Pumping Basics Part 1- What The Experts Say To Do To Get Started Pumping Your Breastmilk

by Jessica Martin-Weber with Rene Fisher, IBCLC

This article made possible by the generous support of Ameda.

Ameda Finesse Double Electric Breast pump

When my baby was 4 weeks old, it was time for me to get started pumping not only for my baby to be able to receive my milk when I had to be away from her for work, but also for me to donate my milk to other babies.

To help me get started pumping, I spoke with Rene Fisher, IBCLC from Ameda, Inc. She helped me pick out a pump, the new Ameda Finesse Double Electric, and got me all set up. Via video chat and live stream, Rene got me all ready to go and before I knew it, I was filling milk storage containers with my milk. Thanks to Rene’s help, for the first time ever, after pumping through 6 babies, I’m finally using the right size flanges and pumping pain-free. See what I learned in the video and points below.

Setting Up Your Pump

Carefully read your instruction manual and ensure you have all the parts you need. Follow the directions for preparing your pump and setting up. Wash each part that comes in contact with your breast and milk including the flanges, milk storage containers (unless you intend to pump directly into bags such as the Store and Pour Ameda breastmilk storage bags), valves, and diaphragms. Do NOT wash the tubing. Plug in your power adaptor or install batteries. Wash your hands and assemble the kit (tubing, flanges, diaphragms, valves, milk storage containers, etc.).

Determine Your Flange Size 

Flanges are the horn shaped pieces that hold the pump and storage containers to your breasts. Correct fit of the flanges can prevent tissue damage and improve the effectiveness of your pump. All nipples are different and dynamic and the size of your flange may determine how you respond to pumping. Too small may cause pain and stress, reducing your output to the pump. Too large may cause too much areola and breast tissue to be engaged and not enough stimulation for let down or may result in reduced output. If your nipple presses against the flange or rubs, you may need a larger size. If there is a significant amount of space around your nipple and additional breast tissue is entering the flange which may rub, you may need a smaller size. Because nipples are dynamic, they may change during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and pumping. You may even need a different size flange mid-pumping session. See this video below and the information here to help you determine correct flange size.

Beginning: Set Up

If possible, set up in a quiet, relaxing space. Have a drink and a snack. Get as comfortable as possible, having read the manual prior to beginning.

Beginning: Positioing

Position the flange centered over your nipple, pressing in lightly to create a seal. Without a seal there will be no suction. If you are double pumping you can use your arms to help hold the flanges to your breasts but you may want to use a hands-free-pumping support.

Beginning: Before You Start

Relax. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Think of your baby. Focus on why you’re pumping rather than the output itself. You may want to watch a video of your baby, look at a photo, or smell their clothing.

Beginning: Turn Your Pump On

To get started with pumping, if your pump has individualized speed and suction settings, set your pump on the highest speed and, following the instruction manual for your pump, turn your pump on at the lowest suction level. Gradually increase suction strength to the highest comfortable level. Pumping should never hurt. It is not necessary to go to the highest level if it is painful for you and doing so could interfere with the milk ejection reflex and let down and result in reduced milk output to the pump, potentially causing tissue damage.

Beginning: Let Down and Expression

Stimulate let down with a high speed and the highest comfortable suction. Once let down begins (marked by spraying or flowing milk), reduce speed. You may feel ready to increase the suction level but only do so the the highest comfortable level. When the flow of milk slows to drips or a trickle, return to a higher speed and the highest comfortable suction level to stimulate another let down. It is possible to get up to 9 let downs in a 20 minute pumping session by adjusting speed and suction levels. It may be helpful to observe your baby’s pattern at the breast and mimic it as closely as possible with the pump during your pumping sessions.

When To Pump

When you pump for the first time will greatly depend on why you are pumping. If your baby is in the NICU and there is clinical separation from birth, you will need to begin as soon as possible and plan to pump 8-12 times within a 24 hour period for exclusively pumping. If you are pumping to return to work at 6 weeks postpartum, it is advisable to wait until 3-4 weeks postpartum and your milk supply and breastfeeding are established to protect your supply. If possible, introduce pumping gradually for partial separation giving at least an hour before breastfeeding again after pumping (though let your baby feed at the breast whenever they want to!). Many breastfeeding parents find they get more milk pumping first thing in the morning. Pumping one side while baby is latched and feeds from the other can also lead to more let downs while pumping.

How Long To Pump

Many breastfeeding parents find that 15-20 minutes is adequate time to pump. Some may find it takes longer but with the right pump and proper flange fit, 15-20 minutes will be plenty for most. Utilizing hands on pumping or breast massage while you pump can help encourage your breasts to empty fully, signaling your breasts to produce more milk for your baby. When you pump will depend on your reasons for pumping, how long you are away from your baby, and the amount of milk you need. Every breastfeeding parent and baby are different, figure out what works for you. For more on when and how long to pump, see here.

 

Mother of 4, Rene Fisher has been an IBCLC since 1998. Rene has worked in private practice before going on to be a hospital Lactation consultant for 10 years where she was responsible for nurses and patient education and hands on assistance with breastfeeding mothers. Rene got started in lactation support as a La Leche League Leader 1993 and became a member of La Leche League Area Professional Liaison Department from 2000 -2010. Today, Rene supports families in reaching their baby feeding goals working with Ameda breastfeeding products.

 

 

Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com, co-creator of BeyondMoi.com, freelance writer, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. Jessica lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest and co-parents her 7 daughters with her husband of 21 years.
 
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Party Like a Leaky to Celebrate 5 Years of TLB, Part 3!

 The Leaky Boob is turning 5 years old and we’re celebrating ALL MONTH LONG! To celebrate we’re collecting and sharing your stories along with collecting some of our favorite maternity, breastfeeding, and baby products to give as gifts to YOU Leakies. Each week our celebration includes a different birthday bash bundle of prizes from our favorite brands, presents for Leakies. AND we’re growing! Some of us aren’t breastfeeding or bottle-feeding any more (and you thought it was going to last forever) but you’re still a part of our community and you’re still nourishing and loving your family so we’ve grown to expand two more communities where we can talk about our highs and lows of that journey in a safe, judgment-free environment. Over on BeyondMoi.com we talk a lot about, well, everything, specially about parenting and relationships. OurStableTable.com invites everyone to find a seat at the table embracing that sometimes there’s a little wobble in one of our legs, making room for allergies, and creatively nourishing our whole selves with recipes and a lot of honest conversation. Our family is growing and we’re happy to share it with you!


Let’s party like a Leaky this month and #TLBsupportForward!

Bundle #3

Here is what’s included in TLB’s Birthday Bash Bundle #3:

Arm’s Reach ConceptsBeautiful Dreamer Cocoon – Retail Value: $140
The Arm’s Reach® beautiful dreamer™Cocoon will help your baby sleep better by continuing the feeling of the womb, cradling newborns closely and gently swaying in response to their movement. Gentle motion not only soothes but also improves digestion, so it’s ideal for fussy babies. Because the back is adjustable, it’s a great solution for little ones with colic or reflux. Naturally stimulates and entertains baby while awake. Facilitates naptime. Babies learn to control the hammock’s sway with their own body movements, which entertains while encouraging physical activity.

Ameda: Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump – Retail Value: $194
Whether you are returning to work or want a fast and easy pumping experience, the Ameda Purely Yours double electric breast pump, designed for daily use, is the ideal breast pump. The Purely Yours breast pumps combine hospital recommended technology with mom friendly features.  Offering the same great pump through retail locations (on-line and brick-and-mortar), insurance benefits, and WIC you can depend on Ameda to provide moms with the tools they need to feed their baby.

Bonus from Ameda: [email protected]’s T-Shirt! – Retail Value: $15
All proceeds from the sale of the shirt go to Mother & Child Health Coalition in St Louis.

ErgobabyNatural Curve™ Nursing Pillow – Retail Value: $70
The Ergobaby Natural Curve™ Nursing Pillow gives you the enduring support you need to relax, nurse comfortably and bond with baby.

LILLEbabyCOMPLETE All Season Baby Carrier – Retail Value: $140
The LÍLLÉbaby COMPLETE baby carriers combines more carrying positions, lasts longer, and includes more features than any other baby carrier. The best of both worlds, this versatile hybrid is ready for whatever comes its way. Featuring an exclusive temperature-control panel that easily zips-up for warmth and zips-down to expose cool, breathable, 3D mesh. It’s lightweight, road-ready and built for daily use—be it in the brisk fall winds or blazing days of summer.

MotherloveMalunggay Breast Milk Supplement – Retail Value: $26
Indigenous to India and the Philippines, Malunggay is known as the “miracle tree” and is widely recognized for its nutritional benefits. It has been used for generations by breastfeeding women to help increase breast milk supply. Can be used during pregnancy.

Mamma-Kin LCCKoalaKin, Hands Free Nursing Pouch – Retail Value: $90
Breastfeeding may be natural, but it’s not always intuitive. That’s why we created the KoalaKin, Hands Free Nursing Pouch®… a unique sling that allows moms to perfectly position babies for nursing, giving them easy and inconspicuous access to the breast with minimal strain on the body, and freeing up your hands so you could stay active with older children and other interests.

The Dairy FairyThe Arden All in One Nursing and Handsfree Pumping Bra – Retail Value: $68
No mother in the land should be without the Arden All in One bra. Comfortable, beautiful and efficient. Nurse, handsfree pump, and adjust to fit your fluctuating breast size. Because you don’t have to choose between smart and sexy – you can have both, because you are both.

NuRooNuRoo Pocket – Retail Value: $60
The NüRoo® Pocket is a babywearing shirt that offers full coverage and mobility for moms practicing Skin-to-Skin Contact with their baby. It also doubles as a hands free carrier! Extremely easy to get baby in and out of, without wrapping, tying or knotting. The ‘cross and hug’ closures provide a custom fit as your body changes and your baby grows. The fabric is super soft, breathable, moisture-wicking and offers just the right amount of compression to ensure proper position and continued support for both mom and baby. It adheres to the sling carrier standards, which means it’s been tested up to 45 pounds. A 2014 Editor’s Pick from What to Expecting When You’re Expecting!

Molly’s Suds: Laundry Powder (70 loads) and one of our Wool Dryer Balls (set of 3) – Retail Value: $34
Comprised of only five earth-derived ingredients and formulated especially for sensitive skin, Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder is safe and ideal for your clothes AND your family. The super-concentrated powder is long-lasting and affordable, with just one tablespoon required per load. Just as effective as conventional brands and more effective than natural brands, without the use of harsh chemicals, toxins, fillers, carcinogens, preservatives or GMO ingredients. Works great in all water temperatures and hard water, and is septic- and High Efficiency (HE) washer-safe.

Replace the need for toxic fabric softeners with Molly’s Suds 100% hand felted Wool Dryer Balls, which last up to 1,000 loads, or three years, in the dryer, and reduce drying time by 15-30%. Sourced from humanely sheared sheep, our Wool Dryer Balls are compostable and antimicrobial, naturally soften fabrics, and are great for all laundry, including towels, comforters, clothing, baby laundry, delicates and cloth diapers.

Juno BluEsalen Breast Pump Tote – Retail Value: $185
The Juno Blu Esalen tote is a sleek urban alternative to the traditional breast pump bag. The trend-aware design makes this tote a hidden treasure for both the new and seasoned mother. The Esalen Tote’s sleek design is ideal for going to work, the park or on a play-date.

PebbleRainbow Bunny Rattle – Retail value: $22
This cheerful Bunny Rattle from Pebble is handmade and is bringing smiles to faces around the world. This fair trade product provides much-needed employment to mothers providing for their children in rural Bangladesh. Machine washable. 

Total Value of this bundle: $904

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from April 15, 2015 through April 22, 2015.  A big thanks to all of the sponsors of this birthday giveaway bundle for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to take a moment to thank them on their Facebook pages for their show of support!

This giveaway bundle is for U.S. only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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