There are many reasons that new mothers may not be able to physically breastfeed their new baby or you might just not want to. You can still provide breast milk for your child though.
This can be done by pumping breast milk for the baby and then bottle feeding it to them. Exclusively pumping is completely rewarding, but it can also be a difficult and sometimes lonely journey. Here you will find some exclusive pumping tips that may help to make exclusively pumping easier for you.
In order to provide breast milk for your baby, you have to stay hydrated. This doesn’t mean that you have to drink only water, but you do need to drink regularly. It is also a good idea to keep a water bottle wherever you plan to pump so that you have easy access to a drink while you are there.
You also need enough calories to be able to pump breast milk for your baby. It is really easy to forget to eat when you are caring for a baby and trying to pump enough breast milk for them too. Eat regular meals, and make sure that you keep plenty of healthy snacks around as well. Exclusively pumping, just like breastfeeding, can make you feel very hungry. Just like the water bottle at your pumping station, make sure that you keep a few snacks handy there as well.
Invest in your Pump
If you plan to exclusively pump breast milk for your baby, then you are going to need a quality pump that is designed for heavy use. Many of the pumps that you find online or in the baby store are designed for moms who plan to pump occasionally, not necessarily for moms who plan to exclusively pump. You may even consider renting a hospital-grade pump if they are available in your area.
There are good commercial pumps that you can choose, but do your research before making a purchase. Read the reviews, ask other exclusively pumping moms, and choose wisely. You don’t want your pumping journey to end sooner than you want due to an ineffective pump.
Speaking of pumps, if at all possible get a pump that allows you to pump milk out of both breasts at the same time. If you can get a double pump, make sure that you also invest in a quality, comfortable pumping bra. This will allow you to pump with your hands-free, which can be helpful if you are pumping and need to change a diaper or soothe a crying baby.
Set Up Your Pumping Station
Your pumping station is going to be where you spend a lot of your time over the coming days and weeks so it needs to be as comfortable as possible. Every mom will have her own ideas of what she wants at her pumping station but some suggestions in addition to the water bottle and snacks are TV remote, charger for your phone (you may spend a lot of time scrolling through your phone), pillows, a blanket, a book, and a way to keep your baby comfortable, safe, and close while you pump. Studies have shown that you produce more milk if you can see and smell your baby while you pump!
To be a successful exclusively pumping mom you will need to pump regularly. When your baby is first born that means that you should be pumping at least every two to three hours, around the clock, yes, that means you are pumping in the middle of the night too. This will help you to establish your supply.
You should pump for 15 to 20 minutes (on each breast or both breasts at the same time if you can) per session, and then pump for one to five minutes after you stop getting milk in the collection bottles. This way you know that both breasts are fully empty, which can prevent engorgement, and your body will know that it is time to make more milk. After your milk supply has been established you may be able to skip those middle of the night pumping sessions.
Have a Support System
Breastfeeding is hard work, exclusively pumping is also hard work and it helps to have a support system in place. A partner who can pick up some slack around the house or a friend that you can call while you are pumping who will encourage you through this journey is helpful.
There are also some social media support groups just for exclusively pumping moms, the support you will find in those is worth their weight in gold. From tips and recommendations, jokes, binge-worthy TV shows, and moral support, you will find it all in those groups. The groups on social media are not hard to find, just type exclusively pumping moms in the search box and several options will appear.
Exclusively pumping to provide the best nutrition that you can for your baby is amazing and you should feel proud of yourself for doing it. It is hard work, especially at first, but it is so worth it. Use the tips here to help you on your journey and keep pumping mama!