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How to Increase Breast Milk Supply Using a Breast Pump
Increasing breast milk supply is easy when you have a good breast pump. Any time you want to increase breast milk production, the most important thing you can do is stimulate the breasts. Nursing babies naturally do this, but there are several reasons you may not be getting enough breast stimulation from your baby.
The Case of the Really Cool Breast Pump Bag
When I had my son I was working in the consulting division of a (then) Big 6 accounting firm. We were very fancy; we had the latest computers. One day when I was freshly back from maternity leave I was carrying my Ameda breast pump in the elevator. It came in a really nice case, complete with a refrigerated section to store the breast milk. A newbie in the elevator with me was envious. “You got a new laptop? Is that new?” His sweet twenty-two year old face turned pale when I told him it was my breast pump.
Basics of Breast Pumping
This breast feeding video demonstrates some of the benefits of using a breast pump to express breast milk.
Being away from your baby for significant periods can decrease breast milk product. If your breasts are injured or too sore to nurse, milk supply can drop. Or maybe you would simply like to pump enough breast milk so that you have extra on hand for emergencies. Breast pumps can help with all these situations. The more you nurse—or use a breast pump—the more milk your body will produce.
Note: Never worry about producing too much breast milk! It won’t go to waste. Breast milk storage containers are inexpensive, easy to use, and keep breast milk safe and fresh for months in the freezer.
Increase Breast Milk Production – Use a Breast Pump To Be Away From Baby
Many women worry about how to produce breast milk when they return to work. Pumping breast milk is a great way to maintain the nursing schedule that your baby has set. The expressed milk can then be left with the baby and caregiver, decreasing dependence on formula. When my son was three months old I returned to work. Along with drinking a lot of water, faithfully using my hospital grade breast pump was one of the most effective ways to increase breast milk supply.
Breast pumps are a great way to for working mothers to increase breast milk. Breast pump use is not just for working mothers though. Fortunately, with a good breast pump, being away from your baby for any reason does not have to result in low breast milk supply. Moms—especially breastfeeding moms—need and deserve a break. Breast pumps are freedom!
More Reasons to Boost Breast Milk Supply
Injured or Engorged Breasts
Pumping breast milk instead of breastfeeding is also great when breasts are injured (cracked nipples are no fun to nurse with!) or so sore or engorged that breastfeeding becomes unbearably painful for Mom. There is simply no reason to suffer. Breasts will often heal quicker if you use a pump. The suction is strong, but can be gentler than baby’s aggressive latch.
Introducing Rice Cereal and Creating a Supply of Breast Milk
If your doctor recommends starting your baby on rice cereal (either mixed into a bottle or as a solid) you may find that your baby sleeps for longer stretches at night. If you would like to build up an inventory of breast milk, you can keep pumping breast milk at night when the baby used to nurse. Sure, it’s a pain, but there are plenty of good reasons to have a stockpile of liquid gold in the freezer.
I recommend investing in a hospital grade breast pump, but even if you opt for one of the cheap breast pumps, make sure you get one with a good carrying case so you can easily transport it from home to office.