Breastfeeding & Bottle Feeding | Breastfeeding |
To or Not to
Least Favorite Part of Breastfeeding
I think this was probably my least favorite part (but very necessary) of the baby process. I found it totally boring to sit with hats stuck to your breasts while you listen to “whoosh” “whoosh” or “fire” “fire”; you could come up with lots of different words that the pump machine makes. With my son I was constantly pumping since I supplemented with bottles. I use to catch up on some TV while doing this but I still would be counting down the minutes. For my son, it seemed like the first couple months all I ever did was feed my baby and then pump, feed my baby and then pump.
On the other hand, a pump machine is extremely useful. A pump machine helps you establish breastfeeding (pump to increase supply or pump to relieve engorgement) and a pump machine allows you to give your baby breast milk if you go back to work or are away from your baby.
Start Pumping Immediately in Hospital
With my first baby I didn’t think to start pumping immediately while in the hospital. Although, the best thing is to try to latch the baby on as soon as possible and then continue to have the baby latch on but if you are having trouble with that it may help to pump as well.
Even if you have your own machine generally it is preferred to rent one of the hospital machines during your stay. The hospital machines are more versatile and have lower settings which are more accommodating when your milk is first coming in. You may want to make sure it is covered with your insurance. My insurance covered the renting of the pump machine and we got to keep the accessories; it was nice to have an extra set of tubes, plastic pumps, and bottles. In addition to pumping you’ll want to continue to put your baby on your breast “because the sucking helps activate Mum’s lactiferous sinuses, which a breast pump cannot do” (123).
Pump Immediately Before Feeding Baby
Pumping for a brief period of time before feeding your baby may help if you have either A) fast letdown or B) slow letdown. If you have fast letdown the baby may choke in the first few minutes of the feed due to the fact your milk is coming out too fast. If you pump briefly before putting the baby on your breast, this may help alleviate the problem.
On the other hand, if you have slow let down your baby may become frustrated when he doesn’t receive instant satisfaction. I occasionally would use the electric pump for a brief period before feeding my baby to ensure when he started sucking he would receive breast milk immediately. It can be a hassle to try to pump before you feed your baby since the baby is hungry and wants to eat NOW but in the long run it may help both you and your baby adjust to breastfeeding.
Should Not Need to Pump
Overall, once you establish breastfeeding you should not need to pump unless you supplement with bottles and you want to use breast milk in the bottles. I would recommend having a backup of breast milk on hand so you may want to occasionally pump. Obviously if you are going back to work and you plan to have someone feed your baby a bottle with breast milk you will have to pump ahead of time and establish a large supply. Please refer to the "How Much" article to find out what the average baby drinks. But if you successfully establish breastfeeding and you primarily breastfeed (do not give your baby a bottle whether with breast milk or with formula) your body should be able to adjust to provide enough milk for your baby and you should not need to pump. If you are not producing enough breast milk then you may want to pump for a few minutes after each feeding to stimulate more milk production.
Type of Pump Machines
The pump machines can be pricey but they are definitely worth it if you decide to breastfeed. My friend let me borrow hers and once I realized I was going to continue breastfeeding I should have simply bought my own but that thought didn’t occur to me until after I was finished breastfeeding. If you have someone’s to borrow it would be nice to borrow it for the first couple of weeks to see if you are going to continue with the process as they are expensive. Note: The manufactures do NOT recommend sharing pump machines due to sanitary concerns.
I used the the Medela breast pump in style shoulder bag and I liked it. Please refer to the Medela web site: http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com. It is also nice to have a handheld pump if you are doing a road trip and won’t have access to an electrical outlet; although, the new pump machines usually have a battery back-up which is really nice.. My sister-in-law gave me the Philips Avent Manual Breast Pump, please refer to http://www.philips-store.com and click on "Mother & child care."
Accessories for Pump
There are various accessories you need for the various pump machines. For the Medela Pump machine you needed the Medela breast shield with valve and membrane, (you can buy spare membranes as well as spare valves,) and the tube connectors. You can buy various sizes of the breast shields. The lactation consultant I met while in the hospital recommended the larger ones as they help when your breasts are engorged. (Don’t forget the membranes and valves when traveling with the pump machine or it won’t work.) There are also accessories to help hold the attachments to allow you to pump hands free.
Cleaning Pump Items
Most of the items that are used to collect the milk can generally be cleaned in the dishwasher. Medela also sells “Medela Quick Clean Breastpump & Accessory Wipes.”
I always ran the pump machine lines after detaching the pump containers for a few minutes after pumping to let air run through the lines to make sure there was no moisture buildup in the lines. The lines can get mildew in them If moisture builds up.
Storing Breast Milk
Please refer to "Storing Breast Milk and Formula" for more information.
Last Updated: March 2011; November 2009