Posts Tagged ‘breast pump’

Making Exclusive Pumping a Little Easier

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

exclusively pumpingDue to my daughter having a poor suck-swallow-breathe reflex, as well as a short NICU stay, I ended up exclusively pumping. I tried for 5 days to feed from the breast. At the end of 5 days, I was tired of crying about being unsuccessful at breastfeeding. This was also the day my daughter returned to the NICU. I was having success pumping, unlike breastfeeding, so I decided to switch to exclusively pumping.

I quickly discovered that exclusively pumping is very lonely. It seemed as though in the whole breastfeeding versus formula feeding debate, I fell somewhere in the middle. The lack of camaraderie and the amount of time required to exclusively pump made it very difficult to stick with it. Here are a few tricks and tips I learned along the way to make exclusively pumping a little easier.

1.     Rent a hospital-grade pump. Due to the way my insurance provided pumps, I ended up renting a hospital-grade pump for two months after my daughter was born. My output was much higher with the same pumping time when I used the hospital-grade pump compared to what I was able to get with the pump I received from my insurance.

2.     Refrigerate pump parts/wash and steam sanitize once a day. Although I did not do this at first, I began to only wash and sanitize my parts once a day after a month or so. The thinking is milk is good in the fridge for up to 48 hours, so leaving some milk in the pump parts for 24 hours is ok. I would pack my parts in a gallon freezer bag, place it in the fridge, and would wash and sanitize them once a day.

3.     Pump every 2-3 hours. Do not go over 4 hours. I thought of pumping as a substitute for breastfeeding and stuck as close to the suggested feeding schedule for newborns as possible. After every feed, I would pump so that I would have milk for the next feeding. After a few days, I was able to get ahead but still pumped frequently as to establish my supply.

4.     Enlist the help of others.  I would have not been able to exclusively pump without my husband’s support. He helped wash bottles and pump parts as well as held and entertained my daughter while I was pumping. He also sometimes sat with me and kept me company while I was pumping. He was just as excited as I was the first time I pumped an ounce in one pumping session. Having him cheer me on was a great morale booster!

5.     Join online pumping communities. I learned so much through online community about pumping schedules, saving time, establishing a supply, and gained other moms to support me at 2 am, when I was hooked up to a pump again and feeling like quitting. Exclusively pumping felt a little less lonely when I had a place to go to for support.

Although it was difficult for me to do, and I still sometimes cringe at the thought of pumping, I am glad I was able to make exclusively pumping work for us.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to an energetic, spirited toddler and a happy, easy going baby from Denver, Colorado. She enjoys running, hiking, and cooking with her two girls.

When To Dump The Pump

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 8.26.58 AMThere comes a certain time during a mother’s breastfeeding journey when she is ready to dump the pump.  I was ready to dump my pump as soon as I had my first experience using it.  The noises it made and the way it made me feel worked against the machine from the very start.  After 3 years, I continue to look forward to someday officially being able to dump the pump.

In the beginning, I desperately needed my breast pump to keep my supply up and to have bottles of breast milk to send to daycare with my son.  Once my son refused a bottle completely at around 5 months old and I became a stay at home mom, I questioned how much longer I would need to keep my pump around.  I occasionally used it just in case he ever cooperated and took a bottle. It also came in handy when he started sleeping through the night and I would wake up with more milk than I needed in the early morning hours.  I was very hesitant to dump my pump with my first child since it was my first time breastfeeding.  I didn’t use the pump after he turned a year old, but I still waited to donate the pump until I was completely finished nursing him.
Less than two years after starting my breastfeeding journey with my son, my daughter was born.  I received a new breast pump in the hospital and thought “here we go again”.  Luckily, my daughter was a great nurser and since I was not going to be working, I didn’t need a supply for bottles early on.  I did pump once in a while, so that I could try to give my daughter a bottle sometimes.  But, she refused bottles just like her brother.  I was dumbfounded and also somewhat relieved that I wouldn’t need to spend as much time with my pump.
Again, I wasn’t too quick to dump my pump.  A few cases of mastitis and several clogged ducts later, created attachment issues with my pump.  Even though my pump has been sitting in my closet and hasn’t been used in over 6 months, I am still afraid to officially dump the pump.  I’m pretty sure I will hang on to it until I am completely finished with breastfeeding, whenever that may be.
Sarah Cole stays at home with her two busy toddlers and has been breastfeeding for over 3 years.

Top 10 Tips for Successful Pumping!

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

For many, many breastfeeding mamas a breast pump is an important tool in developing a successful breastfeeding relationship. Although with it often comes many questions and uncertainties. While I personally have virtually no experience with pumping or bottle-feeding my awesome sister-in-law, Megan, does! I asked Megan if she would share with us some suggestions for using a breast pump. Here are her Top 10 Tips for Successful Pumping:

When I got pregnant with my son I was a year into completing my nursing degree and would have to continue on with school once our baby was born. My goal was for baby to have only breast milk which meant that I would have to pump and that my husband would have to bottle-feed baby while I was at school.  My son is now 11 months old and I have been pumping since he was born. Here are a few tips I have learned during the past year of pumping.

1. Have the right equipment: Find a breast pump that is right for you. I personally like the Medela Pump Backpack. I am able to pump both sides at the same time which makes pumping go much quicker. I also always wear a nursing top under my clothes. That way when I do have to pump I feel more comfortable and am not as self conscious about lifting up my shirt. I also find that if I bring my nursing cover with me I am able to be modest about it and then can pump virtually anywhere there is an available outlet.

2. Find a comfortable space: When I first started pumping (as is the case when I first started nursing) privacy was very important to me. I wanted a place where I was by myself, could lock the door, and could avoid any interruptions. As time went on I realized that no one could see what I was doing and became more comfortable with it. I have even been known to pump in class! But in the beginning I liked the privacy of a locked room, and would even bring my e-reader to entertain myself.

 3. Stay hydrated! : It is just as important to keep hydrated when you are pumping as it is when you are nursing. I try to have a brightly colored water bottle at the nurses’ station so that it always catches my eye when I walk by it.

4. Pump Until You Are Empty: This helps with many things. First you are able to get the most milk out with each pumping time. The pumps try to mimic the sucking of your baby but there is no way for it to do that completely. So sometimes I try to give it a little help. This will also prevent clogged ducts.

 5. Get in the right mindset: I find that when I am pumping if I sit back, relax (which can be very hard during clinicals) and try to think of my son it will help my milk come in when the pumping begins. I try to think of him laying on his side and curling around me. The feel of his soft little skin against mine, and his little hands pulling on my necklace. By then my milk has usually come down and is freely coming out and filling the bottles.

6. Getting a good latch: This is just as important with pumping as it is with breast feeding. If the pump is not centered around your nipple you are not going to get as much milk out. Not to mention the fact that it is going to cause some soreness and pain. So once the pumping has begun you may need to pull it off and re-center it. It makes a funny suction sound but other than that it doesn’t hurt. 🙂

7. Start Early: I started pumping with my little one while we were in the hospital right after he was born. Many hospitals will provide a pump in the room for you, as well as all of the proper tools you will need to get started. Hopefully an on-staff IBC lactation consultant will be available to support you once you express your desire to breastfeed. However this is not always the case. So be sure to ask if these services will be provided when you do a tour of the hospital or are considering a hospital/birthing center to birth at. If you are doing a home birth prepare yourself by purchasing a pump and discussing with your midwife on proper usage. You can also attend a La Leche League meeting (even bring your breast pump along) for some guidance on pumping.

8. Know your rights: As a breastfeeding mother, I am protected by law and am not allowed to be penalized in any way for missing time at work or in class for pumping. Time spent pumping does not count as my lunch break at work nor does it count as a break from class. Make sure that you know the rules and regulations  regarding breastfeeding in your state are so you can exercise your rights.

9. Make it a priority: I know this is hard! You get to work and things start to get busy and before you know it 4 or 5 hours have passed and you don’t know where the day has gone. In this case it may be helpful to set an alarm for yourself. In the beginning I had to pump every 3 hours or I would start leaking on my scrubs. And many times I had to say “I can’t help you now I have to pump but I will help you in 20 minutes when I am done”.

10. Introducing a bottle: This is different for everyone and is entirely up to the family. I was told by our childbirth educator, who is also a certified doula, to wait until our baby was 3 weeks old and had passed his first growth spurt to introduce a bottle. That is what we did and it is what worked well for us, but what works for one does not always work for everyone else.

What helped you be successful with using a breast pump? Would love to hear some more tips from our readers!

-Sarah and Megan 🙂

Sunday Funday Giveaway: Hygeia Manual Breastpump

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

This week’s giveaway is for a Hygeia Manual Breastpump. Even if you are (or plan to be) an ‘exclusively-breastfeeding-straight-from-the-tap’ mama, it is helpful to have breastpump available. A manual pump such as the Hygeia Manual Breastpump is a great low-cost option for mothers who would be using a pump minimally. Some situations where you would benefit from having a manual breastpump include:

-to help relieve engorgement when you have a newborn who is still learning how to latch properly

-if you wanted to use the curative powers of breastmilk for topical purposes (diaper rash, pink eye, etc)

-if you are rarely away from baby, but a special circumstance requires you to be (ie- wedding, funeral, etc) you might want to express some milk for your own comfort

-if there were ever a special circumstance where you needed to ‘pump and dump’ such as a medical procedure that required medication that you didn’t want to pass to baby

– if you wanted to mix a small amount of breastmilk into baby’s first introduction to solid foods

A manual pump is a perfect low-cost option for these types scenarios that might occasionally arise during the course of your breastfeeding relationship. If you will need to pump on a fairly regular basis, you’ll definitely want to invest in a more powerful pump such as an electric single or double breast pump. However a manual breastpump such as the Hygeia Manual Breastpump is a good fit for the infrequently pumping mama. It’s easy to use and completely portable. It has a vacuum regulator with strength control and automatic release at the end of the stroke.

Enter this week’s giveaway today to win a FREE Hygeia Manual Breastpump!!