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Combining breastfeeding and pumping is a great solution for working mothers to store breastmilk for their babies. It also helps to increase the breastmilk supply that I have explained in the coming part.
You can make combining breastfeeding and pumping a successful experience for both you and your baby with the following tips.
Reasons To Combine Breastfeeding And Pumping
Boost Your Milk Supply
Breast milk production is based on the supply and demand system. When your baby suckles, the level of prolactin increases, which signals your body to produce more milk. So, the more your baby suckles, the more milk you will produce.
Similarly, you can increase your breastmilk supply by combining breastfeeding and a breast pump to stimulate your breasts to produce more milk. You can also eat healthy food to increase your breast milk supply.
Storage For The Future
If you are a working mother you can use breast milk storage bags for storing the breast milk in your freezer. Pumping allows someone else to give your baby breastmilk when you are unable to nurse your baby.
To Overcome Breastfeeding Challenges
If your baby is unable to latch or you are experiencing breastfeeding challenges such as breast engorgement and sore nipples, pumping allows you to extract milk from your breasts, which can then be fed to your baby through a bottle.
This is a great way to ensure that your baby is getting the nutrients they need, even if they are having trouble breastfeeding.
Mastitis is a condition that affects breastfeeding mothers and can cause breast pain, redness, inflammation, and even infection. Pumping regularly helps to remove milk from the breasts and helps keep them empty. This helps reduce the risk of bacteria building up and causing mastitis.
7 Tips For Combining Breastfeeding & Pumping
Combining breastfeeding and pumping can be a challenge, but it is definitely doable. Here are 7 tips to solve your problem of how to combine breastfeeding and pumping.
#1. Pump After Breastfeeding
Feed your baby first and then pumps after every breastfeeding session. This will ensure that your breasts are completely emptied and will help to keep your milk production up. It also helps to prevent clogged ducts.
#2. Breastfeed Frequently
In order to keep a good milk supply, it’s recommended to pump every three to four hours for about fifteen minutes while breastfeeding. This will help your body produce enough milk for your baby.
Some women find that they need to pump more often in order to maintain their milk supply, while others can go a little longer between pumps. It is important to find what works best for you and your baby.
Don’t forget to switch the sides of breastfeeding and pumping after each feeding session. This will ensure that each breast is evenly drained.
#3. Use A Double Electric Breast Pump
Use a double electric breast pump if you can afford it. This type of pump will allow you to pump more milk in less time.
When you are expressing milk with an electric pump, it is important to use the lowest suction setting and a slow rhythm. This will help ensure that you do not over-express your milk and cause discomfort or pain.
You can also use a manual pump for expressing breast milk. Manual pumps are affordable and need more physical effort. If you pump regularly, electric pumps are faster and more efficient than manual pumps.
#4. Stay Hydrated
When you’re dehydrated, your milk production decreases. Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, dry mouth and lips, fatigue, and headaches.
Drink plenty of fluids during the day. Aim to drink around eight glasses of water per day, in addition to any other fluids such as milk, coconut water, lactation smoothies, juices and protein shakes you may drink.
Rehydrate yourself before or after every breastfeeding and pumping session.
#5. Correct Breast Pump Flange Fits
Finding the right breast pump flange size is important for a comfortable pumping experience. A too-small flange can cause nipple pain, painful milk extraction, and clogged milk duct. While a too-large flange can lead to milk being left in the breast and a decrease in the output of milk production.
The best way to determine your ideal flange size is to measure your nipple diameter where the areola meets the nipple and then compare it to the breast pump flange size chart.
Don’t forget to clean your breast pump flanges after every single use.
#6. Paced Bottle-Feeding Method
You can use stored breast milk for bottle feeding. When the angle of the feeding bottle is pointed down, milk can pour directly into the baby’s mouth instead of it being sucked which can cause vomit and spit up.
Use the paced bottle-feeding method which mimics the breastfeeding method where the baby is fed at a slow and steady pace. This method helps the baby to control the flow of milk, which can help to reduce gas and spit-up.
Burp your baby after every feeding, whether it’s breastfed or bottle-fed. Use a gentle patting motion on your baby’s back until the baby burps.
#7. Pumping And Storing Your Breastmilk
Make sure bags/containers are made of BPA-free, FDA-approved, freezer-safe material and have to airtight lids. Label each container with the date and time it was pumped. You can safely store your breastmilk in a milk storage bag in the refrigerator for up to 6 ounces for 24 hours or freeze up to 6 months for later use.
Pros of Combining Breastfeeding and Pumping
- It allows you to produce more milk
- Reduce the risk of clogged milk ducts.
- Relieving engorgement pressure and pain
- Sustaining the supply of breastmilk for your baby
- Time-saving because you can pump more milk in a shorter amount of time.
- Easily transition between breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Your baby accepts the feeding bottle easily.
Cons of Combining Breastfeeding and Pumping
- Additional expenses included. You need to buy pumping equipment such as a breast pump, bottles, milk storage bags, breast pump flanges, and a hands-free pumping bra.
- Sometimes you face oversupply issues like clogged ducts, engorgement, and mastitis.
- Pumping can be uncomfortable and may cause soreness in the breasts.
To increase your milk supply, you should pump frequently – at least every 3 hours. You should also drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet to increase your breast milk supply.
However, if you may experience any breast pain or discomfort while combining breastfeeding and pumping, please consult with your doctor or lactation consultant for guidance.