Laura's Pumping Page
What do I know about pumping?
When my daughter was born, she had a high palate and was unable to nurse
effectively. (It took us a while to figure this out, check out my full story ). We ended up feeding her expressed breast
milk only for a month, and then were able to transition her back to the breast. We
were so successful at the transition that as of 4 months old she completely refused the
bottle :-(. I was so successful at pumping that I donated ~600 ounces of milk to the
San Jose Mothers Milk Bank :-).
As of this writing, I'm pumping once a day, even if Amelia isn't eating any of it-- I like
having that cushion of extra milk, and it is going to a good cause.
I don't have experience working and pumping, or pumping for a hospitalized
baby, but I suspect some of this still will be useful to people in those situations.
What are my opinions on pumps?
The electric pumps I've used (in order of my preference)
Ameda Egnell Purely yours
Ameda Egnell Lact-E (rental)
Medela Pump in Style 98
Medela Classic (rental)
I've also tried the Ameda Egnell hand pump, with moderate success.
Check out my pump comparison
between the Purely Yours and the Pump in Style.
I've heard really good things about the Avent Isis, and if I wanted a hand
pump for semi regular to regular use, or if I was on a strict budget, that's what I'd try
together a summary of the differences between the various types of pumps
The massage technique in the Medela booklet worked
wonders for my pumping output. What I did was pump for ~7 minutes, then stop to
massage (massage the whole breast in a circular motion, stroke towards the nipple, then
lean over and shake out the breasts), pump ~5 minutes, massage, pump ~3 minutes.
When my pumping output was where I wanted it to be, I pumped until the output slowed down,
then stopped to massage, and then pumped one more time.
Lubricate your breasts before pumping. I used
lansinoh, I've heard olive oil works well, or even expressing a few drops of
breastmilk. Just make sure whatever you use is baby safe, This really helped
my sore nipples, and increased my output.
With the Purely Yours, you can control the speed and suction.
I start with the speed on high and the suction medium to stimulate a strong letdown, then
switch the speed to about medium, and turn the suction up. I get more milk per suck
cycle, so I can pump much more quickly this way. (Interestingly, once I
"trained" my breasts to go more quickly, I was able to pump more quickly with
the PIS as well).
If you are pumping full time, or even if you aren't, recruit
your partner to help. DH (Dear Husband) even still does all of the washing (see the next tip) and uses my pumping time as
some of his play with baby time. He also would bring me water if I forgot and helped
get my station set up (including making flange rests and adjusting the height of my
If you are pumping multiple times a day, get multiple sets of
flanges and wash them all at once (see below).
I discovered pumping more frequently (9-10 times per
day) helped increase my supply initially, but that I could maintain and increase gradually
with 8. (this is with little to no baby nursing taking place).
Make sure you have a comfortable place to pump, with
everything you need at hand (see below).
Find a way to free up at least one hand, so you can
read or whatever while you pump:
I prop the bottles on my lap. Then I can use one hand to steady
The Medela booklet shows a picture of using one arm to hold both
The Medela hands free pumping kit works. It also works with the newer
Ameda Egnell flanges. The first time using it, the setup is a little strange.
It requires using a Medela bra, although you could probably modify other nursing bras
using the Medela bra as a model.
Relax. Use the techniques you learned in your
childbirth prep class. Put on calming music. Get your partner to rub your neck
(while holding baby in the other arm).
Here is some information I've put together on storing breastmilk and on how much milk to expect to get.
Here is my pumping station.
Don't forget, you need much the same physical support for pumping as for breastfeeding--
make sure you are comfortable, that you have a good footstool, back support, etc., and
everything you need should be within easy reach.
On another topic: An extra set of flanges means you don't have to wash
immediately after pumping. When I was pumping full time, it meant more sleep
time. It could also mean not having to wash pump equipment at the office. For
us, the time/money tradeoff led to lots of equipment. We had 4 sets of Medela
flanges, so that when I was pumping 8 times a day, DH only had to wash morning and
evening. Then we switched to an Ameda-Egnell pump, and acquired 4 sets there as well.
We also wanted enough bottles to not have to worry about them. I've
got information on the different types of bottles (and
bags) that I used
In the picture, the Medela stuff is on the left and the Ameda Egnell stuff
is on the right.
I wish I'd seen this earlier: Pumping Moms Information Exchange
The La Leche League web page has a FAQ and a Working and Breastfeeding section with
some pumping info.
The Working Cow has
information on working and pumping.
I'd be happy to get any feedback on these pages, please send to Lpump@deLeons.com