Okay pumping mamas, this post is all about you! Whether you are pumping to store just a little extra for a night out or you’re a full-time working and pumping mom, having the know-how to get the most out of your pumping sessions is so valuable. Our lives as mothers are so busy that truly the minutes count! So if I were to share a few tips that may shave a few minutes off your pumping routine, you’d be all ears, right? I get questions and comments all the time from pumping moms like this:
“Can I pump just a few times a day but for longer periods and still keep up my milk supply?”
“I have a really good milk supply and don’t have the time to pump, I’ll be okay going 5-6 hours between pumping sessions, right?!”
My response is always the same. Frequent breast stimulation (every 2-3 hours you’re away from baby), is what maintains your milk production. It’s based on supply and demand. So you can’t get away with pumping less often, but you can make your pumping sessions as efficient as possible. Who doesn’t want to get more milk out in less time?!
Keep in mind, as your baby gets older and is feeding less often, you’ll want to pump at least as often as your baby is breastfeeding.
I know that you don’t want to spend your life hooked up to a machine that goes ee-ah-ee-ah for any longer than you need to! I remember pumping when I went back to work as a labor and delivery nurse and I was a little overwhelmed when I started but pretty soon I had a system down and I flew through my pumping routine!
Today I’m partnering with Love Majka to “hook you up” with 3 tips to help you get the most milk out in the least amount of time during your pumping sessions. Let’s be honest, we’ve got other things to do, right?!
#1 – Get familiar with your pump and it’s parts
If possible, get to know your pump before you ever need to use it. It can be frustrating trying to figure out how to work something for the first time when you need to use it right then! Becoming familiar with it a little while in advance can help ease any of those worries and create confidence with the pump.
Get the pump out of its box, read the instructions, take apart the parts and put them back together a few times, plug it in, power it on and off, and learn any of the functions.
Cheat sheet: The flange is the circular part of the pump that touches your breast and you want to be sure you have the right size! When you start pumping, check to be sure there’s just a little bit of space all the way around your nipple as it goes in and out. You can also book an online consult with us to make sure you have the right size!
#2 – Go hands-free
Did you know that pumping alone just provides suction, but when a baby is breastfeeding they are applying suction plus compression? So pumping by itself can leave out compression altogether. There’s a way around this! Research shows that using your hands (doing breast massage + compression) while your pumping gets the most milk out. Try a hands-free nursing bra so that you can use your hands to massage!
#3 – Establish a routine
Set reminders for your pumping breaks! It’s easy to get into work or travel mode and forget about the clock! Setting a reminder on your phone for specific times can help you remember to pump every 2-3 hours. Frequency in pumping is the most important thing when it comes to maintaining your milk supply when you’re away from your baby.
Pumping: Use the hands-on pumping technique for 10-15 minutes (depending on how much time you have).
Washing the parts:
A quick wash with hot, soapy water for the parts that come in contact with your breastmilk is recommended by the CDC. If you’re using a shared pump, wipe it down with a disinfectant. You can let your pump parts air dry on a paper towel.
Storing the milk:
If you’re at home, remember that breast milk is good for 5 hours at room temperature, so don’t feel like you have to rush it to the fridge if it’s the middle of the night. When you go to store it, you always want to label it with the date (you’ll always use the oldest milk first), and if you’re using a shared fridge (like at the hospital or work), you’ll want to add your initials, too. As soon as you can, get it stored either in the fridge or freezer, not on the doors and as far back as possible.
In a pinch and don’t have time for a full 10-15 min pumping break? A 2-5 min hand expression session over a sink or with a towel on your lap will help until you can get your pumping session in.
Extra Cheat Sheet: I offer a free training all about Milk Supply and how to ensure that you have the milk supply you are wanting / needing! Click here to find a time that works for you!
I hope these 3 tips on pumping were helpful! I’d love for you to join me over @lactationlink or at www.lactationlink.com!
Always rooting for you mama!
If you want to learn more about motherhood and breastfeeding, check out these free resources and posts to help you feel confident and prepared as a new mom!
- Majka Guide to a Healthy Milk Supply
- Majka's Fourth Trimester Guide
- Understanding the Importance of Self Care and Nutrition
- Breastfeeding Guide for New Moms