30 Breast Pumping Tips For Working Moms - The Koch Family
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30 Breast Pumping Tips For Working Moms

It can be frustrating to pump for 30-45 minutes only to express an ounce of milk. You start to doubt if your milk has dried up and even think of resorting to formula. But more than often, it is not lack of supply, but incorrect pumping that is the culprit. So, we have collated top tips to make the business of pumping and feeding easier for you.
  • Invest in the Best Breast PumpIf you plan to extensively breast feed for a long duration, invest in the best available double breast pump that you can afford. Not only is it going to be far economical compared to formula, it will help you save great deal of time while pumping. If you compromise here, you are likely to give up midway owing to the hassles that tags along with cheap breast pumps that are usually suitable for short-term use.
  • Buy A Pumping BraA Pumping bra can help you express handsfree. It makes it possible to multi-task and pump while you work. An absolute must-have for a woking mom!
  • Buy A Spare Manual PumpA spare manual pump will be useful in case your electric one breaks down or if you forget it at office. Keep it in your handbag or in your car so that it will be with you always. Medela Harmony is highly recommended as its small, handy and is an efficient pump for short term use.
  • Bottles with suitable TeatNipple confusion is common in babies who bottle feed and breastfeed simultaneously. To reduce its incidence, you may want to buy a bottle with suitable nipple. Medela Calma bottles are highly recommended as the teat mimics the feeding behaviour of breastfeeding. The baby has to work on creating a vacuum to get milk, just like he breastfeeds so that there is no chance of confusion.
  • MSS( Massage-Stroke-Shake)
    MSS is a technique taught and practiced by La Leche League.  This method may sound a bit erotic, but mothers who practice this technique found they were able to express more milk than usual in a given time.
    After pumping for 5-6 minutes, stop and massage the breasts in circular motion. Then, stroke the breast with your fingertips from the chest wall to the tip of nipple in a straight line. Then, cup your breasts, lean forward and shake your breasts. Then pump for another 5-6 minutes, repeat MSS and end with another pumping session of 5-6 minutes.
  • Think about the baby, watch videos or touch and feel baby clothesFind it silly? Think again, its found to work like a charm.
    Pumps are trying to mechanically stimulate the let down reflex which your baby triggers through his sucking pattern, his proximity and  presence. Try to simulate that by thinking about your baby or watching his videos, and you can see the magic working.
  • RelaxDo you keep looking at the bottle marking to see how much milk you have expressed? If so, don’t. That is usually the best way to induce anxiety and reduce the quantity of milk expressed. Read a magazine or watch something you like and just forget that you are pumping.
  • Warm shower/ warm compression before pumpingA warm shower or using warm compression before pumping is found to have a marvellous effect in increasing the quantity of milk expressed in a given time.
  • Pump at regular time every day
    We all thrive on routine and predictability. Pumping on a routine at the same time everyday will help your body form a rhythm and signal the body at that particular time to let down the milk.
  • Pump frequently for short durationIf you have trouble with milk supply, pump for short duration of 5-7 minutes frequently rather than a single stretch that lasts for 30 minutes.
  • Right setting of your breast pump
    New moms generally have a tendency to crank up the pump to the highest setting thinking higher the vacuum, higher the quantity of milk pumped. This is not the case and setting the pump to highest vacuum level may make your breast and nipples sore.
    The best practice is to start at a low vacuum level and increase it to the maximum level you are comfortable with. Initially, the suction has to be short, quick and shallow to trigger the let down, following which, opt for deep slow suction. This kind of transition is usually in-built in an electric breast pump.
  • Right flange size
    Choosing right breast shield is important for pain-free breast pumping and to express maximum milk in the given time. This visual guide might help you choose the right breast shield.
  • Create A Support System At Working PlaceThere is nothing worse than the stress of having to pump in secrecy at your working place with constant fear of ’embarrassing’ yourself if someone sees. First of all, you need to realise that there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Inform your manager and colleagues that you will be pumping at work. Demand a special treatment if necessary. Be open about it and create a support system that makes pumping a pleasure.
  • Block pumping time in your office schedule
    Its easy to get caught up at work and skip a pumping session. But this will affect your supply in the long run. So, protect your pumping time fiercely and just don’t compromise on it.
  • Increase fluid intake and reduce caffeine and avoid smoking.
    Your diet and wellbeing plays a great role in your milk supply. The fluid level in your body needs to be replaced to keep yourself hydrated. Have a glass of water before pumping and a glass during or after pumping so that you keep yourself hydrated always.
    Excess Caffeine and smoking( even secondary) can adversely affect your milk supply.
  • Keep an extra pair of clothes at workYou never know when accidents might occur. If you don’t want to attend a meeting with milk stains, you might want to keep an extra pair of clothes handy. Its also a good idea to keep nursing pads, spare membrane of your breast pump as a back-up.
  • Pump in the car to save timePumping in the car is a great way to make use of the time you spend commuting. For this, get a hands-free pumping bra and a nursing cover to be discreet.
  • Checking your milk supply
    If you doubt that you have a low milk supply, then, pump after a gap of few hours( usually early morning is the best time). Then, try changing your breast pump or rent one from a hospital and check your supply.
  • Breastfeed whenever with baby
    No pump is as efficient as your baby in draining milk. That is why you should breastfeed whenever possible to maintain your milk supply.
  • Double breast pump or pump one side while baby nurses the other sideIf you don’t have a double breast pump, then try to nurse your baby and simultaneously pump from the other side. It is found to have a tremendous effect in increasing milk supply. You will be able to try it only when your baby is small as older ones will get distracted and try to play with the pump.
  • Avoid sleeping on your tummySleeping on tummy puts pressure on your breasts. This is not a good idea while breastfeeding as it tends to decrease your milk supply.
  • Limit formula feeding 
    When you feed formula, your child will naturally go without feeding for an extended time thus reducing his intake of breast milk and in turn affecting your milk supply. So, breastfeed as often as possible and breast pump every time your baby has a bottle of formula.
  • Use zip lock bagsStore breast pump after use in a zip lock bags and place it in a freezer so that you don’t have to clean between feeds. If you prefer to have clean breast shield before every pumping session, but can’t wash and sterilise, use Medela wipes.
  • You could also use two zip lock bags for storing parts that come into contact with milk and those that don’t separately.
  • Freeze in smaller quantities
    Freeze in 2 ounce bottles so that you don’t end up wasting left-over milk if your baby is not hungry.
  • Educate your baby’s care-giver about her feeding routine
    Before you start going to work after your maternity leave, pump and feed your baby for a week and make a note of the quantity of milk your little one consumes at a time and frequency of feeding throughout the day. Ask your baby’s caregiver to use this schedule as a guideline.
  • Caregivers have tendency to throw away any milk left over in the bottle after a feeding. But breast milk can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours. So, ask your caregiver to try feeding any excess milk left in the bottle within 4 hours to minimise wastage.
  • Organise so that you use the oldest milk firstMake compartments in freezer to arrange as per date. If you plan to keep 1 week reserve at all time, make 7 separate compartments and label them day-wise so that you use the oldest milk first.
  • If you store breast milk in storage bags, protect it in another zip lock bag against spillage and freezer bite.
  • Insulated box in the car
    If your car has a mini-fridge, great! Else get an insulated box and store breast milk in it surrounded by ice packs. This way, you can be sure that  expiry of the milk is not reduced from exposure to hot environment in the car.


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