3 Reasons to Consider Breast Milk Pumping After Birth
- Enhanced milk production: Regular pumping stimulates increased milk production, ensuring an adequate supply for the baby’s needs.
- Relief from blocked milk ducts: Using a breast pump can help unclog blocked milk ducts, relieving symptoms like reduced milk flow, breast pain, and tightness.
- Facilitating external feeding: Pumped milk allows others to feed the baby, reducing the need for constant breastfeeding. This grants mothers more time for themselves and aids in their postpartum recovery.
Which Method Is Better: Pumping by Machine or by Hand?
Mothers often contemplate whether to use a breast pump or opt for manual expression. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of both techniques.
Using a Breast Pump
- Effortless and painless pumping experience, with some models featuring massage modes for added comfort.
- Facilitates efficient and even milk extraction, with double breast pumps saving significant time.
- Relieves hand fatigue, allowing mothers to multitask during pumping sessions.
- Risk of encountering counterfeit products with questionable effectiveness.
- Dependency on a power source, rendering the machine unusable during power outages.
Instructions for Using a Breast Pump:
- Familiarize yourself with the manual and the machine’s functionalities.
- Wash and sterilize hands and all equipment thoroughly.
- Position the suction cup on the breasts, adjust the shield for comfort, and choose a suitable pumping speed to avoid discomfort.
- Turn off the machine when the milk flow slows down.
Economical and long-lasting, helping mothers save money during child-rearing. Portable and convenient, ideal for mothers who frequently nurse their babies directly.
Cons: Yields a smaller amount of milk and necessitates frequent pumping, leading to hand fatigue.
Instructions for Manual Pumping:
- Wash and dry your hands, clean the breasts with a warm towel, and remove any milk residue from the nipple.
- Assemble the breast pump, ensuring all parts are completely dry.
- Massage the breasts for 10-15 minutes, adjusting the funnel to fit snugly and prevent air from affecting suction.
- Use continuous squeezing on the upper push rod to stimulate milk flow, gradually transitioning to the lower lever for optimal performance.
- After 15-20 minutes, switch to the other breast, and store the expressed milk in a storage bag or bottle in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Thoroughly clean and dry the pump after use to prepare for the next session.
In conclusion, despite its cost-effective nature, manual pumping can quickly tire mothers and yield lower milk output, making childcare challenging. Investing in an electric breast pump is advisable for mothers with sufficient financial resources.
10+ Principles of Postpartum Breastfeeding
Breast pumps have become commonplace for breastfeeding mothers, aiding in stimulating milk production and massaging the breasts for increased firmness. Below are 10 principles crucial for optimal postpartum pumping:
Principle 1: Initiate Pumping Early
Initiating milk expression as early as possible post-birth is critical. Early pumping promotes sustained and increased milk production. If the initial pumping yields minimal milk, persistence is key, as some mothers experience challenges in milk production immediately after delivery. Therefore, consistent and frequent pumping is advised to facilitate a swift return of milk.”
Principle 2: Using a Pump is More Effective than Manual Expression
Currently, there are two methods for mothers to express milk at home: using a breast pump and manual expression. However, compared to manual expression, using a breast pump is more effective. Pumping machines allow for quicker and more efficient milk extraction, coupled with breast massage. As a result, mothers can obtain larger quantities of milk for their babies more easily.
Principle 3: Adhere to a Consistent and Scientific Pumping Schedule
As per medical recommendations, establishing a consistent pumping schedule is crucial for enhancing milk production. Mothers are advised to pump regularly, ideally 8-12 times a day with intervals of 2-5 hours between sessions. However, the specific time gaps between sessions may vary based on individual schedules and maternal health. Below are some suggested pumping schedules:
- L2 Schedule (2-hour intervals): 7 – 9 – 11 – 13 – 15 – 17 – 10 – 21 – 0 – 3 – 5
- L3 Schedule (3-hour intervals): 6 – 9 – 12 – 15 – 18 – 21 – 24 – 3
- L4 Schedule (4-hour intervals): 7 – 11 – 15 – 19 – 23 – 4
- L5 Schedule (5-hour intervals): 7 – 15 – 17 – 22
Note: Mothers should adhere to the pumping schedule diligently and avoid skipping pumping sessions to prevent breast engorgement and discomfort.
Rule 4: Utilize a Hands-Free Breast Pump
A hands-free pumping bra is a valuable solution that mothers should consider. This type of bra allows mothers to multitask while pumping milk, saving them valuable time.
Rule 5: Properly Store Pumped Milk
After expressing milk, it is essential to store it correctly to preserve its nutritional value. Ideally, mothers should use specialized storage bags or milk storage bottles and refrigerate or freeze the milk. Proper storage ensures that the milk remains fresh and usable for an extended period.
Rule 6: Hydrate Before Pumping
Before each pumping session, mothers should consume a 500ml glass of water or warm milk about 15 minutes prior. Adequate hydration facilitates increased milk production and ensures a sufficient milk supply for the baby. Additionally, it is advisable for mothers to continue drinking water after pumping to maintain hydration and support continuous milk production.
Principle 7: Prepare Essential Pumping Equipment
Before initiating the process of expressing breast milk, ensure all necessary pumping equipment is readily available. Proper preparation streamlines the pumping process and enhances convenience.
Principle 8: Maintain Correct Posture While Pumping
Maintaining the correct posture is crucial during the milk expression process. Sitting in the right position facilitates the efficient and comfortable flow of milk and reduces strain on the breasts. Additionally, adopting the appropriate posture helps minimize back pain during prolonged pumping sessions. To achieve the correct posture, ensure your back remains straight and avoid slouching. Additionally, create a quiet, comfortable, and distraction-free environment before beginning the breast milk expression.
Rule 9: Thoroughly Clean the Breast Pump
Thoroughly cleaning and sterilizing the pumping equipment before each use is essential. The surrounding environment often harbors unseen bacteria that can contaminate the milk. Failure to clean the equipment can lead to milk spoilage. It’s also important to clean the tools immediately after pumping to prevent the buildup of residual milk on the bottle walls, which can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. Neglecting to clean the equipment thoroughly can make future cleaning more difficult.
Consider the following important tips when cleaning the breast pump:
- Avoid using harsh detergents or strong cleaning solutions to wash the equipment.
- Handle the breast pump gently to prevent any scratches or damage to its components.
- Sterilize the bottles and breast pump before and after each use to ensure optimal hygiene.
Rule 10: Cease Pumping if Ineffective
If you find that pumping is not yielding the desired results, don’t fret. Various factors, such as insufficient milk supply or using an unsuitable machine, could contribute to this issue. In such situations, it’s advisable to stop the pumping process, identify the underlying cause, and make necessary adjustments before attempting to express milk again.
The Optimal Breastfeeding Schedule for Postpartum Mothers
Mothers who choose to breastfeed through pumping often face questions about the appropriate timing and duration of pumping sessions. How frequently should one pump? What is the ideal daily milk volume? Here are two fundamental breast pumping schedules that mothers can consider:
Breast Pump Schedule for Infants Under 3 Months
Following childbirth, breast milk production typically increases, accompanied by changes in the volume of milk secreted. Therefore, it is recommended for mothers to engage in skin-to-skin contact with the baby as early as possible. Direct breastfeeding facilitates a faster stimulation of milk production.
Between 2 to 5 days postpartum, milk production is typically abundant, leading to feelings of chest tightness and discomfort. It is advised to pump 8 to 12 times a day, ensuring a pumping interval of 3 hours, even during the nighttime. When experiencing excessive milk flow, resulting in fullness and tightness, additional pumping sessions can be scheduled.
Breast Pump Schedule for Infants Over 3 Months
For babies aged 3 to 6 months, mothers can consider pumping 5 times a day. Recommended pumping time frames can be scheduled at 6 am, 9 am, 12 noon, 3 pm, and 10 pm.
Between 6 to 11 months, mothers can adjust the schedule to pump 4 times a day. Suggested time frames include 6 am, 10 am, 2 pm, and 10 pm.
As the baby reaches 11 to 12 months, the pumping frequency can be reduced to about 3 times a day. Recommended time slots for pumping include 6 am, 12 noon, and 10 pm.
For babies older than 12 months, mothers may further reduce the pumping frequency to about 2 times a day. Suggested time frames can be arranged at around 6 am and 7 pm.
How Long Does Pumped Milk Last?
The duration for which breast milk can be safely stored depends on the method of storage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, milk can be stored at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer. Here are the recommended storage guidelines:
Milk stored at room temperature should be used within 6-8 hours.
When stored in the freezer at 5 degrees F or -15 degrees C, expressed breast milk can last for up to 2 weeks.
If kept in the freezer at 0 degrees F or -18 degrees C, milk can be preserved for 3-6 months. When stored in a deep freezer at -4 degrees F or -20 degrees C, milk remains usable for 6-12 months.
Note that once thawed, milk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours and at room temperature for 1 hour. Any leftover milk after thawing should be discarded, as refreezing thawed milk is not advisable.
To thaw milk, hold the bag or bottle under warm running water until it reaches the appropriate temperature. Avoid using the microwave for thawing, as it can compromise the nutritional content of the milk.
Should Milk Be Kept in the Freezer or Refrigerator?
The decision to store milk in either the freezer or the refrigerator depends on the usage needs and the quantity of milk that has been pumped. Here are the specific recommendations:
Opt for freezing the milk if a substantial amount has been pumped. Additionally, if there is no immediate need for its use or if the intention is to store it for when the mother is away for an extended period, freezing is advisable.
If the amount of breast milk pumped is limited and is just sufficient for immediate consumption by the baby, it should be stored in the refrigerator for immediate breastfeeding.
Types of Breast Pumps to Use
Breast pumps have become increasingly essential tools to aid mothers in comfortably caring for their babies. Hence, selecting an appropriate breast pump is a crucial consideration. Here are several types of breast pumps that mothers can refer to when choosing the right one:
- Electric breast pump: Offers convenience and efficiency for busy moms, allowing for a quick and effective pumping experience.
- Manual breast pump: Provides a budget-friendly and durable option, suitable for mothers seeking a reliable yet straightforward pumping method.
- Hands-free breast pump: Enables mothers to multitask during pumping sessions, saving time and effort while ensuring optimal milk extraction.
We have just shared with the mother the knowledge and 10 important principles for using a breast pump after giving birth. Hopefully, this information will assist mothers in expressing milk quickly and effectively. Additionally, we suggested 3 types of breast pumps for her consideration. We wish all mothers to select the appropriate type of machine based on their preferences to ensure an adequate milk supply for their babies.
Johnny Jacks was born in 1985 in Texas, USA. He is the founder of Good Health Plan and is passionate about helping people improve their health and physical well-being. With over a decade of experience working in the healthcare industry, he currently works at Goodheathplan.com – a blog that shares knowledge on beauty and health.