How can you have the most effective pumping session? Som Yew Ya delves into the art of pumping breastmilk.
#1. What time is it?
If you are with your baby, express your milk after the feed so that the breasts have time to be full for the next feed. If you are pumping outside of your home, do it at an appropriate time before your breasts become engorged. Try not to go more than 3 to 4 hours without expressing. If you are trying to build up a supply in the freezer, fit in an additional pumping session in the early morning. That’s when milk supply is the most.
#2. Two is better than one
Pumping on both breasts yields more milk at a faster rate. Prolactin levels are also higher during a double-pumping session. Remember not pump for more than 15 minutes for each side. If your baby is feeding on one side, your milk ejection reflex will be stimulated and this facilitates easy collection of milk on the other side.
#3. If the pump fits
If not done properly, pumping may cause nipple soreness. Be clear of how to use the pump; read the guidelines thoroughly and ask for help if you’re unsure. Pumping should not cause any pain. If it does, try reducing the suction power, ensure your nipple is in the center of the flange and shorten your session. The nipple should not rub against the flange when you’re expressing. If you’ve tried all the above and still feel pain or discomfort, it is best to try another pump.
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#4. Set up a routine
Having a routine conditions your milk ejection reflex. These include the place, time and things you do before your session. For example, the area at home where you express your milk, preparing your equipment, drinking a glass of water or listing to a special playlist. If you are at work, identify a place and time where you can comfortably express without distractions.
Stimulating the “let-down” reflex
If you are expressing milk and your baby is not present with you, some ways to facilitate a let-down reflex would be to think of your baby, look at your baby’s photo or listen to a song or music that makes you think of your baby.
#5. Prime your session
Massage your breasts before you pump. Using your fingertips, make small circles on the breast tissue starting from the armpit area. Continue doing this around the perimeter of the breast moving towards the areola in a spiral pattern. Finish the massage by making a few long strokes from the chest wall towards the areola, doing this around breast. Breast massages also help if your milk flow decelerates during pumping.
#6. Pump regularly
Try to pump at night if possible. If you are away at work, it would be good to express at every three hours. Regular expressing helps to decrease the possibility for engorgement and helps maintain your milk supply. Adding more pumping sessions is more helpful then extending existing sessions.
#7. Trial and Error
If your schedule or certain method is not working for you or making you uncomfortable, try to vary what you are doing until it works. Try not to multitask and add in more sessions if you need to.
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