As a mom who has breastfed, pumped at work, and exclusively pumped (for twins), I wanted to share my top tips for both breastfeeding and pumping.
This post is intended to provide simple things you can do to make both your breastfeeding and pumping experience easier for you and your baby.
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Tips For Breastfeeding And Pumping Success
Accept as much help as you can get
As a first time mom, I was so hesitant to allow others to help me. I don’t know why, but I felt guilty letting others help.
Do NOT be like me. It is totally fine to accept any and all help you can get.
There are all sorts of small things others can do for you, like caring for your older children, cooking a meal for your family, cleaning the house, etc.
Having a newborn is exhausting and help around the house will give you the extra time you need to concentrate on nursing or to get an extra pumping session in.
Talk to or see a lactation consultant as much as you need to
When I was exclusively pumping for my twins, I went to the lactation consultant for pumping tips.
I learned how long I should pump, if I should wake up at night to pump, how to get the most milk out of my pumping sessions, and much more.
Then, after my singleton was born, I nursed him. In the beginning, he did not have a proper latch.
I found myself back at the lactation consultant for my singleton. And, after one visit I knew what I had to do to get a good latch.
A visit to a lactation consultant can put your mind at ease two ways. You can confirm the things you are doing right and learn how to fix the things you are doing wrong.
Our pediatrician’s office has a lactation consultant on staff, which was such a great perk to have available. If possible, I highly recommend finding an office that offers this service.
Take care of a clogged milk duct as quickly as possible
If you find yourself experiencing localized pain in your breast, it could be a clogged milk duct.
A clogged milk duct is very painful, so you will naturally want to take care of it.
A few things that help with a clogged milk duct include:
- Start all nursing sessions on the breast with a clogged duct, until it starts to get better.
- Massage the area where you have pain, both when not nursing and especially during nursing sessions. This will hurt, but you need to do this to help unclog your duct.
- Use warm compresses at the site where it hurts.
Start treating your clogged duct as soon as possible because the longer you have it, the greater your chance of contracting mastitis.
Simple Nursing Advice
Make sure you understand what a good latch is
A good latch is vital to have success with nursing. As someone who struggled with this, poor latching will lead to severe nipple pain and inefficient nursing for your baby.
Seeing a lactation consultant can help you understand the things you need to do to establish a good latch.
In my case, I needed to make sure the bottom lip of my newborn was flipped outward. His top lip (which I could see) was out, but, most times, his bottom lip was not.
So, what I would do is, flip his bottom lip for him. And, eventually, he started learning to do this himself.
Expect engorged breasts about 1 week after the start of nursing
So what exactly does this mean? It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but let me tell you, when your breasts are engorged, it is extremely painful.
The engorgement will be painful, but hang in there, it will subside over the next few days.
Do your best to avoid pumping to relieve the pain because this will lead to an oversupply of breast milk.
An oversupply could lead to continued problems with engorged breasts.
I will say that the day I had the greatest amount of pain, I just could not take it.
So, I pumped just once, for about 2 min, until the pain went away.
Invest in at least one nursing pillow
If you have one floor in your home, then you might just need one nursing pillow.
But, if you have two floors I would recommend getting two pillows. One to keep upstairs and one to keep downstairs.
If you have twins and are nursing, I recommend getting a regular, single nursing pillow and a twin nursing pillow.
There will be times you will need to nurse only one baby, especially in the beginning.
You will also nurse your twins at the same time, especially once you get them on the same schedule.
Key Tips For Your Pumping Sessions
Make sure your flanges are centered over your nipples.
Center your flanges when pumping. If you pump and your nipples rub against the plastic flanges this will likely lead to blisters, which in turn means very painful pumping sessions.
Massage your breasts a few times during each pumping session
Massaging your breasts will get milk flowing and will help get a little bit more milk out of each pumping session.
Invest in a good breast pump and a good hands free pumping bra
First things first, it is extremely important to have a good pump. Make sure you get a double electric breast pump. A breast pump is provided free through your health insurance.
As far as which pump to get, go with either the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump, the Spectra S1, or the Spectra S2.
Secondly, get a hands free pumping bra. It is very cumbersome to pump and hold the flanges with both hands.
Whether you are a stay at home mom or returning to work you will want this.
Also, if you are returning to work, I recommend getting a second pump and a second hands free pumping bra.
It is worth paying for the convenience of not having to lug your pump and bra back and forth between work and home.
Good Luck Breastfeeding And Pumping Mama
I think these tips will help get you off on the right foot with both breastfeeding and pumping.
Good luck and hang in there. The first few weeks are the toughest, but you can do this mama!
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