If you’re a nursing mom, you are likely all too familiar with the importance of pumping breast milk. Whether you’re heading back to work or just need some relief from engorgement, pumping can help keep your little one fed and happy. But how do you make sure that each time you pump, you are maximizing your milk output? Here, we’ll explore tips and tricks for getting the most out of each session.
How Often Should You Pump?
Before diving into the logistics of maximizing milk output per session, it’s important to establish how often pumping should occur. According to experts, newborns typically nurse every two to three hours during the day and every three to four hours at night. As babies grow older and their stomachs expand, they may be able to go longer between feedings.
Pumping frequency should align with an infant’s feeding schedule. If your baby is still eating 8-12 times a day, try pumping after they finish each meal or once overnight if possible. A good rule of thumb is aiming for 2-3 hour intervals so as not to interfere with normal feeding routines.
Getting The Most Out Of Each Session
Now that we’ve established when breastfeeding moms should pump let us explore various strategies which improve pumping output:
“Let down” refers to the release of stored breast milk in response to oxytocin production in response especially when an infant starts sucking on their mother’s nipple or after holding them shortly beforehand).
Here are several common ways:
- Massaging breasts prior
- Thinking about breast massage
- Using heat therapy via warm compresses/water bottle
- Listening /watching Anything that makes her feel relaxed/happy such as music/TV show/podcast.
The Magic Number: Vacuum + Speed Setting
With modern-day pumps, moms can choose from a variety of vacuums and speeds that cater to their preferences. The key is finding the right “magic number, “ which typically ranges from 60-90 cycles per minute at a vacuum strength slightly higher than comfort level.
If unsure what your magic combo is, it’s essential to experiment with multiple speeds/vacuums until you encounter the most comfortable setting for your breasts that simultaneously pumps effectively.
Breast Shield Size
Using breast shields which don’t correlate with an individual’s nipple/areola size can impair milk supply by obstructing milk flow, thus reducing total output.
To ensure proper sizing, measure an opened shell against your areolas and pick a size equal or very close in diameter.
Using A Hospital Grade Pump
Many nursing mothers may experience significant difficulty using traditional breast pumps during pumping sessions due to inadequate suction capacity or the inability to trigger letdowns.
A hospital-grade pump will give better results as they have stronger suction capabilities hence more effective in increasing discharge volumes per session.
Don’t Watch The Milk Flow
It may sound trivial, but peeking during each pumping session to assess how much milk has been expressed could negatively affect milk release volume since The process of expressing breastmilk meets physical needs such as oxytocin multiplication plus Psychological—such as relaxation and a happy environment.
While looking at milk flows might appear motivating/beneficial but never stare like:
How come anyone else seems to fill up faster?
Things To Avoid That Dampen Output
Apart from things listed above there are some activities/names-of-things-to-do-to-your-body when avoided which ensures maximum output:
Tight clothing: This restricts blood flow, interfering with let down reflex
Stressful situations: Anxiety causes constriction of blood vessels hence impairs hormone production required for milk production.
Skimping on breastfeeding: Regular nursing/pump engagements encourage increased milk secretion.
Frequently asked Pumping Questions
Question: I’m not producing enough milk, how often should I pump to increase my supply?
Answer: Maintain a consistent pumping schedule. If your child is getting enough milk when they nurse but you can’t produce as much while pumping, try pumping immediately after nursing in the morning when levels are higher and take advantage of every let down response.
Question: How frequently should I replace breast pump parts?
Answer: Replace invested personal-use parts like tubing/ membranes every 4-6 weeks. However, if experiencing abnormally slower flow speeds, inspect for cracks/wear prematurely.
Increasing an individual’s output through proper technique during each sequence can be tough initially but with constant practice using techniques listed above ensures moms meet their unique quotas daily without tiring themselves out. Remember that many factors affect breastmilk supply thus making it crucial to experiment until finding the appropriate speed/vacuum level in addition to trying any tricks which work best for you.