Exclusively pumping, pumping and nursing combination, formula feeding, or exclusively breastfeeding. There are several ways to feed your baby, and it depends on the mom (and baby) to decide what is best for them. In the end fed is best as they say.
Those moms who decide to exclusively pump or pump and nurse are their own kind of super heroes. They are spending their days attached to a machine in addition to feeding their baby either by bottle or breast, or both. Their nipples become raw and pained because of the force of the pump, but they keep going to provide the best nourishment for their babies.
But sometimes pumping breastmilk can be difficult. Your supply can decrease for a number of reasons, and properly storing, keeping, and using breastmilk can be confusing. Here are 6 tips for moms who are having trouble pumping:
1Start Pumping Right Away
2Let Your Baby Nurse Even if You Just Pumped
You may feel like there is nothing left after a pumping session, but if you are both nursing and pumping, don’t be afraid to let your baby nurse even though you just pumped. If anything, this will help boost your supply and get even more ounces out the next time you sit down with Carol (or whatever you name your pump).
3Take Care of Yourself
The number one rule after having a baby is to make sure you take care of yourself. When you are exclusively pumping or doing a nursing-pumping combo, this is especially important because your intake of food, water, and the amount of rest you are getting can directly affect your supply. There are several ways to take care of yourself and make sure you are getting the nutrients needed to create a better supply such as:
- Drink plenty of water- The general rule for pumping is to drink one glass of water each time you pump.
- Eat well– Some foods that can naturally help boost your supply include:
- Get plenty of rest- Easier said than done, mama. We know. But remember that this madness is just a season and right now the most important thing is you and your baby.
- Work Out– We just told you to rest and now we are telling you to work out? Believe it or not, both are equally important. Find a gym with daycare or find a workout you can do at home (Pinterest is your best friend for this). Even taking a walk around your neighborhood (or to the nearest Starbucks) is a great way to rack up those steps.
4Properly Store Breastmilk to Be Used for as Long as Possible
The Centers for Disease Control gives great guidelines on how to store breastmilk. Breastmilk can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days while frozen breastmilk can be used for up to a year. If you have already thawed the breastmilk to be used it can stay in the fridge for a day but never refreeze it as bacteria has already started to grow the moment it begins to thaw.
Pumping moms, especially those who are having trouble expressing breastmilk, should pump as often as possible (again, easier said than done), and store their breastmilk properly so that it can be used when needed. Be sure to store milk in small amounts (usually 4 ounces or less) so that you don’t end up thawing more than necessary- you can always thaw more but if you thaw too much chances are you will end up throwing some out. And no moms want to watch perfectly good breastmilk go down the drain.
6Decrease Your Anxiety
It is easier said than done, but if your supply suddenly tanks or you feel like you’re just not producing enough try not to over-analyze. Google is both your best friend and your worst enemy. You can get some great tips from moms who have been there but you can also drive yourself crazy trying to figure out if you should buy supplements, drink this, or eat that. Take a deep breath and remember that pumping is hard. You’re probably exhausted and no one loves being attached to a machine. Give yourself a break and remember that feeding your baby is most important no matter whether it is breastmilk or formula.
Pumping is hard work. It is another step in the process of taking care of your sweet new baby, and it can be exhausting. Having a difficult time pumping breastmilk is even more daunting. You find yourself worrying about how to increase your supply, how to get yourself to express more, and if you’re going to have enough to feed your baby. You wake up at all hours, even when your baby is sleeping, just to pump a little extra. In the end, feeding your baby however you can is the most important. So pump away, mama. You got this.
WANT TO READ MORE?
For the latest Breast Pump Cleaning Guidelines, click here.
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