Friday, February 18, 2011

Exclusive Pumping: Keeping Up Breast Milk Production While Pumping

I often get moms who want to exclusively pump instead of breast feed directly.  If you choose to pump exclusively, it is very important that stimulation starts in the hospital within 1 hour of the baby's birth.  Moms should double pump with a hospital or professional quality pump like the Ameda, Medela or Hygeia hospital grade rental pumps or a brand new (not used) professional quality pump like the Ameda Purely YoursHygeia EnJoye Breast Pump or Spectra S2 Breast Pump

To initiate milk supply, pump every 2-3 hours with a 5 hour stretch at night for a total of at least 8 times per day of 10-15 minute double pumping sessions.  Many pumping moms get discouraged during the first 3-5 days as it is hard to see much going into the bottles as colostrum comes in teaspoons, not ounces.  Do not let this dissuade you, but draw this liquid gold up in a syringe and give it to the baby as it is chalked full of antibodies.  This schedule goes on for the first six months for the most part, but there are times when normal babies go through growth spurts that you will have to simulate with a pump.  When the baby is 2-3 weeks old and again when the baby is 3 months old, set aside a 5 day period that you will step up the pumping schedule to every 2 hours for a total of at least 11-12 times per day.  This must be 5 days in a row.  If your schedule gets interrupted, start over.   As you can see, this is a lot of pumping and cleaning of pump parts.  You will want at least 2-3 sets of breast flanges to use.  Some moms start this because it only takes 10-15 minutes to pump and a newborn baby takes 45 minutes to nurse, but as the baby gets older breastfeeding directly is much easier.  No bottles or pump parts to clean and most 2-6 month old babies will nurse in 20 minutes so you may want to reconsider your decision.  Pumping is great for the working mother, but if you choose to exclusively pump, experience shows me that these moms do not nurse as long as their direct breastfeeding counterparts.  If you breastfeed directly, it gets much easier by 6 weeks and by 3 months you feel sorry for moms who mix formula.   After all, have milk will travel!

If you do choose to exclusively pump, in addition to a quality breast pump a few key accessories will make your life easier.  These include a hands-free pumping bra so that you can multi-task while you are pumping, a breast pump cooler bag for transporting your pump and breast milk, an air dry bag to store and dry your breast pump parts on-the-go, and re-usable sterilizer bags to keep your parts sanitary anywhere you pump that you have access to a microwave.

Happy Traveling,

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