- RELAX! If you’re going to be a successful pumper, you have to find a way not to hate it. Try to keep your mind off of it while pumping. Don’t look into those bottles and constantly check how much you’re producing. Chill out. Find something to laugh at or mindlessly read on your phone.
- Stay hydrated. I tried to drink around 100 oz. of water a day, which meant I had to be intentional about it. I’d fill up a water bottle before I was ready to pump and drank it while pumping. I was always really thirsty when I started pumping, so it helped that I tended to crave water at that time time.
- EAT. EAT. EAT. When you are producing milk for two babies, you will experience the hunger of your life! Breastfeeding is not a time to limit your calorie intake. I ate pretty much whatever I wanted within reason. I ate lots of oatmeal and Multigrain Cheerios, which are supposed to increase your supply. I also at a lot of healthy fats like peanut and almond butter, avocados, and hummus. I also made batches upon batches of these lactation cookies, mostly because they were SO yummy!
- Fenugreek tablets. Some people claim fenugreek didn’t do much for them, but I always noticed a big difference when I’d take it. I increased my dosage to three tablets a day and while I smelled like maple syrup, I noticed a significant increase in the amount I produced.
- Get enough sleep. Okay, I know this isn’t always possible, but I noticed an increase when I would get more sleep at night and when I’d take naps. I’d wake up from naps sometimes and produce two - four more ounces than the previous pumping session. Ask for help so you can get the rest you need to take care of those little one!
- Stick to a schedule. From the time my girls were born, I had them on a strict feeding schedule. They would eat every three hours, and I would pump every three hours as well. The more you pump, the more you produce, so even when the girls were sleeping during longer periods during the night, I would still pump every three hours and would store that up as extra. Eventually I didn’t have to wake up every three hours, but during the first few months I made the sacrifice and pumped around the clock.
- Empty out every time. Related to the previous bullet point, it’s so important to empty each breast out completely every time you pump so that your body knows to replenish and produce more. The amount of time it takes to do that varies for each mom, but for me it usually took about 15 - 20 minutes. I’d usually experience two let downs, and then I’d know that I was finished.
- Power Pumping. Every once in a while when I felt like I needed a little boost or some extra milk, I’d power pump. This meant I’d pump for 10 minutes, then stop for 10 minutes, and would repeat that cycle for a full hour.
- Breast Pumping Hands-Free In my opinion, an absolute necessity when pumping is a hands-free pumping bra. I purchased the Simple Wishes hands free bra, and it was a game changer. I could multi-task no problem. I could feed the girls and pump at the same time. I could feed my toddler lunch and pump at the same time. I basically lived in that thing. I could even pump in the car while driving through Starbucks. Crazy memories I’ll never forget.
- Store pump parts in the fridge. Washing all the pump parts takes time, but during the day I stored my pump parts in the fridge, and would pull them out when I needed to use them. The cold temperature kept them sterilized and only required me to wash them thoroughly once a day.
- Serve the milk at room temperature. I didn’t warm up their bottles. Breast milk is good at room temperature for up to six hours, so I’d pump ahead for the next feeding, set the bottles on the counter, and would just have to grab them when they were ready to eat.
- Wear a properly fitted bra. If your bra is too small, it will put too much pressure on your breasts and could cause you to get backed up.
- Take lecithin. My lactation consultant recommended this to me, and when I started taking it, I never had another problem thereafter. You can purchase it over the counter, and I took it three times a day.
- Make sure your breast pump flanges are large enough. Medela breast pumps come with a standard size flange, but many women have nipples that are too large for them. Larger sizes can be purchased at most stores that sell baby gear. When I purchased larger flanges it made pumping much more comfortable.
- Don’t sleep on your tummy. Again, putting pressure on your breasts can back them up. I had it happen several times, even while sleeping on my side, so pay extra attention to your sleeping position.
- Apply lanolin after each pumping session. It not only prevents you from getting sore, but also keeps the ends of the ducts open.
- Homemade Cloth Nursing Pads. I swear by them. My mom made some for me, and not only do they save money, but they’re super comfortable. There are lots for sale on Etsy.
Follow along Amber's journey raising three under three..with her fourth (a little boy!) on the way over at her blog Mommy's Me Time and Facebook!
Feel free to email her with any questions you may have: email@example.com