Disclaimer: What is written in this article has been true in my experience. I am not a licensed doctor or lactation specialist. What may have worked for me in the past may not work for you.
1.) Insurance covers most pumps. There are websites that will help with finding the correct pump that your insurance covers. In my case, I was able to receive a medela pump (Note: I cannot recall which one exactly as I no longer use it.) and a Freemie Independence II. At the bottom of this article you will find the link I used to obtain my second pump.
2.) Your breast milk supply may take 4-5 days to come in after having your baby. However, it is different for all women and that is okay! I myself really struggled those first 4-5 days and was only producing 5-10mL every time I attempted to pump. Now, I pump 5-7 times a day and have produced as much as 45oz in one day! That may not be the same for you, which is 100% both normal and okay.
3.) You are not alone on this journey. Whether you are pumping exclusively or mixing in feeding directly from your breast, you are not the only person in the world attempting to feed their baby breast milk! You can find groups on Facebook or if you have other friends with children, they too can be a good resource! Find your village and let them be there for you!
4.) If you drink a significant amount of alcohol, you don’t have to dump it down the drain. If you are anything like me, the very thought of having to waste breastmilk can be quite disheartening. There are TikTok’s and other mommy blogs that can give you ideas on what to use the “inedible” milk for. You can use it for your baby’s bath, which is very good for their skin! This can also help if your baby has bad baby acne. You could even use it to make a lotion for your baby. I myself have found a recipe I have been itching to try! Google can be your best friend sometimes when it comes to finding out what else your breastmilk can do for your child!
5.) You don’t have to be an oversupplier. Every woman’s pumping journey is different. I myself started off with having to supplement with formula for the first few weeks because I was only making enough to make 1-2 bottles a day! This is when my daughter was a newborn so that was maybe 1-1.5oz a day.
6.) Pumping should never be painful! If the settings on your pump are sucking your nipples so hard that they feel like they are going to be ripped off, turn it down! Making the pump use harder suction isn’t going to help you. If you are uncomfortable and in pain, your body is going to take longer to produce that milk and your nipples are going to be so sore! My advice: each pumping session work yourself up to the highest setting and after each adjustment be sure to give yourself some time to adjust to the feeling! Or be sure to check your flange size!
7.) You have to replace certain parts of your pump every so often. Each pump is different so you are going to want to make sure to check that out on their website. Also, be sure to check the reviews. You don’t want to get a pump that will malfunction or has an over abundance of bad reviews.
8.) You need to stay well-rested, well-hydrated, and well-fed! Your breast milk is going to be made from the things you are eating and drinking. You have to remember that breastfeeding also burns calories every time you pump. If you are not drinking enough water, or eating enough food, or trying to run your sleep schedule into the ground, you aren’t going to be successful in building your supply up. You may run the risk of not even having a supply! You have to take care of yourself to give your baby the milk he/she needs!
9.) You may receive some scrutiny and unwanted advice! I myself haven’t had to deal with any of this, but there are people out there who may make comments about being attached to a pump, whether or not you’re choosing to breastfeed your child from your breast or from a bottle will somehow wind up being a discussion of determination on if you tried hard enough or something or other. Something to keep in mind, it’s your body. It is your journey. It is your choice! As long as your baby is being fed, you’re doing a great job!
10.) Nursing pads/bras are going to be your best friend! I have a nursing bra that unclips and it honestly makes attaching my pump so much easier! I can make sure my breast is in the right positions necessary for my pump and can make sure it’s fully secured in my bra. Nursing pads are great for keeping you from leaking all over the place! Wearing them to bed may not be a bad idea if you don’t want to wake up in the early morning hours with a cold and wet bra/shirt or have to wash your sheets. If you are returning to work, these are a must!
11.) Heat is good for your breasts. Heat helps muscles relax. So, hot showers or a heating pad may help you with your letdown and help you produce more milk. They do make a reusable heating pad that can go around your breast while you are pumping to help increase the letdown. I myself have never tried this, so I cannot comment on if it works or not.
12.) You do not have to make a freezer supply. I myself prefer to as I return to work in January, but not every person out there can. You also might not be able to do it right off the bat and that is also okay! However, if you do make a freezer supply there are some tricks/tips you can do in order to keep it organized and safe until you are ready to use it!
13.) You are going to want to get a schedule figured out and stick with it! Whether you are pumping at set times during the day or pumping every few hours, you have to stick with it. Varying your schedule too much can actually affect your supply! As previously stated, I pump anywhere from 5-7 times a day. I do my first pump of the day right when I wake up and I pump for 30-40 minutes each session. I leave the time duration up to how comfortable I am feeling and how much time I have. Now, your body is eventually going to regulate so if it changes, your baby may be able to regulate around a different schedule. I know some women choose not to pump while at work and that does not affect their supply and others who say the exact opposite. It depends on every person, because not everyone is the same.
14.) Pumping Log can be a great resource! I myself use an app called Pumping Log to keep track of how many pumps a day I am doing, their duration, and how much was made each time. You can find this app on the Google Playstore or the App Store if you use an iPhone! This app also keeps track of what you’re putting away for a freezer supply and even does a countdown of when you can stop pumping. This calculation is determined by how much you’re producing a day and it can change daily! I’ve been using mine since November and have found it to be one of my favorite tools!
15.) You can and will become overstimulated. If you are already stressed out, or exhausted, or trying to do too many things at once, you should take a moment and breathe before donning your pump. Overstimulation happens a lot with some mothers and this can make pumping a most unpleasant experience. Even if your alarm is going off, take a few minutes and sit down. Allow your mind and body to relax.
Thank you for taking the time to read this! I hope you find some of it to be quite helpful!
Link for breast pumps: https://www.edgeparkbreastpumps.com/home
About the Creator
An aspiring writer sharing her short-written pieces in both series and stand alone. I am hoping to one day publish my own book. I hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them.