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How to start Pumping while breastfeeding

PUMPING WHILE NURSING, IT CAN BE DONE

My breastfeeding journey with my first son was not smooth sailing. Something so natural should be so easy right? Wrong!

When I had my first son, my husband and I decided that I would breastfeed my son.  As soon as my son was born I put him to the breast and he started nursing or so I thought.

He was not latched on and as a new mom I just did not realize. As a new mom I missed many signs that my baby wasn’t getting enough milk.

On day 9 postpartum I picked up my son, it still upsets to write this down, he was lethargic and unresponsive. He was admitted to hospital.

His weight had dropped significantly and as soon as we got to the hospital, they quickly gave him a bottle of formula as he was so undernourished.

I started pumping at the hospital as I wanted to give breast milk.

When we left the hospital, I tried to latch him back on but no success, the constant worry and stress made me feel exhausted, both physically and mentally but I still wanted my baby to have breast milk.

That’s when I decided to exclusively pump.

Even after my baby latched on, I continued to pump milk for many reasons.

This article will give you, tips on how to pump while you are also exclusively breastfeeding.

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If you are going back to work, building a stash or trying to exclusively pump, anything that can make pumping easier and help you from day one is definitely a benefit.  

As a new mom – there is just SO much to know about Pumping Milk.

From my experience, it’s a great idea to prepare for pumping by taking, simple, effective, and affordable online class.

I like the Milkology: Pumping Course as it is run by a certified lactation educator, is video-based, and comes with a troubleshooting guide – that’s important.

Should you pump breast milk while you are breastfeeding?

For me I started pumping because my baby was not latching on and although I wanted him to nurse from my breast, I knew I also had to keep my milk supply up.

So while I tried to latch him back on and get the help I needed, I also knew that by pumping I wouldn’t lose my supply and that he was getting the best from me.

Even after my baby latched on, I continued to pump milk for many reasons.

Going out / returning to work

You may want to store milk for when you’re away from your baby. Maybe you’re going back to work, leaving your baby with family, friends, or a babysitter, or running errands.

As my baby got older it was great to just get some mommy time and not worry that baby would need to be nursed.

I pumped for my baby and managed to build a stash. I was able to use this stash of breast milk when I started weaning.

Adding my own breast milk to my baby’s food and to put in a sippy cup as my baby got older.

Engorgement

If breasts become overfull a mom can start to feel uncomfortable and may need to pump some milk so that she gets some relief.

If your baby has a  poor latch this can result in the breast not emptying breast milk.

The build-up can cause breast engorgement to become severe. The breasts may redden and become painful and a low-grade fever may develop.

Breasts can also become too firm; some babies cannot grasp enough tissue to latch on well. They may suck overly hard trying to pull in the breast tissue and this can lead to sore nipples

Along with making mothers feel ill, severe engorgement interferes with milk production.

The milk in engorged breasts release chemicals that tell the brain to decrease milk production.

Pumping can prevent the negative consequences of retained breast milk.

Relieving the milk pressure will not make engorgement worse.

Premature baby

Babies usually establish their milk supply by nursing frequently at the breast, but many preemies are born too early to breastfeed.

In these cases, moms must pump breast milk in order to establish (and maintain) their milk supply.

Some premature babies have difficulty breastfeeding at first, but with pumped breast milk they can still receive the benefits of breast milk without having to nurse.

Pumping breast milk when your baby can’t breastfeed will help establish your milk supply.

Babies usually establish their moms’ supply by nursing, but when your preemie can’t effectively nurse, you will have to turn to pumping for the same effect.

What do I need to pump breast milk?

Below are a list of the items I used when I was pumping:

Breast Pump: This breast pump is the one that I used

Hands free nursing bras: This bra is an absolute must when you are double pumping and need to be hands free.

Milk bottles that are recommended for breastfed babies: I tried a fair amount of bottles and found these bottles to be the ones my baby took to.

Milk storage bags: These breastmilk storage bags are the ones that I found to be the best.

How should I pump if I am breastfeeding

Pump as you are nursing:

A newborn baby usually nurses for a minimum of 8-12 times in a 24 hour period.

A great way to pump is to nurse the baby and use the pump on the other side. This takes a little practice to get the positioning just right, but the baby can enhance your let-down reflex.

Turn the pump on before you begin feeding. You can pump into milk-storage bags or a bottle.

Many moms worry that if they pump on the side the baby is not nursing on then breast milk will run out.

This is not true, as you pump this will signal your brain to produce more milk. This is a great way to

Pump between feedings:

If you find nursing and pumping at the same time difficult, you could also pump between feedings.

Using a double breast pump is the best way to maximize the amount of milk you express.

While it may be obvious that double pumping saves time, it also promotes an extra let down, yields milk with a higher fat content and perfect for busy moms.

The importance of pumping at night:

When pumping during the night, milk yield tends to be better if you pump when you naturally wake (to go to the bathroom or because your breasts are uncomfortably full) than if you set an alarm to wake for pumping.

If you are having a hard time getting in enough pumping sessions, adding even a short pumping session (increasing frequency even if milk is not removed thoroughly) is helpful.

The bottom Line

Most people told me that I was crazy to be pumping while I was breastfeeding, everyone had an opinion. As a mom, you have to work out what is best for you.

Pumping for me was a great way to get my baby to have breast milk when I couldn’t nurse and when I was away from him.

If you are breastfeeding exclusively and trying to pump, find out what works for you.

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