Tips for Exclusive Pumping
– Pumping apps: there are many applications for smart phones that track a mother’s pumping schedule and milk produced. Some mothers enjoy using these as a means of recording the work they do, and as a means of keeping track of how much milk they may anticipate producing on any given day. Some mothers also enjoy seeing the cumulative effects of their work, and these applications provide an easy means of tabulating total milk expressed over the time the mother pumps.
– Power pumping: power pumping is a useful practice for increasing milk supply, because it simulates the increased nutritive needs a baby experiences during a growth spurt. To power pump, the woman should pump for 10 minutes, then stop for another ten minutes. This should be repeated for a full hour. Some women stretch this to two hours. Supply should increase over the next day or two, and some women are able to maintain this increase without future power pumps.
– Coconut oil: coconut oil is frequently thought of as the life-blood of the pumping mother. It can be used to lubricate flanges and nipples to aid in the pumping process by reducing friction (thereby reducing the likelihood of tissue damage to the skin). It can be applied as a soothing balm, in place of Lanisoh, to sore or abraded nipples. It also doubles as a treatment for diaper rash, dry skin, split ends and all sorts of other applications. All pumping mothers should have a jar of coconut oil on hand.
– Pumpin Pals: Pumpin’ Pals is a set of aftermarket flanges. They are shaped differently, cupping the breast, and are sized by breast instead of nipple. The interior of the flanges are rounded and have no sharp edges, producing a more comfortable pumping session for the mother. They can be ordered online for $40, and most mothers consider this to be an invaluable resource well worth the cost.
– Refrigerating flanges: one of the more frustrating aspects of exclusive pumping is doing the dishes. Flanges and other parts need to be cleaned often to prevent contamination. As an alternative, the mother may place her flanges, collection bottles and parts in the refrigerator between pumps and will not have to wash them after every session. This reduces the time spent on activities related to pumping because the mother can simply wash everything at the end of the day.
– Back-up pump: emergencies happen. There may be an electrical blackout, a hurricane, or the pump may simply break. It is imperative that the mother keep a spare pump for emergencies. A manual pump will suffice and should be kept in a location where it will be available whenever it is needed (trunk of car or diaper bag).
– Lots of batteries (AA): single-user pumps generally have either a battery pack option, or a section of the base unit designed to hold batteries. As a standard, pumps use 6-10 AA batteries so the mother should keep a good supply of batteries on hand in the event of electrical failure if she would like to continue using her electrical pump during times of emergency.
– Hands free bra (and a strap): a hands-free bra is liberating to the exclusively pumping mother. It allows her to do things with her hands while she pumps and makes the experience more pleasant all around. These may be purchased, or can be made at home by cutting small holes in a sports bra through which the flanges can be inserted. Other methods include hooking rubber bands around the flange and to a nursing bra. All of these methods have online tutorials on youtube.com and other websites.
– Pumping in the car: pumping in the car, with a hands-free bra, is a technique used by many mothers on the go. This allows them to engage with the world at large while still meeting the demands of her pumping schedule. So long as a hands-free bra is employed, this is a safe way of traveling while pumping.
Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk: A Guide to Providing Expressed Breast Milk for Your Baby by Stephanie Casemore ($10 on Amazon.com)
The Pumping Mama (Blog)
Pump Hacker (Blog)
Kelly Mom (exclusive pumping studies, links and resources)
The Exclusive Pumpers! (Baby Center Community)
Exclusive Pumping Rules (Blog)
Exclusively Pumping: All about Exclusively Pumping. You’re not alone! (Blog)
Exclusive Pumpers South Africa (Blog and Facebook Group)
Hilltop Hippie (Blog)
About EP’er Allie:
I am a 36 year old, grad student studying literature (empire studies concentration) at University of Houston (did my undergrad there as well, though in mathematics), loves food and nerding out whenever possible. Married to a spectacularly awesome husband, with a very sweet 7-month old and an 8-ish year old persnickety cat.
My Journey: I started EPing when my daughter developed bottle preference. I didn’t know I was EPing, but I kept pumping while I tried to reattach her so I wouldn’t dry up. Eventually I had to accept I wasn’t going to be successful in reattaching her and I just kept pumping since I didn’t see a valid reason to switch her over to formula.
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