Here Are 3 Reasons to Consider Pumping Breast Milk After Your Baby Is Born
With the excitement of pregnancy, you’re probably thinking about baby clothes, a cute crib, a carseat – a whole world of new items for the baby. A breast pump might not come to the top of your mind. Why get one now? You’re wondering. I can breastfeed for the first month or so.
But there are some great reasons to have breast pump handy from the get-go. Here are 3 you might want to consider:
1. You might need one if you’re having issues with your breast milk
Many women don’t produce milk right away. Others do…but have a low supply. Pumping breast milk can help with this problem. It can stimulate your body to produce more milk.
When you nurse or use a breast pump, the goal is basically to empty the breast of milk. The more often you do this, the more milk your breast will produce. So if you’re having trouble with a low milk supply, your doctor might recommend you use a breast pump.
Remember that it’s normal for one breast to produce less milk than another. Pumping breast milk might help in that situation, too. It can clear out the breast and trigger more milk production.
It’s also common for babies to prefer nursing from one breast. Some moms will nurse from that breast but pump from the other. This can prevent the feeling of too much fullness in one breast afterward.
You might also have the opposite problem: too much milk.
This can lead to breast engorgement – when your milk backs up. Your breasts can start feeling hard. They also might be:
- Tender or swollen
- Warm or red
Engorgement can cause plugged milk ducts or even an infection. To prevent breast engorgement, you can try these steps:
- Massaging the breast
- Using cold compresses
- Getting enough rest, fluids, and a healthy diet
- Wearing a supportive and well-fitting bra
- Hand-expressing or pumping a little milk before breastfeeding. This can soften the breast, nipple and areola.
If you’re returning to work, experts recommend you pump your milk at least every 4 hours. Try to do it at the same times that your baby breastfeeds at home.
2. Storing breast milk can be a huge help.
A supply of refrigerated breast milk can be useful in many situations…for example:
- If you’re going back to work or to school
- If you want your partner to have time feeding the baby
- If you need to run errands or just have some “me” time
Also – if your baby can’t latch on to your breast very well, is born prematurely, or is spending time in the hospital, storing your milk could be important. A steady supply of breast milk can keep your baby well-nourished. Ask your doctor how often you should pump and how to store your milk safely.
3. You might want to think about breast milk donation.
If your breast milk supply is heavy, donating some of your milk is a kind and compassionate thing to do. Some moms cannot produce enough milk, often for medical reasons. Your milk could greatly benefit their babies who are:
- Born prematurely and unable to latch on
- Facing a critical illness or major surgery
To donate milk, you’ll go through a screening process. If you’re approved, you’ll use a breast pump to collect your milk. For more information on how to donate breast milk, take a look at the HMBNA website.
Remember: The final decision on pumping breast milk is up to you.
There are many factors that go into whether women use a breast pump. You might decide you’d rather keep nursing from directly from the breast. Or your doctor might advise you to feed your baby formula for medical reasons. Whatever you decide, remember that you’re making the decision that’s right for your baby and your life. No two situations are identical.
If you do decide to use a breast pump, you can probably get one for free, or at a low cost. Read about how a good breast pump supplier can help you with this.
Want help getting a breast pump? Call Toll-Free: (866) 633-1597, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST. You can also visit nebmedical.com.