Today I want to share some of my pumping tips and my breastfeeding journey so far. I think this is something most of us think will come naturally but it’s more challenging than it seems.
The first month was emotionally exhausting. With the heighten hormones, baby blues is real. I was really struggling to get my milk production up and was upset that I could not exclusively breastfeed my baby.
Being hardheaded, I kept trying. I would try to breastfeed, then supplement with formula, and pump when I can afterwards.
One annoying thing is how often you have to sterilize everything – and these sterilizing machines often times do not come with a “dry” setting. So it takes forever to dry on a rack… which is not practical since my baby is on a 3 hour eating schedule.
It was a lot of work to pump – and to get so little! In the first month, when my husband wasted breastmilk while feeding our baby – it would devastate me. I’m not an emotional person, but I would cry thinking about how hard I worked to get each drop out. Luckily, that phrase has passed now. So today I wanted to share what made it easier for me to pump.
– Buy spare parts
– Assemble pump and store in a container
– Pump directly into breastmilk bag if bottles are not available
– Go hands free
– Use a stopwatch
Buying Spare Parts
One thing that helped me save time and make my life easier was buying spare parts to my breast pump. Luckily Medela sells spare parts (and all on Amazon too!) – so I ordered extra breastshields, connectors ,valves and bottles just so that I can have them ready to go for the next pumping session while the other ones are drying off. This helped me a lot.
How many spare parts do you need? Depends on how often you want to clean and sterilize… I went with 3 of each.
So whatever brand you decide to go with, I would check to see if you can buy spare parts to make your life easier.
Assembling the pump
Once your parts are dry, this just makes it easier for you to grab what you need and start pumping. Especially when you’re up at 3AM pumping in the dark.
Pumping directly into a bag
A lot of brands offer those storage bags for breastmilk. Now I didn’t realize Medela had a specific “pump and save” bag where it makes it easier for you to pump directly into the bag – so if you can, get those. If not, I ended up wrapping an elastic band around the bag and connector so that I could pump directly into the bag. If you like, you can sterilize those elastic bands too lol.
Go Hands Free
A couple a brands offer this – it’s basically a strapless bra with two holes that hold your breastshields in place. Trust me, if you pump – this is worth the investment. That way you have your hands free to browse the internet, eat, fold laundry… or just use your spare hands to squeeze your breasts to get that milk pumping out.
Use a stopwatch
I use a stopwatch on my iPhone every time I pump. That way I know how long I’ve been pumping for – or how long I’ve pumped on each side if I’m not double pumping. I usually aim for 15 minutes.
Another tip I read was, pump, pause for a few minutes and try again to get a second let down. I haven’t really tried this yet.
I feel like new moms have a lot of pressure to breastfeed their babies. A lot of resources say that your body will adjust to your babies needs. But at the same time, do whats right for you and your baby. I personally don’t think it’s good to be too stubborn when your baby is crying because he’s still hungry. Try your best to breastfeed and supplement if you need to. If you’re concerned about your milk supply – try to pump out the same amount you supplemented. Or if you want to formula feed, that’s fine too. I had an in-house nurse that made it sound like I was feeding my baby poison and how she sees a significant difference between breastfed babies and formula babies (less brighter, more lethargic). For the record, I was a formula fed baby and I consider myself in excellent health and smarter than average. K Thanks.