Tips for achieving a let down while pumping from a Le Leche League Leader and BAB (Breastfeeding Answer Book):
* Please note that these tips are primarily for mothers who both feed and pump so not all may apply to EPing *
Tips for effective pumping:
– start by massaging breasts before u pump- it helps to stimulate let down
– some moms keep photos or videos of baby on their phones to look at while they pump to help a let down
– or smelling something baby has worn
– a warm wet compress on breast may also help.
– make sure pump is warm- ice cold will not help.
– lubricate it with some breastmilk
– pump slowly at first till let down comes, then pump stronger and faster
– massage breasts while u pump as it helps stimulate the different milk ducts.
– Also move pump around so it also stimulates different ducts to release milk.
– take a break midway, massage your breasts to help increase milk yield.
The number of times u pump is up to u depending on your supply and need. If your supply seems to drop add in another session for a day or 2.
After each session do so hand expressions too. Its great for increased stimulation.
It is more effective to pump 15 min every hour than 40 min twice a day( if u r looking to increase your supply)
If let down is not triggered during pumping, mom will only be able to express the little milk behind the nipples (approx. 20 – 30mls). This is not an indication of low milk supply, but rather inability to stimulate the let down reflex.
The letdown usually occurs many times during a feeding or while pumping.
Some suggestions for stimulating the let down.
– the let down can be psychologically conditioned as well as physically stimulated. Eg- some mothers let down when they hear baby cry or even just thinking of baby.
– the sensations of pumping and hand expressing are not the same as baby sucking and so especially at first the mother may need to encourage her let down, using some of the following methods of physical and psychological stimulation.
* express in a familiar and comfortable setting. For example in the same place each time. Place that allows mom to relax her whole body. Pumping arm to rest on a pillow.- familiar routines and settings help mom relax and act as psychological triggers to aid let down.
* minimize distractions
– phone off, relaxing music on, glass of water juice ready, snack, something to read. This will allow mom to relax and concentrate on expressing
– if mom is not at home try find a private setting, where u will not worry about interruptions.
* follow a pre expression ritual
-apply heat to breasts( moist or dry.)
– warmth is comforting so a blanket around your shoulders.or sit near source of heat
– gently massage the breasts. This especially helps if mom is feeling tense
– stimulate nipples by gently rolling or rubbing them
– relax for 5min, doing childbirth breathing exercise or imagining a beach with lapping waves, or mountain stream etc
– if mom is away from baby a phone call to see how baby is doing may help put her in a good frame of mind.
– you don’t need to do all these tips, but choose which may suit you.
* use a rhythmic motion while expressing to mimic a babys suck.
– try to mimic how your baby feeds- watch him closely when he feeds.
*focus all your senses on the baby
-imagine baby is close to you and cuddling with you
-physical reminders may help, a photo to look at, tape recording of babys voice, feel and smell a clothing item of baby or a blanket.
* interrupt milk expression several times to massage breast
-this will help stimulate several let downs during one session
* switch breasts when the flow starts to slow
– rather than spending 10min on each breast, the let down is stimulated more effectively by expressing on each breast until the milk flow decreases and then switching to the other breast repeating this several times until 20 or 30 min has passed