Category Archives: Breastfeeding & Pumping

Breastfeeding & Pumping Expert Advice

Benefits Of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding offers benefits to the mother, the baby and even to society. Here’s a list of our favorite benefits of breastfeeding. Enjoy!

Economic Benefits of Breastfeeding

formula costs and is harmful to the environment

Formula can cost over $1500 per year and its manufacture, distribution and packaging are far worse for the environment than breastfeeding.

  • Breast milk is free, whereas formula costs $1500-$2000 or more per year
  • Breastfed babies use less diapers
  • Breastfed babies get few cavities, saving mom and dad money and time
  • Breastfed babies need less orthodontics, saving money and time
  • Less equipment to buy, keep clean, manage and store
  • Breastfed babies don’t tax your time with daily washing and sterilizing of bottles and nipples, measuring and mixing formal 4 to 8 times a day, running to the store to buy more formula, and warming bottles in the middle of the night.
  • Breastfed babies are healthier and don’t go to the doctor as often as formula-fed babies do
  • The US government spends half a billion dollars each year giving formula to mothers through it’s WIC program

Benefits of Breastfeeding: Better Health

  • There are many health benefits to breastfeeding

    Breast milk makes me smarter and healthier, both now and later in life!

    Breastfed babies get sick less

  • Breastfed babies have higher IQs
  • Breastfeeding reduces breast cancer risk in the mother
  • Breastfeeding reduces ovarian cancer risk in the mother
  • Breastfeeding reduces the chance of postpartum hemorrhage
  • Breastfed baby girls have lower cases of breast cancer later in life
  • Breast milk contains antibody and immunities that keep the baby healthier
  • Breastfed babies are better protected against Crohn’s disease
  • Breastfed babies have lower risk of developing diabetes
  • Breastfed babies have lower risk of developing ear infections
  • Breastfed babies have lower risk of developing allergies
  • Breastfed babies have lower risk of contracting Hodgkins disease
  • Breastfed babies have lower risk of becoming obese later in life
  • Breastfed babies are less likely to die before their third birthday
  • Breastfed babies have better jaw and dental development
  • Healthier babies ease the strain on the overburdened medical system, keep insurance premiums from rising, and keep mom and/or dad from having to take time off work to go to the doctor

Other Awesome Benefits of Breastfeeding

Dear Mom, Breast milk tastes way better than that other stuff and since I'm going to be drinking it exclusively for about six months, would it be ok with you, if I got the good stuff?

Dear Mom, Breast milk tastes way better than that other stuff and since I’m going to be drinking it exclusively for about six months, would it be ok with you, if I got the yummy stuff?

  • Breastfeeding requires around 500 calories per day – it’s a great way to lose pregnancy baby fat
  • Breastfeeding is good for the environment! Far less paper, packaging, containers, plastic and so on is used compared to formula feeding
  • Breast milk does not have to be prepared, measured, mixed, or warmed up
  • Breast milk is never recalled, isn’t mixed with potentially contaminated water and never contains bacteria and other foreign contaminates
  • Breastfed babies dirty far fewer bottles
  • Breastfeeding is great for travel – easier to transport, less pieces to keep track of, wash, and manage. And it’s always at the perfect temperature, ready the moment when baby is.
  • Parents and caretakers of breastfed babies enjoy diaper changes that are more mild and easier to clean
  • Give ‘em what they want: Breast milk tastes better!

While there are many benefits to breastfeeding, in fact far more than we listed here, these are our favorites and should be carefully considered by any family that’s trying to decide between breastfeeding and formula.

When To Pump When Breastfeeding

The Three Most Common Reasons To Pump When Breastfeeding

when to pump when breastfeedingWhen breastfeeding is the primary source of your baby’s nutrition – meaning you’re not primarily giving formula bottles and you’re not exclusively pumping – there are still several really great reasons to own a good quality pump and use it frequently. The three most common reasons to pump when breastfeeding are:

  1. To increase breast milk production
  2. To build up a freezer stash of breast milk to be used when your return to work or school
  3. To pump when you’re away from baby for extended times, such as after you’ve returned to work or school

When to pump when breastfeeding depends on the circumstances, so let’s look at each of these. Read on!

When To Pump When Trying To Increase Milk Production

when to pump when trying to increase breast milk productionIf you are primarily trying to use your pump to increase breast milk production, it’s best to pump right after you finish breastfeeding. First, be sure you are breastfeeding baby on both sides during each breastfeeding session. After baby has finished, pump both sides for 5 additional minutes after no more milk is flowing. For example, you begin pumping after baby has finished on both sides and little to no milk is flowing from the left – it’s completely drained but a bit of milk is flowing out of the right and does so for four minutes then seems to stop. Now start your timer and continue pumping both sides for the bonus 5 minutes.

Why it works: the additional pumping time after all milk has stopped flowing communicates to the body that it is not producing enough milk and that production needs to be increased. The body will still need certain conditions to be met for an actual increase to occur: things like sufficient hydration, sufficient calories (it takes about 500 calories to create enough breast milk to feed a baby each day, above the mother’s calorie needs), sufficient rest, and so on.

If pumping after breastfeeding does not seem to be increasing milk supply on it’s own, consider trying an herbal supplement such as Lactiful Supply Max. An observational study in 2012 showed that 75% of moms who tried Lactiful Supply Max increased their breast milk production and that the average increase was 14.8 additional ounces of breast milk per mom, per day. See more about Lactiful here.

When To Pump When Trying To Build Up A Freezer Stash

When you know that you’ll be away from baby for a significant amount of time in the future, typically when you return to work, many moms build up a freezer stash of milk so that baby can continue to get breast milk even when away from mom.

While you can certainly pump after each breastfeeding session, such as when moms are trying to increase their milk supply, the output tends to be a bit low because baby has already drained the lion’s share. Instead, the best time to pump either in the night well after baby has gone to sleep or in the morning well before baby usually wakes up. You want to avoid pumping too close to a typical breastfeeding time, but planning your bonus pumping session to be a far apart from a breastfeeding session as possible.

breast-milk-storeage-guidelines

Initially you may not get much milk pumped during this session, but stick with a consistent time each day and your body will adjust to the additional milk withdrawal and you will begin producing a good quantity of milk at this time.

See our printable milk storage guidelines for everything you need to know about storing breast milk.

When To Pump When Away From Baby

help-milk-supplyWhen you’re away from baby, typically when at work or school, you’ll need to pump regularly in order to keep up your breast milk production so that you can continue to breastfeed when with baby. The ideal times to pump when away from baby are at the times when baby would normally breastfeed. If you don’t know baby’s schedule or if baby doesn’t stick to a schedule, pumping every 3 hours is a good rule of thumb. Try not to go more than 4 hours between any milk withdrawal (either breastfeeding or pumping) which can cause your milk production to drop.

Now you know when to pump when breastfeeding! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. Click for more articles about how to increase milk supply

Breast Feeding For How Long

How Long To Breast Feed Theories

breast feeding for how long?If you have been wondering how long you should continue breast feeding – you’re not alone. Part of the confusion about how long to breast feed comes from the fact that there is so many opinions and each opinion varies wildly from one another. One source might say breast feeding for 6 weeks is best and another will say breast feeding for 3 years or longer is best.

Which is right? Which is wrong?

In this article we’ll look at three breast feeding theories (or perspectives) for how to determine how long you should breast feed. They are the surgeon general’s recommendation, baby-led breast feeding, and mother led-breast feeding. Let’s begin!

United States Surgeon General Recommendation For How Long To Breast Feed

In 2011 the Surgeon General issued a “call to action” to support breast feeding. This 80+ page report showed that because of the many health and economic benefits of breast feeding that all mothers should breast feed for 6 months and longer, if possible. Among the benefits listed in the report:

Health Benefits of Breast Feeding (as stated by Surgeon General)

  • Less infections and illness
  • Less likely to develop asthma
  • Less likely to become obese
  • Less likely to die from SIDS
  • Mothers have decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers

Economic Benefits of Breast Feeding (as stated by Surgeon General)

  • Savings of $1,200 – $1,500 in formula in year one alone
  • Annual U.S. savings of $13 billion in medical and other costs
  • Higher work place productivity with less employee time off to care for sick children

Baby-Led Breast Feeding

baby-led breast feedingIn baby-led breast feeding, how long you continue to breast feed for is largely in the hands of your baby. The mother watches the baby for signs that the baby is interested in regular food. This often happens at the dinner table, baby will begin to reach for food and usually happens around 5 to 7 months of age.

Baby is encouraged to experiment with regular food but is not denied breast feeding. Some baby-led breast feeding moms will offer the breast side by side with a food option and let the baby decide which they want. Some babies will naturally drop breast feeding as soon as regular food becomes an option while others will continue to breast feed for a year or longer.

Mother-Led Breast Feeding

In mother-led breast feeding, the mother has a time goal in mind or simply decides that the time is right to be finished with breast feeding. The usual way this is done is by dropping regular breast feeding sessions at the rate of one a week and replacing that session with a food item or a bottle or sippy cup of milk.

Conclusion For How Long To Breast Feed

Those are three theories or perspectives on how long you should be breast feeding for. Which one is right for you? Ultimately it is a decision that is up to you and your baby. Breast feeding is a personal decision.

But it should be a decision you make, not one that is made for you by outside circumstances such as returning to work or a decrease in milk production. The Surgeon General’s report stated that 50% of mothers cited insufficient milk supply as the their reason for stopping breast feeding. If you’re concerned about your milk supply, there is help – learn about an all-natural herbal treatment from Lactiful that increases milk supply in 3 out of 4 moms. Click for more articles about how to increase milk supply

Pumping To Increase Milk Supply

Pumping is a great way to increase milk supply and this article will give you all the information you need to be successful in increasing your milk supply.

Why Does Pumping Increase Milk Supply?

breast-milk-pumpWhen done in the right way (which we will get to later in the article) pumping is a great way to increase milk supply because it places an additional demand on your milk supply. Your body wants to produce exactly the same amount of milk that is being removed. If it makes more than what is being removed, your body sees that as a waste of resources.

Put another way, your milk supply is a supply and demand system that wants to be in balance. Pumping works to increase milk supply because it forces the system out of balance by putting additional demand on the system. Your body should respond to that additional demand by increasing milk supply to match.

It is not an instant process. Your body will take some time to adjust to the higher demand, so don’t be discouraged if more milk isn’t produced right away. Give it a few days to a week and you should see measurably increased milk supply from pumping.

How You Should Pump to Increase Milk Supply

When pumping to increase milk supply you should focus on two strategies:

  • Frequently removing the milk
  • Completely removing the milk

To increase milk supply, you should be removing milk every 2 to 3 hours while you are awake and every 4 hours during the night. That timing is measured from the start of one breastfeeding session to the start of the next. If your little one breastfeeds for 10 minutes on each side (20 minutes total) and then you pump for another 10, for a total of a half hour, then you should begin your next breastfeeding session in an hour and half from when you finish pumping.

Increasing the frequency with which you breastfeed and pump will put more demand on your milk supply and your body should respond with increased milk supply.

The second part of the strategy to focus on when trying to increase milk supply is to focus on completely removing the milk during each session. To do this, be sure baby is breastfeeding on both sides during every session. If baby falls asleep, be sure to wake baby so that the second side can have some milk removed. After baby has finished breastfeeding, it’s time to being pumping to increase milk supply.

What you want to do is pump both side until no more milk is being removed, then continue to pump for an additional 5 to 10 minutes on both sides. This not only assures that the milk is completely removed, but also puts increased demand on your milk supply which will result in increase milk production.

Get an All-Natural Boost When Pumping to Increase Milk Supply

When pumping to increase milk supply many women benefit from taking all-natural herbal supplements that work to naturally increase milk supply. One such herbal supplement is Lactiful Supply Max. It include eight milk supply enhancing all-natural herbal ingredients, including one specifically that targets pumping!

Lactiful Supply Max includes fennel seed which increases the intensity and number of letdowns you will get when pumping (and breastfeeding too – but more women have trouble getting letdowns for the pump). More letdowns for the pump means a more complete removal of the milk which increases demand and that increases milk supply.

An observational study showed that Lactiful Supply Max increased milk supply in 75% of the women who took it. The average milk increase was 14.8 ounces of additional milk per mom per day and the product is fully guaranteed to increase milk supply or you get a full, prompt refund including all shipping charges.

To see more about how Lactiful Supply Max can help when pumping to increase milk supply, see this 30 second introductionClick for more articles about how to increase milk supply

Increase Milk Production For Pumping

breast-milk-pumpThere are several things you can do to increase milk production for pumping:

  • Try an all-natural, milk production-boosting herbal supplement that targets pumping
  • Increase milk production by being demanding
  • Create a letdown kit
  • Make sure your pump is ready
  • Avoid milk production destroyers

We will look at each of these in this article.

Increase Milk Production For Pumping With An Herbal Supplement

There are several herbal supplements that boost milk production on the market today but will look at just one here. Lactiful Supply Max is special because:

  • It contains an ingredient specifically targeting pumping – Lactiful Supply Max contains fennel seed which naturally increases the frequency and effectiveness of the letdown reflex. The more letdowns you get while pumping the more milk will fill those pump bottles.
  • A 2012 study showed that Lactiful increased milk production in 75% of the women who took it – We couldn’t find any other studies involving other herbal supplements.
  • It’s fully guaranteed to increase milk production or you get a complete refund – If Lactiful doesn’t increase your milk production for pumping, it won’t have cost you a penny to have tried it.

You can learn more about Lactiful Supply Max here.

Increase Milk Production By Being Demanding

Milk production is a supply and demand system where the body tries to match milk production to the amount of milk that’s being removed each day. Because you want to increase milk production for pumping, you’ll need to increase demand now so that you body has time to respond with increased production.

Increasing demand usually falls into two strategies: removing milk frequently and removing milk completely. You’ll want to increase the number of times each day (24 hour time period) that you are removing milk and you’ll want to be sure that every time you remove milk you’re removing it completely. Milk left in the breast for long periods of time signals the body that it is over producing and to cut production.

We’ve written articles on each topic to give you all the details on removing milk frequently and removing milk completely.

Create A Letdown Kit

A letdown kit is a way to connect with your baby while away from baby and pumping. Humans are “wired” to letdown milk for a breastfeeding infant, not a machine, so a letdown kit helps ease that transition. You’ll want to include in your letdown kit things that remind you, emotionally of your baby. Some ideas:

  • Favorite baby photos on your phone or computer set up in a slideshow you can watch while you pump.
  • An unwashed baby blanket or clothing that smells like your baby.
  • Recording of your baby’s sounds you can listen to while you pump.
  • A baby toy with emotional meaning.

These things can help you have more and easier letdowns while you pump.

Make Sure Your Pump Is Ready

Be sure to check all connections, fittings and hoses of your pump. Make sure suction power is still strong and that they flanges fit and are comfortable.

Avoid Milk Production Destroyers

Finally to increase milk production for pumping, you’ll want to be sure to avoid anything that can cause a decrease in milk production. Things like overexertion, aggressive dieting, dehydration, etc. We’ve put together an article on the 27 causes of low milk production. Be sure to review the list.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll be sure to increase milk production for pumping. Click for more articles about how to increase milk supply

Increasing Milk Supply When Pumping

breast-milk-pumpWe are often asked by exclusively pumping moms, “What are some great ways for increasing milk supply when pumping?” There are 5 really important things a mom needs to do when she wants to increase milk supply when pumping. They are:

  1. Take Lactiful Supply Max – This all-natural, made in America, herbal supplement was linked in a 2012 study to increase milk supply in 75% of the study’s subjects! Not only that, one of the ingredients also increases let downs. This is extremely important when pumping because achieving let downs with a pump is one of the biggest challenges when pumping.
  2. Make sure you have a good fitting, high quality pump – Not all pumps are created equal and they range in quality and effectiveness just like herbal treatments for low milk supply. At the bottom end you’ll find under-powered single electric pumps and at the high end you’ll find medical-grade dual electric pumps. Often a manual pump is more effective than a low-cost electric pump – but it can be a heck of hand work out. If you’re serious about increasing milk supply when pumping, you need to rent a medical-grade pump or purchase the highest quality pump you can afford.You also need to be fitted for the pump by a professional. Usually a certified lactation consultant can help you with this and can provide the best training for how to use your pump effectively.
  3. Avoid or fix as many causes of low milk supply that you can – Sometimes your milk supply can dip if you become ill or begin an aggressive diet or workout routine. Simple things like dehydration or complex things like thyroid problems can lower milk supply and likewise fixing them results in increasing milk supply to your prior levels.
  4. Create a letdown kit – Pumping can often feel very removed from your baby and for a couple million years we’ve been programed to letdown milk to a breastfeeding baby. When the breastfeeding baby is in a different room or miles away at a sitters, our bodies can need a little encouragement to release the milk that’s built up. So for that reason, create a letdown kit!A letdown kit is a collection of things that help you feel bonded to your baby. Common things in a letdown kit is a slideshow of your favorite pictures of baby, that is on your computer or phone; a recording of your baby’s sounds; and an unwashed blanket or clothing items that smells like baby.

    To increase milk supply when pumping, get out your kit as soon as you begin to pump and go through each of the items in the kit. The goal is to use the items in your get to a deeply emotional reaction and connection to baby. When you feel this strong emotion, you’ll trigger letdowns which has the effect of increasing milk supply when pumping.

    A word of warning however, some moms say the letdown kit reminds them not just of their baby but of their separation from baby. This brings on feelings of sadness, longing, loneliness and despair. Negative emotions will hamper letdowns and have the opposite effect of increasing milk supply. If you are one of these moms, don’t make a letdown kit. Instead while you pump, try to distract yourself by playing a game on your iPad, calling a friend to talk, or reading a really good book.

  5. Pump more frequently – Increase the number of times you pump each do so that you are pumping at least every three hours, as measured from the start of one session to the start of the next, during the day and every four hours at night. Your body will notice this increase in demand and will try to respond by creating more milk. (Your chances when doing this go up when you eat a sufficient number of healthy calories, drink 64 ounces of water each day and take Lactiful Supply Max.)

Do these 5 things and you will be well on your way to increasing milk supply when pumpingClick for more articles about how to increase milk supply

How To Increase Milk Supply When Pumping

how to increase milk supply when pumpingIf you are pumping breast milk to store up a freezer stash for later or if you’re just trying to keep up with your baby’s needs when exclusively pumping and want to know how to increase milk supply when pumping, you’ve come to the right article!

5 Ways To Increase Milk Supply When Pumping

  1. If your pumping output has gone down recently or was never that great to begin with the first step is to see if you can figure out what is causing your lower milk production. See our article on the 27 causes of low milk supply.
  2. Also if you pumping output has dropped recently and none of the causes of low milk supply seem to apply, it could be a problem with your pump. Breast pumps can lose suction power over time or can become damaged from frequent transportation or an older child. Carefully inspect your pump for kinks or holes in the airlines. Make sure all the connections are good and see if the suction is as strong as you remember it being. If you suspect your pump may be the cause of lower milk output, rent a medical-grade from your local hospital or WIC office. If you get drastically improved results, you’ll need to replace your breast pump.
  3. Have you had some event take place in your life that could be affecting your milk supply when pumping? Have you had a recent illness? Started a new medication? Started rigorous dieting or exercise? New stress in your life? Have you returned to work or school recently? All of these events can cause a decrease in milk supply. If an event has triggered your decrease in milk supply, try to figure out a way to negate that negative to increase milk supply when pumping. For example, if you’re stressed, do something you find relaxing. If you’re overexerting yourself to lose weight, ease up a bit. If you’ve returned to work or school make sure you’re getting frequent breaks for pumping. Addressing the negative event will help to increase milk supply when pumping.
  4. To increase milk supply when pumping take an herbal supplement that’s likely to increase milk supply. Lactiful’s Supply Max is an herbal supplement with 8 milk-increasing herbal ingredients, including one that causes more frequent letdowns. This is terrific for pumping moms who want more results from pumping. Plus the product is guaranteed to increase milk supply or a complete refund is granted. A 2012 study showed that Lactiful’s Supply Max increased milk supply in 75% of the women who took it.
  5. To increase milk supply when pumping increase the frequency and duration of each pumping. Breast milk production is a supply and demand system and the body tries to match milk production with milk demand. So to increase milk supply when pumping, you need to pump more. Most moms shut off the pump when the milk stops flowing, but what does this tell the body? It tells the body that demand and production are equal. Just as the supply was running out, the demand stopped! When you want to increase milk supply when pumping you have to show the body you want an increase in supply by first increasing the demand. To do this add additional bonus pumping sessions throughout the day and night and each time you pump continue to pump for 5 to 10 additional minutes after the milk stops flowing. This is how you tell the body to increase milk supply when pumping.

Follow these 5 steps and you should see an increase in milk supply when pumping. Click for more articles about how to increase milk supply

Breast Milk Storage

 

breast-milk-pumpBreast milk storage is easy and straightforward because even though breast milk does not contain  preservatives, it is all-natural and exceptionally fresh. Even in a warm room that’s 78°F breast milk will not expire for 4 hours and simple refrigeration will keep the milk fresh for 8 days. This article covers everything you need to know about breast milk storage.

A Simple Breast Milk Storage How To Guide

First, how long will you need to store the breast milk?

Breast milk storage for 6 days or less

For 6 days or less of breast milk storage simply put the breast milk in a covered glass or plastic bottle in the refrigerator. Breast milk will not expire in the refrigerator until after 8 days. Put a strip of masking tape on the bottle and label it with the date the breast milk was pumped or hand expressed. If you have not used the breast milk by day 8, either dispose of it or freeze it.

Breast milk storage for 7 days or more

For 7 or more days of breast milk storage, you will need to freeze the breast milk. The best way to do this is with breast milk storage freezer bags which are available online and from baby stores or baby sections in most big box stores.

Breast milk storage bags usually have a measurement scale that shows how much milk is in the bag. Fill the storage bag between 3 and 5 ounces full. It is okay to combine the milk from two or more pumping or hand expression sessions in one bag as long as the older breast milk has been refrigerated and is not more than 8 days old.

Once the breast milk storage bag is filled, write the number of ounces as well as the date of the milk was pumped. Before you put the storage bag into the freezer, here is a breast milk storage tip: put the storage bag into a one gallon freezer bag and label the freezer bag with the current month. Put all breast milk storage bags that you freeze during this month into this freezer bag. This keeps your freezer stash of breast milk organized by month, which will make finding the oldest milk very easy when it comes time to unthaw and use your stored breast milk.

Breast Milk Storage Bags

To store breast milk in the freezer, the simplest and most convenient way is to use breast milk storage bags. These are typically zip top bags that have a scale that measures the amount of breast milk in the bag as well as a section that can be written on to indicate the date the milk was pumped.

Breast milk storage bags are available from a wide ranges of manufacturers including; Dr. Brown’s,  Simple Wishes, Medela and Lansinoh. They can be purchased online or from local baby stores / departments and typically cost about 25 cents each.

Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

The length of time that breast milk will remain fresh depends on the temperature at which it is stored. The colder the storage temperature, the longer the breast milk will stay fresh. Click the image or the link below for a handy printable version of our breast milk storage guidelines you print then hang on your refrigerator or freezer.  heart-logo

breast milk storeage guidelines

Printable breast milk storage guidelines

Exclusively Pumping

Exclusively Pumping – An Abstract Way Remove Breast Milk

I found it fascinating to watch my two year old, who had struggled to use an educational computer game in the past, play with an iPhone for the first time. With the computer she had to learn that the arrow on the screen was what made the objects in the game move. She had to learn how to hold the mouse in the right orientation, how to move her hand to get the arrow to move, what to do when the mouse hit the keyboard or fell off the mouse pad, which button on the mouse to push and so on. It was all very abstract and difficult for her to grasp.

When I handed over the iPhone, all the barriers were removed. She used her finger to swipe through family photos. She used her finger to launch apps. She used her finger to open a barn to see and hear the animals inside. In just a few minutes she grasped how to use it. An entire level of abstraction was removed and it made everything so much easier.

Breastfeeding is a lot like using an iPhone and exclusively pumping is a lot like using a traditional computer. Breastfeeding and the iPhone are intuitive, natural and intimate. While exclusively pumping and the computer are abstract, analytical, cold and complicated.

This is not to say that exclusively pumping is “bad” or “wrong” or “difficult.” But it is important to acknowledge that our bodies are wired to release milk to a breastfeeding baby. It’s not just about nipple stimulation. The feel of baby’s soft skin, his unique smell, the movement of his hands, the way you feel when you look into his eyes as he breastfeeds, his sounds and expressions, his cry of hunger – all of these play a role in encouraging milk to letdown. When baby is replaced with a “cold” machine all those cues are abstracted away.

To Be Successful At Exclusively Pumping:

  • You’ll need to find a way to get your body to easily and frequently letdown for the pump. You need to reconcile this level of abstraction because when you are exclusively pumping you don’t have access to al the cues your body normally relies on to release milk. Some exclusively pumping women, pump while near baby, or look at photos of their baby while pumping. Others listen to baby sounds they have recorded. Other exclusively pumping moms find it better to distract themselves by talking on the phone, reading or engaging some other distracting activity. You may need to experiment to find what works best for you.
  • You’ll need to select a good, high-quality pump and monitor it and keep it in good working order. We have written an article specifically about selecting the best pump for exclusively pumping moms.
  • You’ll need a pumping strategy and exclusively pumping schedule that gets your breast milk supply off to a good start and maintains it with as few hassles as possible. This topic also deserved its own article.
  • And finally you need to know what to do if your milk supply drops. There are many ways to bring your milk supply back up and you can read about them in this article targeted at exclusively pumping moms.

Follow these suggestions and you will be well on your way to providing the best nutrition your baby can get by exclusively pumping. heart-logo

How To Increase Milk Supply While Exclusively Pumping

The most common reason for milk supply to drop when exclusively pumping is not pumping enough. Sometimes moms who are pumping more milk than is needed by baby feel like they’re wasting time by pumping too much and they cut back dramatically on pumping.

However an oversupply of milk can quickly turn into an undersupply. Whenever you have an oversupply, keep storing the milk in the freezer and make slow, deliberate adjustments to your exclusively pumping schedule. I recommend to either pump one minute less at each session or drop one session per week – until your output matches your baby’s intake.

If you’ve recently cut back on pumping any more dramatically than that, it may have caused your milk supply to plummet. Return to your prior pumping schedule and your milk supply should rebound.

If you haven’t cut back on pumping, be sure you are pumping at least 8 times in 24 hours with at least one time in the middle of the night.

Here’s some additional things to try:

  • Review the 27 common causes of low milk supply. Perhaps you have become pregnant or have started birth control pills, both of which will cause your supply to drop. If none of those causes make sense:
  • It could be your breast pump. Even new pumps are occasionally defective and older pumps wear out over time and while they may seem to work, the power of the suction may have dropped so low that it’s not effective. Be sure to check all connections for a good fit. Also check the tubing for kinks or punctures. Look at the membranes – are they soft, flexible and not clogged? If everything checks out with your breast pump but you have a suspicion that it may still be the problem, you can rent a hospital-grade pump for a week. If your supply comes back up you’ve found the problem. If not:
  • Are you frequently eating health food? If the busyness of daily life is causing you to skip snacks and meals this can cause lower milk supply. Be sure you’re getting at least 1800 calories each day, preferably spread out over 3 meals and 3 snacks. If you have been eating well then:
  • Perhaps you are wore out, run downed or stressed. Managing all the demands on your time and maintaining a commitment to exclusively pumping may be taking its toll. Do not hesitate to ask for help from family or friends. A bit of help with cooking, cleaning, errands or childcare can go a long way toward relieving stress and can help your milk supply to rebound. Next, be sure to:
  • Take Lactiful Supply Max or your own herbal blend that increases milk supply and stimulates multiple letdowns. Then be sure you:
  • Check out the 11 ways to increase milk supply or see our article index for many articles on the causes and solutions for low milk supply.  Also consider:
  • Marathon weekends. I don’t mean go running, I mean pump as much as possible over the weekend to kick your production into high gear going into the next week. And finally:
  • Dip into your frozen milk reserve. If you’ve built up a freezer bank of stored milk, now is the time to use it so that baby is getting the best nutrition possible. After all, maybe baby is simply going through a growth spurt and can’t be filled up or maybe there’s a new stress in your life that’s negatively affecting your pumping performance. While any drop in milk production can cause panic, sometimes these things just work out in a few days time.

One of the great things about exclusively pumping is that you can measure and closely monitor exactly how much milk your body is producing each day. Follow the advice in this article and you will see your milk supply increase! heart-logo