Top 10 FAQ’s About Pumping!

The idea of pumping can be a be an overwhelming venture, especially for a first time mom. So, I’ve rounded up the top 10 FAQ’s about pumping and asked my friend Jennifer Chivas, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, for her input! If you are a pumping mama or plan to pump in the future, then this post is for you!

🍼 1. When do I need to start pumping? It depends on if your baby is latching. If this is your first baby, you may want to see how things go with breastfeeding first. But, if you have sore nipples, if your breasts are severely engorged, if your baby needs a supplement, or if your baby was born early or has jaundice, you should try pumping. Regardless of your baby’s latching ability, you should begin pumping immediately after birth to encourage milk production.

🍼 2. What type of pump should I use? First Choice: A hospital-grade double electric pump, such as: the Spectra, the Medela, the Ameda, or the Hygeia. Second Choice: A manual hand pump, such as the Medela Harmony, the Haakaa Silicone Breastfeeding Pump, or the Lansinoh Manual. Third Choice: A portable, hands-free breast pump, such as the Baby Buddha, the Elvie, or the Willow.

🍼 3. When should I pump? You should pump immediately after feeding your baby. If you are exclusively pumping, you should pump every two hours during the day, and every three to four hours during the night. Then, you should consult with an IBCLC to determine longterm sustainability.

🍼 4. How long should I pump for? You should pump for fifteen minutes on each side every two hours during the day, and for fifteen minutes on each side every three to four hours during the night.

🍼 5. What is the best way to store my milk? According to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, the best way to store breastmilk is in glass containers or bottles in the refrigerator and then in the freezer if needed. Another option for storing breastmilk is in storage bags that are marketed for breastmilk. Storing breastmilk in plastic baby bottles is acceptable only for short-term storage. Breastmilk is best at room temperature right after it has been pumped.

🍼 6. Do I need to have a stash of breastmilk in my freezer? No, you do not have to. This is a personal choice. The only time you need milk prepared in advance is for your first time away from your baby. One reason you may choose to store breastmilk in the freezer is if you are anticipating being separated from your baby longer than one to two days.

🍼 7. Why do I need to pump? Mothers may choose to pump breastmilk if their baby needs supplementation for medical reasons, if they have a history of low milk supply, if she is uncomfortable, if she is relieving mastitis or trying to prevent it, or to prepare for maternal separation.

🍼 8. Can pumping help to increase my milk supply? Yes, pumping is the key in building milk supply. Pumping immediately after a feed will most definitely help to boost your milk supply. If you are not taking a supplement for increasing milk supply yet, try taking Moringa, a galactagogue that is high in iron and amino acids. (Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement!)

🍼 9. How do I identify if my pump is not working effectively or is the incorrect size? All of the following are strong indications that your flange is the incorrect size or that you are using a setting that is either too high or too low: if there is an air pocket coming in between the breast and the flange, if there is milk leaking out, if your nipple is not drawing in to the flange, if you don’t feel like your breast is being drained, if you are in pain, if you have rings on your areolas, or if your nipples are cracking. If you are experiencing any of these scenarios, contact a lactation consultant to determine what steps to take next.

🍼 10. How often should I pump when I am away from my baby? You should pump right before you are about to leave your home, and every time your baby would potentially eat. During separation, you should pump every 2-3 hours.

I hope this helps your pumping journey get off to a smooth start! Please let me know if you have any feedback from this post, I LOVE hearing from you guys! And, if you need more support in regards to lactation, my colleague and friend Jennifer Chivas, aka the "Booby Boss," is your girl! She currently is accepting clients virtually, in-home, and in-office - and she accepts insurance! Happy feeding, mamas!