthy, get comfortable, and find time to relax. Stress can hinder your letdown, so make sure you relax and find time for yourself to do things that you like.
What is good for you, is good for your baby.
We hope these tips helped you out. Let us know if you have any other advice that you’d like to share with other pumping moms in the comments below.
Happy Pumping, mamas!