Making the Transition from Baby to Pump
By Elizabeth Catalanotto
After exclusively breastfeeding your baby for months, becoming a pumping mom can be a challenging transition. Not only do you have to adjust to using the pump and fitting it into your daily schedule but you also have a whole list of decisions to make like what pump to use and how you’ll store the milk.
When it comes to using a pump for the first time, it can be a bit intimidating. However, if you take the time to plan and prepare you’ll be a pumping pro in no time.
There are two basic types of breast pumps available. Manual pumps that you control yourself and electric pumps that are run by small motors. If you’re apprehensive about using a pump, I suggest that you start with a small step and try a manual pump. Once you adjust to the pump and the idea of pumping it might be easier for you to begin using a professional grade electric pump.
The key to a successful transition from baby to pump is to give yourself time. Regardless of which type of pump you choose to use, your body will need time to adjust because it will not feel the same as your baby. Don’t be alarmed if you are only able to pump a small amount at first. Eventually, you will learn how to pump more effectively and will be able to express more during each session. By starting to use your pump early, you will also have the chance to build a backup supply of milk to store in your freezer.
When you’re adjusting to your pump, it can be helpful to pump on one side while nursing on the other. This will allow you to adjust the pump’s speed and suction close to your baby’s nursing pattern and it can help you develop a mental association between nursing and pumping.
Once you begin pumping, set a schedule and stick to it to ensure that you are able to keep your supply up and collect enough milk for all your baby’s feedings. When setting a schedule remember that it is better to pump more often than to pump for longer periods. Some moms pump every 3 hours while others prefer to pump according to their baby’s regular feeding schedule.
The goal of pumping is to recreate the experience of nursing your baby, so try to make each pumping session as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. Don’t feel that you have to multi-task while pumping. Take this time in your day to relax, think about your baby and enjoy a healthy snack. Remember that pumping is not simply a task that you must complete; it is an act of love that will give your child nutrition for the best start in life.
About the Author:
Elizabeth Catalanotto, a pumping/nursing mom to her 1-year-old daughter, promotes the benefits of breastfeeding and pumping at Breast Pumps Direct, an online store that offers quality breast pumps and accessories at discounted prices.
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