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Pumping milk for your baby

What kind of pump?

  • We recommend you use an electric, hospital type pump
  • We will help you get a pump to use at home (usually covered by insurance)

Getting ready to pumpBreast Milk Pump

  • Get comfortable and get a drink of water before you start (being hydrated helps with milk production!)
  • Wash your hands (You don’t need to wash your breasts. A daily shower is plenty)
  • Massage your breasts and do some nipple stimulation before you pump
  • Put the pump kit together and plug in!

How to pump

  • Pumping both sides at the same time will help you to produce more milk – it will save you time too
  • Center the breast flange on your nipple (the flange is the clear plastic cone that you hold up to each breast)
  • Hold the flange gently so that you’re not pushing your breasts and compressing the milk ducts
  • Having the right size flange will make pumping more comfortable – ask the lactation nurse to check your size
  • Start the pump at low suction and increase slowly as you learn what works best for you and what you are most comfortable with
  • If pumping hurts, or your nipple doesn’t move easily inside the flange, talk to your nurse or lactation consultant
  • Lubricating the flange with a little milk or olive oil may make it more comfortable
  • Uterine cramping is normal when you are pumping and is a good sign
  • “Hands-free” pumping can really make your life easier. You can buy a special pumping bra, or make one out of an old bra (cut slits at the nipple site for the flange).

How much/how often?

  • Pump 7 to 8 times in 24 hours; for example: every 3 hours while you are awake and once at night
  • The number of times you pump is more important than how long you pump – you want to be stimulating your breasts to produce more milk
  • Initially you should pump for 15-20 minutes each time
  • After the first few weeks, once your milk supply is established, you need to keep pumping for 2-3 minutes after your milk flow slows down.
  • The middle of the night pumping is important, especially in the first few weeks – this will really help get your milk production up
  • Feel your breasts while you pump - if there are hard areas, massage them to empty all parts of the breast, you will see the milk spray out as you empty those areas
  • Emptying your breasts also helps you produce higher calorie milk for your baby
  • Remember, the more you “ask” your breasts to make milk, the more milk they’ll make- just like the baby would if you were breastfeeding

If you have a Medela Symphony pump (the yellow one)

  • This pump has 2 cycles Breast Pump
  • The first cycle is a 2 minute “fast suck” stimulation cycle
  • The second cycle is a “slower suck” suction cycle
  • This type of two-cycle pump has been shown to produce more prolactin (the hormone needed to keep making breastmilk)
  • You can restart the stimulation cycle while you pump by pressing the “drops” button
  • As you are establishing your milk supply, you may want to press the “drops” button 1-2 more times during your pumping session to give your breasts extra stimulation

Keeping track of your milk

  • Write in your log book when and how much you pumped
  • You may want to set a schedule to remember to pump on a regular basis
  • Mothers who keep track of their pumping make more milk

Cleaning your equipment

  • After each pumping clean all pump parts that have contact with the milk
  • Warm water and soap is fine
  • Using the dishwasher is also okay
  • Allow parts to air dry on a clean paper towel
  • You can purchase microwave steam bags to clean your kit if you prefer
  • Do not wash the tubing (it should not get wet – it could get moldy and contaminate the milk)
  • To take any moisture out of the tubing, you may leaBreast Pumpve the tubing connected to the pump (take off the bottles) and pump for 2-3 minutes

Going home to pump

  • It is hard to leave the hospital without your baby!
  • Pumping for your baby is one of the best ways you can help your baby while in the ISCC
  • Try to keep up your pumping schedule
  • The first 2 weeks are very important for making enough milk for the whole time your baby is here, and for making breastfeeding successful after your baby comes home
  • Your first goal is the clear or yellow colostrum drops for your baby
  • Two weeks after your delivery your goal is to produce 500 mls (about 2 cups) or more each day
  • Remember that you are the only one who can make this most important medicine (mother’s milk!) for your baby
  • Keep taking your prenatal vitamins - for you and your baby!


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