I know when I was Exclusively Pumping I would search high and low for tips on how to make it as easy as possible so here’s mine (and the cousin tribe).
- RELAX- This is huge! A relaxed momma is a momma that makes milk. For me, this meant having my routine, one of CK’s blankets, a picture of her, and when at work my headphones so I could watch YouTube or listen to music. I found when I sat there and counted down the minutes I would get so anxious and irritated that I made less milk. So take up a new Facebook game (mine was middle of the night Farmville) or Netflix binge, whatever it takes to keep you calmmmmm.
- Water- water, water, and more water. Your body cannot make milk without water so it’s important to stay hydrated. The Lactation Consultant we saw said to drink my weight in oz times two. So if you weighed 130=260 oz of water. I know it’s alot! So when I pumped I would have two water bottles and drink them while I pumped. Multitasking at it’s finest!
- Lubricate- with coconut oil, lanolin, or whatever else you chose. For me coconut oil didn’t leave as much of a residue and stopped thrush when we got it! I put the oil on before AND after. This helped while pumping as well as preventing cracks, which, OWIE!
- Help- if you are struggling with pumping (or breastfeeding for that matter) get help and the sooner the better. I struggled from the beginning and had my cousin (a L&D nurse) come over and asses the situation and then went to an LC three times while I was pumping. They can tell you different positions, suggest milk supply increasing tips, and even offer moral support. The LC appts were always very helpful to us and I would not have been able to pump as long as I did without them. Ultimately I stopped due to milk supply and PPD/PPA. A happy/healthy momma=happy/healthy baby.
- Eat- This is not hard for most moms who are nursing but just a reminder. If you are cut your calories too much (don’t worry about “post baby body”) it can effect you milk supply and really is just not worth it.
- Pump at night- This is the best pump for most moms. Even when DD2 was sleeping through the night I continued to pump for several weeks because my output was much high in the middle of the night. It takes dedication but especially if you are at supply or low supply, it helps a ton.
- Power Pump- This is particularly important if you are low supply or if you just want to create a stash. Power pumping stimulates cluster feeding and was one of the most valuable tips that the LC gave us. I would chose one pump a day to be a power pump (PP) and for 2-3 days I would PP then take a few days off.
- Extra pump parts- I talked about this in my Pumping Essentials post and it is SO helpful if you are pumping! I had several sets and it made things easier so I wasn’t constantly washing them. Take a peek at the essentials post for how to store them in between washes! Thank you to the LC who shared that tip with me!
- Consistency- This is especially important in the beginning. I know it is hard to pump every 2-3 hours but to ensure good supply you really need to in the beginning (unless you are one of those lucky ladies with a naturally good supply!) In the beginning I pushed for 8 pumps a day minimum, however, I did not start pumping as soon as I had issues and wish I would have (may have eliminated some of my supply issues).
- Be proud of yourself!- No matter how long you breastfeed or pump for, or even if you supplement, be proud of yourself. Making milk is hard work and I will admit that exclusively pumping takes dedication and time management skills! If you have any questions, feel free to ask!