Whether you’re a working mom, you’re pumping for a non-latching baby or preemie, or if you’re just pumping for the occasional baby sitter/night out, pumping can really suck (pun intended!). I get questions about pumping all the time, so I decided to compile all the basic wisdom and information I know about pumping in one quick, convenient list. Here goes:
1. The amount you pump is not necessarily a reflection of your milk supply. Some babies take more than the pump does, some take less.
2. The average amount pumped per session is anywhere from 2-5 ounces. Amounts vary based on time of day, when you last pumped or nursed, stress, and hormones.
3. Some women simply don’t respond as well to pumps as they do to nursing their babies.
4. Adding massage and hand expression to pumping can really help.
5. Not all pumps are created equal. Rent a hospital grade pump if you need to pump for a newborn who isn’t latching, or if you want to pump long-term with the best quality pump.
6. Pumping should not hurt! If it does, you might need a different size flange size (usually a larger size if it hurts). Using a little olive oil in the flange to reduce friction can sometimes help too.
7. If you suddenly start pumping less milk, your pump may need a tune up (see #1 on this list).
8. If you are having trouble “letting down” for your pump, make friends with your pump. Decorate it, give it a silly face. Pump without looking at what’s coming out, distract yourself with some stupid/funny thing on the internet, look at pics of your baby.
9. Some mothers find that they pump less as their babies get older; this is common, and more frequent pumping might do the trick. Many working/pumping moms stop pumping at a year or so. Some continue to breastfeed when they are with their babies. When they are gone, their babies eat solids and water.
10. Don’t compare yourself to other pumping moms! Every mom stores different amounts of milk in her breasts once. One mom might pump 5 ounces in one session; another mom might need 2 sessions to pump that amount. Both scenarios are normal.