A lot of mamas start pumping for many reasons, sometimes even just to see how much they would produce and are in shock when there is not much coming out. Here are a few facts to ease your mind:
- If you’re exclusively breastfeeding and are pumping for the first time, don’t expect there to be an ocean of milk flooding your bottle. The mechanism of a pump is slightly different than a suckling baby, therefore it might take a bit of time to build up a pump supply. If you are pumping in the very early days after baby is born, use hand-expression techniques as the thick colostrum will only be wasted in the parts of your pump, catching it on a spoon or in a little sterilised cup is easier.
- To build up a good pumping milk supply, the key is to regularly pump every 2-3 hours (even in the night if you can) and pump until your breast feel soft and “empty” (remember they are not empty).
- If no milk is flowing, don’t be distressed. It might take a little tricking your body to give away the glorious milk. Have baby, a photo or a video of baby, next to you to look at, so hormones help your milk release. Oxytocin is released when baby is suckling and simply looking at your child. Once oxytocin is flowing milk will flow too and cause the letdown effect.
- Hand expression before you pump might also help to get things going.
- Just like breastfeeding, pumping takes practice. Your body has to adjust to the silicone parts trying to imitate what your baby normally does.
- To boost your milk supply, throw in some power pump sessions every now and then: pump for 10 minutes both sides – 10 minutes break – repeat.
- Remember breastfeeding is very different from pumping as it involves cluster-feeding, comfort suckling, etc, this builds up a milk supply greatly. Having baby near you for a cuddle whilst pumping will help.
- If you are pumping at work, do start before you are returning to work to get the hang of it first, so you are not stressed out at work if your milk might seem less. Additionally, you can start building up a good freezer supply for emergencies.
- Get yourself some delicious lactation-inducing products to boost your milk supply further.
- Give yourself some credit, pumping takes a lot more than breastfeeding and involves a completely different mind frame.
- Take a breath and try and relax. What milk will flow, will flow. You can build up a good supply with a lot of different tricks so just breathe, mama. You can do this!
Visit @milkmakingmama for more advice and support.