For many expectant moms who are planning to pump exclusively, milk supply is something that weighs heavy on their minds. How high or low will it be? And what can they do to achieve success when it comes to feeding their little ones?
This guide has been tailored toward moms EP moms; moms who are planning to pump exclusively. If you fall in this category, here is everything you need to know.
How to boost your milk supply
When you think about milk supply, remember only one rule: the more the demand for your milk, the higher your supply will be. For EP moms, this means you can trick your body into thinking it needs to make more breast milk by simply pumping more. Here is how to do it:
1. Empty your breasts frequently
When you pump, it triggers more milk production, which, in turn, boosts your supply. So set your pumping schedule and stick to it. Pump as frequently as you can and try not to let your breasts feel too full or start leaking.
2. Stimulate your breasts
During the first few days after your baby is born, consider hand-expressing instead of pumping. Not only is this more comfortable, but it’s also a way to manually stimulate your breasts and get them to produce more milk. Plus, it is cheaper and easier to figure out than pumping. As you hand express, stimulate your nipples by gently rolling them between your thumb and finger for a few minutes. This has been shown to trigger the let-down reflect causing more milk to be released to the nipple.
3. Pump both breasts equally
Some moms have a higher supply on one breast than the other. You can fix this by pumping both breasts simultaneously, or if you have a single-breast pump, switch from one breast to the other every few minutes to ensure they are both stimulated equally and supply and production are boosted on both breasts.
4. Eat lactation cookies
There is some anecdotal evidence from some women that lactation cookies have led to higher milk supplies. While the research on them is limited, it wouldn’t hurt to try as many common ingredients in lactation cookies such as wheat germ, barley, flaxseed, and whole oats have been linked to higher breast milk production.
5. Make healthy lifestyle changes
Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, using birth control pills, too much stress, or being too fatigued as these are all things that can lead to low milk supply.
6. Drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet
Finally, drink plenty of fluids and eat well. Breast milk is 90% water, so you need to keep replacing it throughout the day. You also need to eat a healthy diet to get all those calories lost in breast milk production, and also to ensure that your little one gets all the essential nutrients that they need to grow!
Getting the right breast pump
Wondering how to choose the right breast pump for exclusively pumping moms? Here are the most important things to consider:
- Your pumping needs, lifestyle, and how often you’ll need to use it. Will you be pumping at home or the workplace?
- Portability of the breast pump, especially if you need to move or travel with it
- Suction strength and variability of suction
- How comfortable the breast pump is to use
- How loud the breast pump is to use
- Your budget. Breast pumps are available at all price points. Find a balance that meets your needs and your budget
Substitute for breastmilk
Ideally, babies should consume nothing but breast milk for at least 6 months. No substitute’s better than breast milk when it comes to all the nutritional and developmental benefits it offers. However, giving your baby breastmilk exclusively may not always be possible, even for moms who are exclusively pumping.
When breast milk is not an option, infant formula is the next best thing. Ideally, you should give formula milk to babies who are less than one year old. As you do, try to follow the manufacturer’s preparation, storage, and feeding instructions as much as you can.
Once your baby is over one year old, they can have fresh cow’s milk as a substitute for breast milk.
Support by husband
If you are exclusively pumping, there are many ways that your partner can help as well. Here are some ideas:
- They can give the baby the bottle so you can get some rest
- They can clean your pump
- They can make you snacks to enjoy as you pump
- They can entertain the baby
- They can pack your pumping bag for when you are heading out
- They can label and store your pumped milk
- They can take care of some house chores as you pump
As you can see, pumping exclusively need not be hard. With the right support from your partner, and with the tips outlined here, you will be able to boost your milk supply, get the right pump for you, and pump in peace every time! Good luck!