Pumping is a way for a breastfeeding mom to express her breastmilk in case she and her baby need to be apart. According to a Lansinoh® survey conducted in 2005, 94 percent of first-time mothers plan to pump their breastmilk. Here is some information to get you started:
When Do I Pump?
If you are pumping to have extra breastmilk on hand for occasional use, the best time to pump is in the morning, after your first morning feeding. Milk supply is most abundant in the early hours of the morning, so take advantage of this time to pump after baby's first feeding in the morning or even while you are nursing your baby.
If you are going back to work, you will need to have more breastmilk on hand so baby can be fed with your milk even if you have to be apart. To build a supply of breastmilk prior to going back to work, pump daily in the morning and put it directly into the freezer. Then when you go back to work, pump at work at the times when your baby would be feeding. Store the breastmilk safely at work and bring home whatever breastmilk you've pumped during the workday. You can put milk in the refrigerator if you will be using it within 8 days or put it in the freezer to add to your saved milk stash. See Pumping at Work for more tips on establishing a routine when you go back to work. Lansinoh® Breastmilk Storage Bags and Lansinoh® Breastmilk Storage Bottles can be used for safe and convenient breastmilk storage.
How Do I Pump?
The process of pumping is simple but it does take some getting used to. Here are some directions for using the Lansinoh® Affinity®double electric breast pump. Click here for the full instruction manual.
- Wash your hands before using the pump.
- The most important part of successful pumping is the let-down reflex. This is when your breastmilk begins to flow freely. Thinking of or looking at a photo of your baby while pumping can help.
- Center the nipple in the flanges (the cone-like parts that go on the breast). Make sure the breast completely fills the breast flange so that a vacuum is formed and no air escapes. The nipple tunnel should tilt slightly downward to allow milk to flow naturally toward the bottle. If you experience discomfort and/or your milk is not flowing, you may need a different size flange.
On average, a pumping session will usually last about 20 minutes but this can vary from mom to mom. Remember, successful pumping is a learned art. Early practice sessions may be shorter or longer than stated here and may result in only a small amount of breastmilk collected.
Breastmilk is produced on a supply and demand basis. So, if you are trying to build a supply of milk before you go to work add a pumping session to your schedule each day, preferably after you feed your baby in the morning. Continue to pump that same time each day. Don't worry if you only get a small amount the first time because you are telling your body to make more breastmilk for the next day. Each day you may see more breastmilk and your supply will build.
- Store the breastmilk