The journey towards motherhood can be both joyful and overwhelming. The moment you have been waiting months for has finally arrived and you are holding your baby in your arms. Now, the incredible task of caring for your precious baby begins.
Many women choose to breastfeed their babies. Breastfeeding is the ideal way to deliver the valuable nutrition your baby needs at this early stage in their life.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a baby’s life. According to the Centers for Disease Control, only about 25.8% of infants are exclusively breastfed at 6 months. Pumping can help encourage longer breastfeeding by maintaining milk supplies.
No matter how long you plan on breastfeeding, there may be times when you find yourself struggling with the solo role of feeding your baby. Pumping your milk and storing it for future use allows other caregivers to participate in feedings. This can help relieve some of the mental and physical pressure you may be feeling.
To help you through your breastfeeding journey, we are going to share some helpful tips on how to combine both breastfeeding and pumping.
Why You Should Combine Pumping with Breastfeeding
You know that breastfeeding is one of the most important choices you can make for the early development of your baby. Pumping can be an important part of your breastfeeding experience. Here are some of the reasons why you should add pumping to your breastfeeding routine:
- Storage for the future: There may be times when you are unavailable to breastfeed your baby. This is especially true if you plan on working after the baby is born. Pumping creates a supply of breastmilk that others can use while you are gone.
- Increases milk supply: Breastfeeding is a supply and demand process. The more your baby drinks, the more your body makes. When you pump, in addition to feeding your baby, it should trigger your breasts to produce more milk. Pumping can be helpful if you are struggling to produce an adequate milk supply.
- Improves comfort: When your breastmilk is in full supply, there may be times when you experience painful, swollen breasts. If your baby is not ready to eat, pumping can relieve that pressure. This also has a secondary benefit of helping to prevent mastitis because of clogged ducts.
- Overcoming breastfeeding challenges: If you or your baby is struggling with breastfeeding because of physical challenges like a cleft lip or inverted nipples, pumping can help you overcome some of those problems and relieve some of your stress.
7 Tips for More Effective Breastfeeding and Pumping
Whatever your reason for wanting to breastfeed and pump, it is a good reason. To help you find success, consider these 7 tips.
1. Breastfeed First
As you are building up your milk supply, it is important to feed your baby before your pump. When your baby is full, start pumping to completely empty your breasts. This will give your body plenty of time to refill before the next feeding.
2. Pump Frequently
The more milk you pump from your breasts, the more milk your body will produce. To help build up your supply, pump as often as you can. When you do pump, try to pump for at least 15 minutes at a time. If you will be away from your baby for an extended time, make sure you pump every few hours to mimic the feeding patterns of your baby.
3. Think About Your Baby
Pumping can make you feel nervous, especially if you are in an unfamiliar location. Unfortunately, this can make it harder to have a let-down. Try to find a warm, quiet place to pump. To encourage the release of your milk, you should try and relax and think about your baby. Many women keep a picture of their baby with their pumping supplies and look at it while pumping. Other women record vides of their babies. Hunger cries in particular can encourage a quick let-down.
4. Use Effective Techniques
In addition to pumping frequently, there are certain techniques that can encourage more effective pumping.
Pumping both breasts simultaneously with a double breast pump can stimulate your milk production and cut your pumping time in half. If you notice your milk flow slowing down, gently massaging your breasts can produce a second let-down and help them empty more effectively.
5. Breastfeed on Demand with Your Baby
When you are with your baby, keep breastfeeding like you normally do. Your baby is better at emptying your breasts than any breast pump. When you are gone, plan with the caregiver to not feed your baby within an hour of your arrival, that way you can breastfeed your baby as soon as you get home.
6. Stay Hydrated
If you are dehydrated, your body will have a hard time producing enough breastmilk. Drink adequate water throughout the day, especially before a breastfeeding or pumping session. Most nutritionists recommend nursing mothers drink about 16 cups of water a day. You can get that fluid from water, milk, food, or juice.
7. Use Proper Bottle-Feeding Techniques
Feeding your baby is an ideal time to bond. When breastfeeding you enjoy that intimate bonding experience.
Other caregivers can get a similar experience by using proper bottle-feeding techniques. The stereotypical way to bottle feed a baby is to lay the baby back and hold the bottle at a higher angle.
This can cause the milk to pour into the baby’s mouth instead of the baby have to suck to get the milk. A paced feeding method, which is more upright, can more closely mimic breastfeeding.
You should also use bottles and nipples designed to work with breastfeeding. These are typically slow-flow nipples that make the baby suck harder to get the milk than standard flow nipples. This will make the transition between breast and bottle more natural for the baby. If a breastfed baby gets used to high-flow nipples, he or she may refuse the breast.
Hegen Makes It Easy to Combine Breastfeeding and Pumping
As you juggle the joys and challenges of breastfeeding and pumping, Hegen is here to help.
At Hegen we want to make breastfeeding as rewarding as possible. We have created a state-of-the-art baby feeding system that can work seamlessly with your breastfeeding and pumping goals.
We offer a unique collection of bottles and a minimal waste manual breast pump that pumps directly into our bottles.