Pumping is a unique experience for everybody. There are women who can pump 5 oz’s in 5 minutes and have difficulty with their baby on their breast. Then there are others who can get ½ an oz. in 20min yet are Niagara Falls while feeding their baby on the breast. For this reason, what you pump is NOT an indication as to what your baby is getting at the breast. They are more efficient than any hospital grade double electric pump can ever be. The next best thing is hand expression. It is more true to breastfeeding than the pump itself. The reason for that is your hand is actually stimulating and contracting the ducts. A pump is merely drawing milk out. Over time, it has been seen that exclusively pumping mothers have a decrease in milk supply if they are not compressing their breast at the same time. The reason for that is simple. Compressions contract the ducts and draw the milk out. It is a fine art. If you have never compressed let me explain it to you. When your baby is on your breast, hold your hand in the shape of a C close to the chest cavity (otherwise if you are too close to the areola it can break the latch). When your baby sucks, you compress and hold. When they stop, you stop. When you are pumping, do the same thing intermittently. Hold a compression for approximately 10 seconds or so then stop. You can move your hand around your breast. Think of it like a clock. Move your thumb from 12 o’clock to 1, 2 and so on. This way you are hitting different ducts. This can be done while pumping or when your baby is on the breast. The same applies when hand expressing. If you have gone back to work it can be trickier. The best scenario will be to pump at different times. Not on a schedule. This will keep your body in milk making mode as it won’t think it has to slow down.
Some mothers find it helpful to add blessed thistle and fenugreek while they are pumping. This has a tendency to increase their supply a bit. It has been noticed however that it seems to work best from birth till around 3 months. There are other tricks to increasing your supply. Feel free to contact me for support and information.
Making the choice to pump to keep feeding your baby breast milk is a noble one. I look forward to the day when all societies value the mother baby breastfeeding diad and there isn’t a need to separate them. Until then, I look forward to educating society and women on how to accomplish their goals of working, breastfeeding and being in a supportive environment.\
Certified Lactation Counsellor
058 400-5864 (Israel) or 647 558-5074 (Canada)