Top 7 tips for combining breastfeeding and pumping
Pumping offers a number of benefits to breastfeeding mamas. Most nursing moms experience engorgement at some point. Pumping almost instantly relieves the pressure of engorged breasts. Worried about your breastmilk supply? Pumping stimulates milk production and allows you to store away milk for a future feeding – maybe even netting you a day at the spa (or work if that’s your thing). Pumping also allows your partner and other family members and caregivers to feed your little one, and you can even donate your extra milk to moms who aren’t able to breastfeed.
Use the following tips to help you make the most of your pumping sessions without interfering with those special skin-to-skin feedings.
#1 Breastfeed on demand when possible
Pumping will never replace the special bonding that happens when you nurse your baby, and on demand nursing actually boosts production during your pumping sessions. So go ahead and enjoy breastfeeding as your schedule allows.
#2 Pump frequently
Because breastmilk works by supply and demand, more pumping sessions means more breastmilk. Therefore, it’s a good idea to schedule 15─20 minute pumping sessions every three to four hours. Make the most of those sessions by double pumping.
#3 Avoid formula feedings
Formula is harder for infants to digest, which means it stays in their systems longer. That, in turn, means babies who are formula fed are hungry less frequently. Babies who aren’t hungry don’t breastfeed as often, and that interferes with the whole chain of supply and demand. In other words, the less your baby feeds, the less milk your body makes. If formula is a must, make sure to pump during formula feeding sessions to keep your milk supply up.
#4 Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Your breasts naturally produce breastmilk from water, carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins in your body. Therefore, less water in your body means less breastmilk when baby is hungry. Besides that, water is good for you, mama! Hydration is a struggle we all face, even when we’re not breastfeeding, but it’s especially important to hydrate when you’re drinking for two.
#5 Avoid dehydrating foods and drinks
Even if you drink an abundance of juice, milk, water, and other hydrating fluids, you’ll undo the good work if you’re also consuming foods and drinks that dehydrate you. High salt snacks and high sugar beverages are two culprits that contribute to dehydration. Meats also tend to dehydrate as do fried foods. And of course, alcohol, coffee, and tea can lead to dehydration, which may interfere with breastmilk production.
#6 Try meditation
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to increase relaxation, which can in turn boost breastmilk production by more than 60%! It also turns your pumping session into a self-care session, which will make you even more relaxed during those precious breastfeeding sessions.
#7 Choose your breast pump wisely
A comfortable breast pump is important to maintaining your pumping practice and will help to boost your milk supply. Conversely, an uncomfortable pump could cause you to throw in the towel early if the discomfort is too distracting. If you’re not sure which breast pump is right for you, get in touch with your friends at Milk N Mamas Baby. We can help you choose a pump that maximizes both your comfort and your breastmilk production.