There are many reasons to start pumping while nursing. You might be returning to work soon, and you need to build a stash. You may just be looking forward to the day when you can leave the baby for a few hours for some errands, time with friends, or a date night. Or, you may want your partner to be able to participate in feeding by giving your little one a bottle of pumped milk. Here are some low-stress ways to start expressing milk while you’re breastfeeding:
1. Use the Haakaa while nursing. This silicone “pump” attaches to the side that your baby is not feeding and provides gentle suction to encourage milk to flow. Take advantage of your let down and use the Haakaa to collect some milk that would otherwise go into a nursing pad! Click here to watch a Haakaa video tutorial.
2. Pump on the opposite side baby is feeding. Try this when your supply is highest, which is usually early in the morning. Get a single electric pump situated on the opposite breast you intend to feed. After you get your baby latched, start the suction on the pump (remember to occlude the inactive tubing port if you’re using only one side of a double electric pump!) This is such a time-saver, since you’re already sitting down to nurse. Combination nursing and pumping bras are great for pumping while nursing. One of my favorites is the Sublime Hands-Free Pumping & Nursing Bra by Kindred Bravely.
3. Pump after a morning feed. If your baby consistently takes both breasts, you may not want to pump while she is feeding. Instead, pump 30 minutes to 1 hour after a morning feed. The first time you do this, you may not get a lot of milk. Try a few days in a row, and your body will start to adjust to the increased demand.
4. Pump in the evening after your baby goes to sleep, but before you go to bed. If your baby has started to give you a predictable stretch of sleep during the beginning of the night (yay!), pump before you go to bed while relaxing in front of the TV, a few hours after the last nursing session. If you are looking to boost your supply, this is a great time to power pump. More on power pumping here!
5. Pick one low-stress feed to replace during the day with a pumping session, and have your partner bottle feed while you pump. If you are hoping to have your baby take a bottle on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to incorporate it into their routine! To do this, choose a feed when your baby is normally relaxed, and have your partner give her your milk from a bottle while you pump. This can be a great bonding time for your partner and your little one, and ensures that your baby will be used to the bottle when you need her to take it!
Please remember you don’t need a huge freezer stash, even if you are a working mom! A good goal is to have 1-3 “daycare days” worth of milk in the freezer. You will replace the milk that baby drinks as you pump at work! And be sure to reach out to a Mama Coach if you need support with breastfeeding, pumping, bottle feeding, or returning to work. You can contact Larissa here.
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