Pumping out breast milk is becoming increasingly popular. Many nursing mothers indulge themselves occasionally for a break and still want to provide their baby with breast milk. What you have to pay attention to, you will find out here.
Breast-pumping breast-milk has long since ceased to be a topic of nursing problems. According to a study by breast pump manufacturer Medela , pumping is now part of everyday life in three out of four mothers . Many breastfeeding mothers just treat themselves to a break, start again while they are breastfeeding, to work or to hold important appointments. By pumping your baby will benefit even from your breast milk, even if you can not be directly with him and breastfeed.
Pumping off breast milk: how does it work?
Pumping out breast milk is usually a bit strange at first , because many women feel like a dairy cow on a milking machine. How much milk can be pumped, is different individually – some mums have just half an hour 20 ml together, in others, the bottle is already full. Do not let that irritate you. Especially at the beginning of lactation, the amount of milk must still settle and the need for breast milk to be matched to your baby. As with learning every new skill, breastmilk must also be practiced . The most important thing is: be patient! After all, pumping is not the same as breastfeeding your baby.
When breastfeeding, the hormone oxytocin ensures that the milk donor reflex is triggered as soon as your baby sucks on the breast. Breast pumps imitate this sucking by placing a suction cup or breast shield on your chest and creating a vacuum. Most of the time, your body gradually learns to trigger your milk donor reflex when it’s pumped out, and the amount of milk you pump should increase.
When and how often should breastmilk be pumped out?
When is the right time for breastmilk to pump out for you, you decide all alone. You can pump the milk between your baby’s breastfeeding meals or directly after breastfeeding . Try to pump at different times to find out which rhythm fits your daily life best. Since the production of breast milk is based on how much your baby drinks and you pump in addition, you should be careful when pumping the milk, so that the balance between supply and demand is not disturbed too much. Therefore, it is recommended to pump and collect small quantities several times a day, or to pump off a fixed additional milk meal at the same time.
You are unsure how to store your pumped milk? Of course, we have also collected all the information about breast milk for you.
Hand Pump or Electric Breast Pump – What’s Better?
Pump out breast milk with hand pump
- handy if you only want to pump milk from time to time
- takes a little longer than with an electric breast pump
- is cheaper for it
- You can determine the rhythm while pumping yourself
- more space saving than an electric pump
Pump out breast milk with electric breast pump
- is especially worthwhile if you want to pump off regular and larger quantities of milk
- with the right bustier you have your hands free when pumping
- Electric breastpumps are not cheap
- If you have a prescription from the pediatrician or gynecologist, you can also borrow a breast pump from the pharmacy
The fit is important! Then you should pay attention to the breast pump
Pumping out breast milk must not hurt ! If you are in pain when pumping milk, rubbing something, the skin becomes sore or blisters develop, something is wrong.
You can do that against:
- Reduce the vacuum level of your breastpump and
- check if you are using the right breastshield size (the funnel-shaped portion that is placed on your breast pump sets).
So you determine the right size of the breast cap of your breast pump
- The tunnel of the breast shield should wrap your nipple tightly, but leave enough space for it to move back and forth without rubbing against the tunnel walls.
- You should not scrub it, and not too much of your areola (the dark area around your nipple) or the surrounding breast skin should be drawn into the tunnel as you pump.
- A poorly fitting breast shield can reduce the amount of milk being pumped , which is why some manufacturers, such as Medela , offer breast caps of various sizes.
If the symptoms persist after trying these tips, you should seek the advice of a doctor, midwife, or lactation consultant before you continue to pump.
Pumping out breast milk: tips and tricks
Take your time!
In the first four weeks, your breastfeeding relationship has to settle down first and stimulate your milk production. Therefore, you should not artificially interfere with this rhythm at this time. Drink your baby well and regularly, you therefore need not initially breast pump . Just enjoy the first magical time with your little darling, quiet as needed – that also means, if you need it, to give you relief – and trust your gut instincts. When the amount of milk and breastfeeding rhythm have regulated, you can start pumping with the breast milk.
Pay attention to hygiene!
Hand washing before pumping is mandatory. Also, all pump parts that have come into contact with your breastmilk, yourself or the baby should be cleaned and disinfected once a day after cleaning. When the pumpset is completely dry, you can store it in a clean bag.
Make yourself comfortable!
Find a comfortable seating position in which you feel comfortable. The more relaxed you are, the better it works with the milk. To keep you relaxed while pumping out and not having to interrupt the process, put everything you need within reach – phone, remote control, a book, and do not forget: a glass of water or tea.
Trigger your milk donor reflex!
Most electric breast pumps (eg from Medela ) mimic the suckling rhythm of your baby in two phases. This starts with a quick, gentle suck, followed by slower, stronger sucking to trigger your milk donor reflex. A chest massage and heat before pumping out stimulate the milk flow in addition and can increase the amount of milk. Also, skin contact with your baby before and during a pumping session can help to gain more milk by stimulating the release of oxytocin. Pumping and breastfeeding at the same time make the milk flow better.
Double is better!
If you plan on pumping regularly, it pays to invest in a double pump . Because in bilateral pumping the prolactin level – the level of milk production hormone – increased. As a result, almost one-fifth more milk can be pumped out and the milk also has a higher fat content than if you pumped each breast one after the other.
Pumping fast between door and hinge? Not a good idea. Time pressure and stress inhibit the milk donor reflex . Therefore, always plan on getting enough time and pump out breastmilk completely relaxed.
Tip: For many mothers, the milk flows better when pumping, while they watch their baby. If your little sweetheart is not there right now, take a look at a photo or try on his things. Sounds a bit strange, but helps.
Pumping off breast milk: If the baby can not drink by himself
Some babies, such as premature babies or babies with special needs , do not manage to drink alone on Mama’s chest. But so that the very little ones can benefit from the many great properties of breast milk, you should start as soon as possible after the birth with the bilateral pumping.
According to studies, mothers produce more milk by always pumping out breast milk if the baby normally drinks . That is, it was best to start pumping out within the first few hours, and then pump out breast milk about every three hours.
Get acquainted with the topic of breastfeeding and pumping best already during pregnancy, get the necessary accessories and ask a midwife or a breastfeeding advisor for support.
You feel like a dairy cow? This is how most mothers pump milk when they do so. Do you want to exchange ideas with other mums about breastfeeding and breastmilk? Then have a look at our BRIGITTE community .