Is exclusively pumping your thing? I do not consider myself an expert, but I do have some great resources rounded up for my friends who choose this path.
Breastfeeding is best, whether you do it directly or pump! It's the milk that matters.
I adored the time spent sitting down with my baby and being forced to relax during the feed. I am a high strung, super active, non-relaxing, type A person. So, for me to be forced to sit is a good thing. But I am super stoked that your baby is getting breastmilk because it is the best thing for your little one.
I know there is a trend for some women to pump exclusively and I wanted to help those of you who choose to exclusively pump with this list of tips.
Why I am here and who I am:
Hey mama, I am Trish— AKA Labor Nurse Mama. I am a labor and delivery nurse with over 15 years of high-risk OB experience. I am also a mama to 7 kids and have given birth to 6. This means I am quite familiar with the postpartum period and how to navigate it. I am the online birth class educator for Calm Labor Confident Birth and The VBAC Lab birth classes and the mama expert inside our Calm Mama Society, a pregnancy & postpartum membership community! I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey! You can find me over on IG teaching over 230k mamas daily. I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey!
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Exclusively Pumping Tip #1
My readers will probably guess where this is going. You guess right if you said education. My first and foremost exclusively pumping tip is EDUCATION. Being educated is key to anything you commit to, and this is a HUGE commitment. I recommend Milkology for their online classes, not only are they chock full of helpful information but also extremely budget-friendly. Another course I recommend for stellar breastfeeding knowledge is Lactation Link. Check them out here.
Exclusively Pumping Tip #2
Supplies like nursing bras, pads (you will leak), and a nursing cover, like our incredibly soft Boho Nursing Cover.
Duh…A pump! I mean you can't get the party started without one.
My absolute favorite pump I have owned is the Medela Pump in Style double breast pump with the backpack. I highly recommend this one as with all my difficulties it was the easiest for me to get the most return.
Head to Aeroflow and fill out their online form to see if you qualify through insurance for a free pump.
Exclusively Pumping Tip #3
What's the schedule for a mama who is exclusively pumping?
Starting at birth, you should be pumping every 2-3 hours until a few minutes after your milk stops flowing. You should pump around the clock to increase your supply. EVEN AT NIGHT! Your goal is to mimic that of a newborn's eating schedule. Exclusively pumping is hard work. But you must work hard to build a supply. Your night pumping sessions are vital as this is when your breastmilk producing hormones are in overdrive. The middle of night pump sessions will most likely give you your pot of gold.
- Suggested schedule: every 3 hours for the first six weeks, then go to every 4 hours until maybe three months, then increase to 4-6 hours. By 5-6 months, you can most likely pump every 8 hours.
Check out the tips from these experienced moms!
Exclusively Pumping Tip #4
Breast Milk Storage and handling! (These holding times come from the La Leche League.)
- Room temp: Breast milk can be at room temp for 4-6 Hrs
- It can be in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- In the freezer above or below a refrigerator for up to 3 months
- In a deep freezer for up to 6-12 months
- Once the defrosted milk is thawed, it must be used within 24hrs.
- Buy some sort of container to store the storage bags in, in the freezer. This will keep them organized and separate from other freezer items. Expect to bust out of a traditional freezer and potentially need a deep freezer.
Exclusively Pumping Tip #5
At some point in this journey, you most likely will need to increase your milk. Here are some tips to try, if all else fails, your OB can prescribe some short-term medications.
- Think Water, water, water, and more water! – 3+ liters a day. Grab yourself a stellar smart water bottle, so your sluggish brain doesn't have to track your water intake.
- Fenugreek ~ take two tablets up to three times daily.
- A solid diet with 600 extra calories for milk supply. Foods that increase milk are fennel, flaxseed, brewers yeast (my midwife told me to drink a beer a day…not sure about this advice but hey!) and oatmeal.
- Examine your diet and supplements for milk decreasing culprits. i.e.: Antihistamines dry up secretions, including breast milk!
- Your pumping schedule matters: All this depends on supply. If your supply decreases take a few days to pump more. Think supply and demand baby.
- Lactation cookies, bars, smoothies, and teas. Check out Pinterest for recipes.
Check out this free class about increasing your Milk supply!
Life with A New Recruit Infant and Parenting Class