Breast Pumping Tips
Depending on if you’ve already pumped a massive amount of milk or are just getting started, these tips and suggestions will help you on your breast milk selling journey. Listed below is a general guideline on how to find a breast pump, how to prepare to pump your breast milk, and some helpful suggestions.
Finding a breast milk pump
There are two main categories of breast pumps- electric/battery-operated or manual which is operated by your hand. However, you are not constrained to one or the other. Some women use one for the majority of their pumping and the other for either short trips away. Here are the pros and cons of all three models.
Electric powered pumps are the most powerful option. It can allow for double pumping and cuts your pump time in half. Electric pumps will also stimulate your milk production even more. However, these pumps are expensive. Some women rent these pumps from hospitals, pharmacies, or breastfeeding groups like La Leche. Some even borrow them from their friends.
Battery-operated pumps are not as expensive as electric pumps and have the versatility of portability as well as smaller size. There are also hands free or wearable models that allow you to pump your breasts while doing other things. They are definitely more discreet and can be hidden under clothing while you are pumping. One downside to this model is that they chew through batteries fast.
Hand operated or manual breast pumps are the least expensive out of all the different styles but it is the most time consuming. There are many different manual models. These models are easy to use, are moderately priced, easy to clean, and very portable. The Syringe or piston-style pumps allow for a more controlled pressure with less discomfort and the lever-operated or trigger pumps allow for one-handed pumping.
Preparing to pump
For first time use, sterilize all parts of the pump that will come into contact with the breast or the expressed milk according to the instructions. Read the instructions of the pump before using it.
Make sure to wash your hands before touching any parts of the breast pump, the breasts, or the expressed milk. Also be sure to wash any parts that touch the breast or are in contact with breast milk with hot soapy water after each use.
Before you begin pumping, make sure that you have everything you need. Find a comfortable place where you won’t be interrupted. In order to maximize your time, make sure that you are relaxed. Have whatever you need to keep you entertained or to help you relax near by. For example, a glass of water, a book, music, or a snack would all be great things to have within reach. The more relaxed you are, the easier it is for your milk to “let-down.”
Suggestions for better pumping
In order to help with making milk easier to pump and to condition your “let-down” reflex, here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
- Massage your breast before pumping. With the opposite hand, begin to rub small circles starting from your armpit and working in a circular motion around your entire breast. Work your way to the center of your breast to the areola. This massage is very similar to having a breast exam to check for lumps. Switch sides. If your flow slows down or stops in the middle of pumping, stop pumping and do this massage to help the flow going again.
- Drink a couple of glasses of water before pumping. The extra fluid will help.
- Look at a picture of your baby, imagine them feeding from you, or keep a blanket of theirs nearby. Some women find the smell or the images of their baby to help with their “let-down” reflex.
- Pump in the early morning, when you have the most milk.
- For sore nipples, express a little bit of milk and rub them onto your nipples. Another way to soothe sore nipples is to apply a small amount of Lansinoh emollient cream. It’ll help ease some of the discomfort of pumping.