If you have chosen to exclusively pump, or if your baby is premature or ill or just refusing to latch, there are a few important things you need to know in order to maintain your breastmilk supply and ensure you meet your goals, whether that is to pump until baby can successfully latch or to meet a pumping goal.
Get the best pump YOU can afford, you don’t need an expensive, double electric, although it is easier, it is not a necessity, get something you will be happy with, heaven knows you will be spending a lot of time with it.
Talking to other moms who breastfeed or pump is important, it helps you to realize there are many variations of normal when it comes to how much milk a new mother is able to pump, while some may get 50mls of colostrum, many will only get 10 -15mls a session, both are normal. It is important to remember that “your worth is not measured in ml’s”
A newborn typically nurses between 10-12 times a day, sometimes more, they do this in order to stimulate your breastmilk supply, so naturally, when expressing, you should aim for the same type of schedule with both feeding baby and pumping. Always try to make sure you empty the breast completely every 2 to 3 hours, some moms find pumping every 2 to 3 hours during the day and every 4 at night, helps maintain some sort of sanity.
When pumping for sick or premature babies, you should make sure your pump is sterilized after each use, as well as any feeding and storage bottles. Breastmilk can be frozen directly after pumping, it is best to freeze in smaller amounts to prevent wastage.
Breastmilk can be left at room temperature for up to 8 hours. It can be stored in a cooler bag for up to 24 hours, in the back of the fridge for 5 – 8 days, a fridge freezer for up to 3 months and a free standing deep freeze for up to a year, but it’s always important to do a smell or taste test to make sure your milk hasn’t spoilt or that you don’t have a lipase issue.
For moms who find out they have a high lipase, scald your milk by heating it to scald (just bubbling around the edges, not boiling), remove from heat and cool and then freeze immediately.
How much and how often to feed baby
Newborn babies need small, frequent feeds. Baby should have at the very least 10 to 12 feeds a day.
Unlike formula, which is calculated based on weight, a breastfed babies intake is generally calculated on the amount of feeds: the average baby drinks between 90 and 150mls per feed, or between 750 and 1035mls per day.
If you find you need support, motivation or have questions relating to pumping, please join our Exclusive a Pumpers South Africa group and keep up to date with all things breastmilk and pumping on our EPSA Facebook page.