Breastfeeding and pumping: 5 tips to make it easier for yourself
I loved breastfeeding my own two babies, and kept it up for close to a year with them both.
However, pumping, on the other hand, was not one of my favourite activities.
Never will you feel more like a dairy cow than hearing that gentle swosh, swosh sound of your breast pump and feeling the milk drain from your boobs.
I had to pump for a while with both of my babies, both because I needed to up my milk production a little and I had really snoozy babies that tended to fall asleep the minute they had my boob in their mouth, and also because I was unlucky enough to come down with mastitis twice, and hence needed to pump to drain my boob completely and unblock those blocked milk ducts.
Having lived through my pumping days, I would like to think that should I ever have another baby, I now know a thing or two that will make it easier and even slightly more pleasant this time around.
Are you ready? Here are five tips I think will help all pumping mamas make life that little bit easier:
1. Make sure you get a good pump – and nursing bra
This is so important – and something which could make or break your pumping journey. Personally, I used the Medela Electronic Pump, as I found it the most comfortable and it is made in such a way that it will easily adapt to the shape of your breast.
I also loved how the pump will mimic how your baby sucks, meaning it sucks more quickly at first, to get your milk going, the slows down a little. To mums who are also still breastfeeding, this just makes sense, I think.
I also loved how it was super portable.
Another one I have not tried myself, but heard great things about is the wearable pump from Elvie, designed to just be worn inside your bra as you go about your business!
Also, make sure you invest in a good nursing bra – one that is not only super-comfortable, but that also un-hooks easily, meaning you can do all your dressing and undressing with just one hand.
2. Create a 'pumping station' in your home
If you are pumping, you are going to be doing quite a lot, and so it makes all sorts of sense to find a comfortable spot to do so. Set yourself up in a corner of the sofa, or a super-comfortable armchair, and make sure you have a foot stool on hand, a nursing pillow (even for pumping, they are just so comfy to lean on!), and also, within arms reach: A water bottle, some snacks you can eat with one hand (energy bars are good), nipple cream, a cloth, a phone charger, the remote control, a stack of magazines or whatever else you need to feel super-comfy.
3. Nourish yourself
When you are breastfeeding – or pumping, or both, your body is working around the clock to produce enough milk for your growing baby. And all this work requires energy, so it is absolutely vital to make sure you stay well-fed and hydrated rigth now.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day, I really enjoyed green tea too, as well as this milk-boosting herbal tea my mum had picked up at the local health food store and swore worked. Make it a habit to carry a drinking bottle around with you at tall times. And the same goes for eating enough and right. Eat good, healthy and nourishing food, and you will not only see a difference in your milk supply, but also in your energy levels.
4. Delegate some of the responsibility
Sure, I get that you are the only one with boobs who can actually make the milk, mama – but that doesn't mean your partner is off the hook when you are breastfeeding and pumping.
No, instead give him tasks that will be helpful to you, such as helping out to clean the pump and parts when you are done each day, keep tabs on baby while you are pumping, keep your feeding station – and the fridge even – stocked with all your favourite treats at all times.
Oh, and somebody will need to make that horrid lactation-boosting tea for you!
5. How to make it more fun
Pumping, especially in the beginning, can be rather time-consuming and, well, really, really boring. But really, there are things you can do to make these moments ones you actually look forward to. Have your gadget and eir phones ready, and voila; now you can listen to your favourite podcast or waffle away with your mum or bestie, or even read an eBook.
You can binge watch a season of Netflix (we are still obsessed with Grace and Franks), or just sit back and enjoy the fact that you are doing something really, really lovely for your baby
Have YOU got any pumping advice to share with us? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @herfamilydotie