Most expecting moms who come to my prenatal classes are determined to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months. And then continue breastfeeding until their baby self-weans. This is because they are well informed and know how good breastmilk is for their baby.
But the fact is that breastfeeding is not easy. And breastfeeding for so many months can be very challenging.
This is where breast pumps can step in to make life much easier for new moms.
Of course, direct nursing is best and should be chosen over pumping whenever possible. But there are several situations where the breast pump can be a real boon.
Pumping can be very useful in the following situations –
- When you feel that you need more breastmilk. Pumping after each direct nursing and at frequent regular intervals while the baby is asleep can help you establish milk supply by conveying more demand to your breasts
- When your breasts are engorged – removing some milk can reduce pain and facilitate latching
- When you want to resume work but don’t want your baby to suffer because of your absence.
- When you are exhausted and need a break and some sleep – you can ask someone to feed the baby breastmilk in your absence. So, you can indulge in self-care without guilt
- When you want to mix breast milk with your baby’s first solid foods to give your baby a sense of familiarity
How to maintain a pumping routine with direct nursing?”
First ask yourself “Why am I pumping?”
The usual goals are –
- I want to increase my breast milk supply
- I am trying to build a stash for when I am away at work
For Goal 1
If you want to increase your breastmilk supply do the following –
- Pump as often as you can.
- Pump after each direct feed.
- Keep nursing on demand
- Be flexible and prioritize direct nursing on demand.
- Pump to empty the breasts every three hours.
For Goal 2
If you are pumping to enable the baby to bottle feed while you are away at work–
- Calculate how many hours you are going to be away from your baby and how much milk you are likely to need to stash for that time. Then calculate how much milk you can pump in each session and decide how many times you will need to pump.
- Pump early in the morning while the baby is asleep.
- Nurse as soon as the baby wakes up and again before you leave the house.
- At work pump thrice at 2 and half hour intervals.
- Nurse on demand through the evening.
- Nurse once before your baby falls asleep and once before you go to bed.
- Nurse on demand through the night when you co-sleep.
In the busy world of today – pumping can mean not suffering from maternal guilt and not losing yourself when you take on the role of mommy. Fortunately, breast pumps nowadays are compact, easy to carry, economical and easy to operate and using them can make life much easier for modern multitasking moms.
Dr Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD
Dr Debmita Dutta is a practicing doctor, a parenting consultant and the founder of the website WPA whatparentsask.com – She is based in Bangalore and conducts Parenting workshops at schools and corporate organizations. She also conducts prenatal classes for expecting parents and infant care classes for new parents