Breastpumping is also an excellent way to increase breast milk or even dry up breast milk!
There are two ways to pump milk out of your breasts into a bottle:
• Pumping with a breastpump
• Expressing breast milk with your hand
Let's go over both.
Breastpumping with a Breast Pump
There are four items you need before starting:
• A good breast pump. Not necessarily an expensive one, but definitely not a cheap one! One that will last.
• Bottles. At least two to use for pumping.
• A plug or the type of batteries that go with your pump. Only needed if you're using an electric pump.
If you get a new breast pump, it'll come with instructions on how to use it. If you borrow one or buy a used one, please steralize it before you use it by boiling the pump shields in water for a few minutes.
After you have everything connected:
• Cord connected from pumping machine to wall or battery pack
• Tubes connecting from pumps to pumping machine
• Bottles connected to pumps
Set the pumping machine to the lowest setting to get started, so your nipples won't feel like they are being torn from your breast! Very painful! Trust me, you do not want to feel that!
Now guide your nipples into the center of each breastpump shield and hold it there. There you go! Pumping milk!
Your milk will probably not flow as soon as you start pumping.....so just relax and be patient.....it's coming. As your nipples start to feel more comfortable, start increasing the settings. This will help bring the milk out faster.
This is a little tricky though, because you have to let go of one of your pumps in order to turn the dial on your breast pump. I always just bend down and hold one of the bottles in between my knees while still pumping in order to free up a hand to turn the settings up.
If you're using a manual breast pump, center your nipples into each breast pump shield and gently squeeze each handle. Milk may not flow immediately with the first pump, so relax and keep squeezing and letting go, squeezing and letting go......
If you're not around your baby while pumping, think about your baby in some kind of way. The way they look, smell, play, laugh, smile, anything. Just think about your baby to make your milk let-down and start coming out.
Or if you have a picture of your baby, look at that. For some reason, thinking about, seeing, or hearing your baby tells your body to release milk. The body is so amazing!
If your baby is there with you while you're pumping, put them on one breast to nurse while you're pumping the other breast. This will help you get a lot of milk out much easier and quicker, since your baby is stimulating your breasts, telling your body to give him milk. And as you know, or will soon know, when one breasts starts letting milk out, both of them will.
Your milk will start filling up your bottle one milk drop at a time. These milk drops add up fast! Once your milk completely stops coming into the bottle you can stop pumping and store your milk in your storage bags or twist a nipple cap on the bottles for your baby to drink later.
Here is a video showing you how to use a manual pump to pump your breast while nursing your baby on the other breast.
This technique works with an electric pump as well.
Don't forget to clean your breast pump shields and bottles with soap and water afterwards!
Expressing Breast Milk with Your Hand
To express your milk by hand you will need three things:
• Clean hands
• A bowl or bottle to catch milk in
Hold your breast with your thumb on top and your fingers on bottom, with your thumb and pointing finger directly behind your areola (the dark part around your nipple).
Using your thumb and pointing finger, press gently on your breast....massaging it forward, releasing your breast a little, bringing your fingers back, massaging it forward again, releasing a little, bringing it back..........
Think about your baby, or look at a picture of your baby to get the milk flowing. Continue massaging rhythmically until the milk starts to flow out. Once the milk starts flowing into the bottle or bowl, bring your fingers a little closer to your nipple and continue to do the massaging technique until the milk stops.
Do the same thing on the other breast.
Here is a video showing you how to express milk by hand.
Expressing milk by hand was always the hardest thing for me to do, only because I always thought I was going to squeeze my breasts too hard and hurt myself. Using this technique to get milk should not hurt! If it does, then you are squeezing too hard. Loosen up a bit and relax.
After you're done, pour your milk into storage bags or a bottle for your baby to drink later.
Using an electric pump always worked better for me when breastpumping, but every woman is different. Some women like the skin to skin contact of expressing their milk by hand and some women prefer to do it with a pump.
Which breastpumping technique is better for you?