Are you a breastfeeding mother struggling to build up a milk supply? These no-brainer pumping hacks and tips will help you produce more milk so you can store up a supply to bottle feed baby. Perfect for moms going back to the workforce or moms who just want to get a hand-feeding baby!
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The whirring of a breast pump machine is a sound that brings numerous memories to mind for the nursing mother.
Hee haw, hee haw, hee haw.
It’s an incessant hum that can infiltrate those exhausting days and nights throughout the blur of the newborn phase.
Some moms dread that sound, which is often tied to memories of painful pumping or isolation from the rest of the world as she seeks to store up much-needed milk for baby.
But for many of us, there comes a time when pumping is necessary. Whether it’s for moms going back to work after a short maternity leave or for moms who just need a break from being the only one to feed baby (so having a bottle with breast milk to feed baby is a must!).
And as most of us who’ve been down that road know, pumping more milk can be quite the process.
It’s not alway easy or efficient.
And it takes some basic understanding of how much milk you want to produce.
So whether you’re planning to go back to work or just trying to build up a stash for date night, these breastfeeding tips for pumping moms will help make your goal that much easier!
Pump first thing in the morning
First thing in the morning is when your supply will be greatest, so it’s super important to pump during this time. The exact time when you should pump greatly depends on you and your body. Some mothers will get up at 5am, while others can wait until later in the morning since that’s what works around their sleeping schedule with babe.
Typically, you don’t nurse nearly as much at night as you do during the day when you’ve settled into a good routine. This creates longer gaps between feedings so you are more full and have more to empty when you wake up in the morning.
For best results, my pediatrician highly recommend pumping first thing in the morning to get you off to a good start!
And the great thing is, after you’re done pumping, you can even feed the baby (as you’ll read below!).
Pump before feeding baby
Now after you pump that first session in the morning, nurse that baby! When baby needs to be fed, try your best to pump first, not after. Naturally, the baby will be able to get more milk out than the pump. That’s just the way it works because a baby’s latch can express much more milk than any pump.
If you breastfeed and then have to pump, you’re not going to get much out. But if you empty with the pump and then feed the baby, she can stimulate to produce more milk.
By pumping first and then feeding baby, you will be able to get the most milk out. It may increase your supply if that’s your goal as well.
Pump as often as possible
When you’re first establishing a pumping schedule, pump as much as you can. This is the key to getting your body to produce more milk and at certain times. Try and pump at the same times everyday if at all possible.
When you start pumping more often, your body is going to pick up on that and begin producing more milk. After you empty, try pumping for a few extra minutes to help with that stimulation.
Feed yourself first & hydrate
We all know the importance of hydrating when your breastfeeding, but did you also know that drinking plenty of fluids can help prepare your body to be ready for pumping?
YES, of course. Water intake is so vital when it comes to increasing milk production. This is especially true when you’re exclusively breastfeeding. And it’s so easy to become dehydrated when you’re nursing around the clock.
Replenishing your fluids and taking in plenty of calories can make all the difference.
Try to always have a glass of water at your night stand or refill your water bottle throughout the day as you work to build up a good milk supply.
Find a Reliable Breast Pump
I’m not gonna lie, purchasing a good breast pump machine is another really important step to being able to successfully express extra milk for those bottle feedings. Manual pumps are great for on-the-go use or for relief when you’ve started the weaning process.
But they can sometimes be painful. So for building up a good milk supply to store in the fridge, an electric pump is a must.
They aren’t cheap, and they can’t really be returned after use for obvious reasons. That’s why it’s always important to read recommendations and especially those that come from word of mouth to find one that will work for you. (Note: Be sure to check with your insurance company to see if they are covered, as many are!).
I used the popular Medela brand because it was what my sister recommended and thankfully, I found it to be one of the best! I love that it comes in a discrete black bag for added comfort so you can carry anywhere you need (and perfect for the working mom).
This brand lasted me a few years and I used it to breastfeed my first two kids. Then for baby number three, I ended up getting a brand new one (4 years difference from the oldest). It can probably last you through several kids depending on how you care for it. After each kid, I simply purchased some parts like the valves and tubes for best results.
I hope these pumping tips will help you on your breastfeeding journey. These really are the basics that nursing moms need to focus on when trying to pump extra breast milk for baby. If you’re finding that baby is never full after breastfeeding or your breast is “empty” after each feeding it can seem difficult to find anymore room to pump. But it is possible with a few small adjustments in your pumping routine and health choices. Taking breaks, resting and drinking plenty of water really can work wonders.
Here’s another resource I recommend if you are planning to head back to work –> Pumping Milk Class by Milkology
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.