Power Pumping and Other Tricks Increase Milk Supply
For many moms, pumping is simply not as efficient as a baby nursing to increase milk supply. So don't be surprised if you pump less than your baby is drinking during the day. This is when you start dipping into that freezer stash.
At the same time, try some of these tricks to increase milk supply:
- Pump Longer: If you've been pumping for 15 minutes at a time, try 30 minutes. You may see two or even three separate letdowns and overall you will increase your milk supply.
- Power Pump: Pump for 10 minutes, wait a few minutes, pump another 10 minutes, wait a few minutes, and then pump another 10 minutes. You should experience three or more separate letdowns and more milk overall.
- Massage Your Breasts: While pumping, massage your breasts in the direction of the nipple. You can think of it as squeezing and pushing out the milk.
- Add a Pumping Session: See if you can pump one extra time, either first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Some moms even wake up in the middle of the night to pump!
- Rent a Hospital-Grade Pump: If your milk supply drops dramatically, you might want to explore renting a hospital-grade pump for a month or two. It can bridge the gap until your baby starts solids and begins to taper milk consumption.
- Get More Rest: I know, it seems obvious advice to new moms. But when you're exhausted, your body won't make as much milk. I was staying up late to squeeze in another pumping session, when it turned out that after two nights' good sleep, my milk supply actually increased.
- Eat Oatmeal: This may be an old wives' tale, but oatmeal cookies never hurt anyone!
Remember that it takes your body a few days to respond to these tricks by increasing milk supply.
Streamline Cleaning Pump Pieces and Bottles
You'll get more rest if you spend less time washing the dirty bottles and pump pieces left after every pumping session. You might want to buy duplicate pumping sets so you can clean in batches at the end of the workday. Or, look for a clean sink and place to dry the pieces at work.
If you have access to a microwave, try the steam-cleaning bags sold by Medela. What a timesaver!
Make sure you have your pumping bra, breast pump, clean pump pieces and bottles packed before you go to bed. I packed each set in a large ziplock bag so I could easily take them out at work.
Don't Exhaust Yourself
The saddest thing you could do in a quest to extend breastfeeding would be to become obsessed with your milk supply and miserable. Give yourself a break.
Maybe you end up supplementing with formula. It's a perfectly healthy way to feed your child. Any amount of breast milk you're able to make is better than nothing, and will give your baby wonderful nutrition and immunity protections.
In the end, how much milk you pump doesn't determine your worth as a mother. Your child will be better off with you as a happy, responsive, loving mother than the world's most productive wet nurse.Want regular doses of the most fun, informative and juicy news for working moms on the Web? Sign up for a free newsletter today!