8 Tips for Pumping mums, written by a midwife!
As you may know, many women will need to pump after giving birth for a variety of reasons. These can include; wanting to increase your milk supply, if your baby is separated from you, if your bub is in the NICU or by choice if a mum does not want to breastfeed.
At first, pumping can feel overwhelming, so I thought I’d share some of my best tips for making the pumping experience a little easier for you.
Education is key.
If you plan to feed your baby breastmilk, educate yourself on all things breastfeeding and pumping. Even if you aren't sure if you will need or want to express, it is great to have the knowledge if the need arises. If you have previously had issues breastfeeding, see a lactation consultant in pregnancy make a personalized plan!
Expressing can be done in two ways, with a pump or hand expressing. In those first few days after birth when you have colostrum, and your milk hasn't yet come in, you may need to hand express, which the midwives will assist you with.
It is important to also know which pump will work best for you and your feeding journey e.g. an electric pump, a manual pump like the Haakaa pump, which also catches let-down on the opposite side to which you are feeding.
Ask around, get recommendations, and see what suits you.
Hydration, Hydration, Hydration!
Breast Milk is made up of approximately 88% water, which means it is very important for breastfeeding or expressing mama to be well hydrated to keep up the supply. Did you know coconut water and drinks with electrolytes are also a great hydrating option?
Skin to skin
This is one of the best ways to stimulate your milk supply. When your baby is naked on your bare chest, known as skin to skin, it causes your body to produce the hormone of love, oxytocin, which helps your milk supply to regulate and increase. It also promotes bonding, regulates bubs temperature and heart rate as well as soothes and calms baby! Try to do this a few times a day before or after a feed.
Milk Making Foods
Nourish your body by eating the rainbow. Healthy, nutritious meals and snacks, and more importantly eating foods that contain galactagogues, which help to increase your milk supply. The Franjo’s Kitchen tanker toppers are packed with these ingredients, grab a cuppa and a cookie and start pumping that milk mama: https://franjoskitchenhk.com/collections/frontpage/products/choc-chip-lactation-cookies-巧克力顆粒-催乳曲奇
For the mums who have babies in the NICU or have to go back to work before their milk supply is established, looking at a photo/video of your baby is so important to continue to produce your milk making hormones. When watching a video of your baby just before and during pumping, your body will react with the ‘let down reflex’, which is simply the release of milk from the breast - amazing hey! This may also happen when you hear a baby cry!
Just like breastfeeding, pumping works on supply and demand, the more milk you draw out, the more you will make. Pump every 3-4 hours to establish and maintain a good milk supply.
Storing Milk Safely
Breast milk needs to be labeled and stored very carefully, mums!
Introduce a good system for storing and labeling your milk. Your storage units must each have the date and time of when the milk was pumped, and be stored following the guidelines of your country. Australian breastfeeding has a great guide to follow below:
Pump straight into bottles
This may not suit all women, but it can be so handy if your feeding bub straight after pumping! Pump your breast milk straight into bottles, it saves washing up!
You’ve got this!
Remember, mama you are a #milkmakingqueen :)