For many parents keen to offer their baby the long-term benefits that breastfeeding provides, effective breast-pumping is an important practice in establishing and maintaining breastfeeding. The NHS recommends that babies nutritional needs are met exclusively from breastmilk in the first 26-weeks of a baby’s life. For many working Mums and Mums keen to establish milk supply, effective breast-pumping is a fantastic tool supporting breastfeeding. Of course, seeking advice from a baby sleep consultant will provide you with tailored advice relating to your baby’s routine, including breast-pumping options. Here, we take some expert tips for effective breast-pumping that supports you and your baby.
What Are Your Reasons For Breast-Pumping.
There are many reasons why parents choose breast-pumping. Having a sense of what you are hoping to achieve can help you to decide how and when to breast-pump. Knowing your “why” is helpful in establishing effective breast-pumping. These might include:
Allow dad or other family member or a maternity nurse or a night nurse to feed the baby
To provide breastmilk for a premature baby who cannot feed yet directly from Mum.
To provide your baby with breastmilk whilst Mum is away from baby due to work or other commitments.
To offer relief from engorged, sore breasts.
To provide sufficient breast milk or a baby that is bottle fed due to issues with latching on to the breast.
To establish and/or boost your milk supply.
To maintain supply at a time when your baby is transitioning between sleep routines at night.
To produce breastmilk that can be used as an ingredient in your weaning baby’s porridge or other foods.
To donate breast milk for premature babies via a milk bank.
Once you have a sense of why you plan to breast-pump, you can make decisions about the best times and methods for pumping.
Best Tips For Breast-Pumping
1. Stay Calm And Relaxed For Effective Breast-Pumping
Once you have decided to breast-pump, it can help to stay calm whilst pumping or expressing the milk. Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit and ensure you have a drink and snack as needed. Looking at your baby or a photo of them can help. The more relaxed and comfortable you are, the better your milk will flow
2. How Do You Store Breast Milk After Expressing
It is vital that you are prepared for safe and hygienic storage of pumped milk. Wash your hands with soap and water before pumping. Any bottles or containers used to store the milk should be sterilised in line with manufacturer’s instructions. Store the milk in small quantities to avoid wastage.
Your breast milk can then be kept:
At home at room temperature up to 6h, pampers.co.uk
At the back of the fridge, not the door, for up to 8 days (at 4°C or lower)
In the freezer for up to 6 months.
use a cooler bag to keep in your room at night
Defrost by leaving it in the fridge to thaw out completely and never re-freeze.
3. How Do You Establish Milk Supply?
Breast-milk production operates on a supply and demand basis. The more milk required, the more your body produces. The hormones that govern this process are most effective with night feeds. Therefore, if you are breast-pumping to establish supply in the early days, aim to pump regularly and accept that it is normal to produce very small quantities of milk initially. Persevere, and in time your body will produce more milk. For efficiency, you can always consider double pumping.
To increase supply, aim to pump regularly, but ensure you pump during the night to make the most of your body’s natural milk-producing hormones.
4. How To Stop Breastfeeding And/Or Pumping Breast Milk At Night?
This supply and demand concept is also worth bearing in mind if you plan to pump to ease the discomfort of engorged breasts. The more milk you pump from engorged breasts, the more your body will produce. So, if your baby is beginning to reduce their breastmilk intake once they wean or start sleeping longer at night, aim to pump just enough to offer your sore breasts relief, without continuing to over stimulate supply. This can be done by hand-expressing a small amount of milk.
5. When Is It Best To Pump Breast Milk When Breastfeeding
- Continue breastfeeding your baby on demand as usual and include the breast pumping between the feeds. Best is to pump after the breastfeeding. Wait at least 30 after the breastfeed and 60 minutes before the next feed.
The best time for breast pumping is in the morning. Mothers usually find that when they first get up they have the biggest supply as it has stored overnight.
It is worth experimenting at different times to see when you have the best flow of milk.
If your baby starts to sleep more through the night, but you are wanting to maintain your milk supply, you will, unfortunately, best still waking in the early hours to pump as this tells your body that the demand for milk is still there.
If you are pumping at work, aim to speak to your employer to ensure you can pump regularly and have a suitable location and safe storage for milk. The HSE offers information and advice to support effective breast-pumping at work.
6. How Does Breast Pumping Work With A Maternity Nurse Or Night Nurse?
If you are wanting to use a maternity nurse, night nurse or a baby sleep coach, you can still breastfeed! A lot of new mothers find they can sleep better and more peacefully despite being woken to feed if they can rest in the safe knowledge that a professional is caring for their baby and they are getting a well-deserved rest.
Once breastfeeding is established, if mum breast pumps in advance or throughout the night, she can also take it in turns with the baby nurse to feed the baby (once on bottle and once at the breast, for instance) or once a supply has been built, the nurse can take over the night-time routine altogether.
If you’re considering using a night nurse for your little one, ensure you make your wishes for the night time feeds and routine known in advance, so that you can work together to ensure your preferences are met.
By implementing these tips, you can easily be on your way to effective breast-pumping. Like anything, breast-pumping is a skill that gets easier with practice. And, if you need support or advice, do contact your Midwife of Health Visitor and / or a baby-consultant. Happy pumping!
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