Breastfeeding is a whole new world for first-time mamas. It can be daunting, but there’s plenty of information available for moms to research and learn tips and tricks. All you need to do is ensure your baby is healthy and well-fed. There are a few secrets, though, that make breastfeeding and pumping easier for new moms. Pumps for Mom dives into a few recommendations you might not have already heard about breastfeeding and effective pumping.
Pump the Other Breast to Increase Milk Supply
One pumping approach that will increase your milk supply is pumping from one breast while breastfeeding from the other. This stimulation will encourage your breasts to produce more milk since they “activate” when used, following a supply and demand system. Plus, if you pump after nursing, you’ll gather any leftover milk to store and use for bottles.
Introduce the Bottle Before Returning to Work
If you’re planning to return to work and use a pump, try it out before you start working and introduce your baby to the bottle. It can be tricky for moms to get used to a pump or difficult for babies to latch to a bottle at first, so it helps if you’re around to get acclimated to everything. We recommend introducing the bottle a week or two before you return to work, depending on your maternity leave schedule.
Get a Flange that Fits
If you’re breast pumping, a fitted flange is an essential component. The breast flange works as a shield over your nipple, covering the area and allowing flow between the nipple and the pump’s tubing. A breast flange should not be uncomfortable. If you have the wrong size, it can harm your skin and make the breast pumping experience more complicated than necessary, plus it may lead to leaking. The correct size will facilitate better milk flow, enabling more milk to get from breast to bottle and making you feel more comfortable.
Pumping May Not Come Naturally
Both breastfeeding and breast pumping may not feel natural at first. It can be downright frustrating when you’re trying to feed your baby, and it doesn’t seem to be working. Patience and practice help, though, because you’ll get there eventually, whether with the help of a lactation consultant or on your own. Don’t fret—these things can take time, and you’re a great mom trying your best to feed your baby! Remember, it’s not “all or nothing,” and every drop counts.
Comfort is Key
Being comfortable is an absolute must when you’re breastfeeding. Okay, this one may not be a huge secret–but it is something many moms overlook when they’re trying to be as productive as possible. A breastfeeding pillow is a cozy asset for maximum comfort while feeding or pumping. Another comfort-enhancing recommendation is a nursing bra. Nursing bras allow easy access during pumping or feeding sessions and save you the hassle of removing clothes. While you can pump on the go or anywhere you like, having a designated pumping space can also help you feel at ease. Find whatever works for you, and don’t compromise to get the most out of your pumping sessions.
Get a Free Breast Pump through Insurance
One last tidbit many new moms don’t know about is that you can get a free breast pump through insurance if your plan covers pumps. Most insurance plans offer some breast pump coverage due to the Affordable Care Act, and Pumps for Mom can help you figure out what options are available.
Breastfeeding is a journey unique to mothers that is both special and, at times, challenging. Whether you’re throwing breast pumping into the mix or not, there’s a lot to take in when it comes to researching what to do or not to do. The good news is that while it may take some time to nail down, nursing is a natural, healthy way to feed your baby. The team at Pumps for Mom is here to help with at least one portion of your journey by guiding you through getting a breast pump and helping you navigate insurance—reach out with any questions, and good luck, mama!