Tips for Exclusively Pumping Moms

Whether you are exclusively breastfeeding, exclusively pumping, or formula-feeding your baby, you are still a wonder woman! Be proud you are giving your baby the best that you can offer! It is such a beautiful thing to breastfeed and for the human body to be able to produce something that will nourish a child that can shape their health for the rest of their lives. Not only do babies reap the benefits from their breastfeeding mamas, but breastfeeding is also beneficial for mothers, too. While babies are gaining nutrients from their mother’s milk, mothers on the hand, can be losing up to 500 calories or more when breastfeeding. On top of all the other benefits mothers can have while breastfeeding or pumping, they are also lowering their risk for breast cancer and post-partum depression.

I have mentioned from my previous posts that breastfeeding and pumping do not always come natural to some mothers. Not all mothers are granted with the accessibility of lactation consultants to teach them the proper ways and techniques of breastfeeding. We can countlessly search the Internet on tips on what we can do to increase or maintain supply, and get our baby to latch on properly. Trust me, I’ve Googled everything! A lot of tips helped, while some, not so much.

Here are a few tips that have worked for me and helped me during my 12 months of exclusively pumping. These few tips helped me maintain and increase my milk supply.

1.Drink PLENTY of H2O
Yes, I know you’ve heard this a million times from your OB/GYN when you were pregnant, but same goes when you have your baby. Staying hydrated is a key factor when nursing. It helps the body produce more milk and also helps you feel more refreshed and less tired. I often tallied the number of glasses of water I drank. I was not always consistent, but tallying the glasses helped me push myself. So bottoms up, ladies!

2. Limit caffeine intake

I know, you’re sleep deprived, and I know you need to find ways to stay awake in the middle of the night, but try limiting caffeine for a while. I’m not going to lie, I wanted a caramel macchiato very badly when I  was nursing, but not only does the caffeine go through my blood stream and possibly into my milk; caffeine can also dehydrate you when staying hydrated is what you want. Maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else feel like their bladder is a size of a dime whenever they drink coffee? I am not saying you cannot drink coffee or any caffeinated drinks, just remember to drink it in moderation. It is recommended that mothers limit themselves to 5 oz of caffeine/day. Check out KellyMom for more information. I am also not going to lie, but when I needed to go back to work, I needed something to stay awake. So I usually opted for something with less caffeine, but also an energy booster, such as iced green tea or fresh pressed juice with plenty of ginger.

3. Eat!
Yes, eat! Don’t worry too much about losing weight (unless you’re a model/actress and need to go back to work in a month). Just focus on your baby, and providing him/her with the nutrients and calories that he/she needs. You can lose the baby weight gradually, and the less you stress about it, the faster you’ll lose it. I noticed the more calories I take in per day, the more milk I expressed. With that said, I am not talking about eating more junk-food. Try maintaining a well-balanced diet, so that you can eat healthy and maybe still squeeze in a couple cookies too. It is hard to prep-meals or plan weekly meals when having a newborn, but choosing the right kinds of foods will help boost  confidence, as well as, help you lose weight when you are ready. Remember to eat a well-balanced diet for your health, too. It is recommended that nursing mothers eat 500 calories more than mothers who aren’t. Your body needs the extra energy to produce the milk! Trying opting for healthier alternatives, such as, instead of eating white rice, try brown rice or quinoa. Add extra omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, such as avocados, olive oils, and salmon. I’ll post some recipes that are easy to do, especially for new or working moms. 

4. Eat Oatmeal
On top of eating healthy, and having a well-balanced diet. Try eating oatmeal for breakfast! Though there are no scientific evidence that oatmeal increases lactation, many nursing moms have sworn by it. Not only is it healthy, but it’s also versatile and any toppings you add makes it extra delicious! I usually like getting the instant oatmeal from Trader Joe’s. Even though it’s not scientifically proven, it has worked for me.  I’ve noticed that having oatmeal for breakfast increased and maintained my milk supply. Whenever I would run out of oatmeal, and sometimes too lazy to go to the store to buy more, I did notice a slight decrease to my milk supply. Also, oatmeal can be considered as a comfort food, helping women feel more relaxed. It is key for nursing mothers to feel relaxed and stress-free (even though it’s hard with a newborn!).
Click here for a list of a lactogenic foods that can also help increase your production. 
Personally, what worked best for me was eating oatmeal, and having barley tea! 

5. Massage those TATAS!
Before pumping and while pumping, it’s really important to stimulate milk production by massaging your breasts. Here’s a really good article from La Leche League about increasing milk production and incorporating “Massage-Stroke-Shake” technique.
Click here. 
Here’s also a great video from Stanford University for maximizing production! 
Click here

6. If all else fails, try supplements.

Supplements are not for all, and some say that taking supplements can lead to colicky babies. Please seek advise from your lactation consultant, physician, or child’s pediatrician before taking supplements to see if you should take them. Personally, I did seek approval from the lactation consultant, and she recommended that I take teas or vitamins with fenugreek as a main ingredient. I drank Milkmaid Tea from Earth Mama Angel Baby, and this one really helped increase my lactation within a week! It also made my milk smell and taste sweeter too. Another product, I also tried was the MotherLove More Milk Plus drops. This product, however, did not work well for me. I rather drink a tea and mix it with lemon, than taking the drops. It tasted too bitter and hard to swallow. I will write in another post my reviews for these products. 

More tips I would recommend for mother’s who pump exclusively are to:
-Keep napkins, tissues ,and wipes in your pump bag (you never know if you’ll have accidental spills)
-Buy an extra set of pump parts for your pump and keep it in your bag (extra valves, membranes, double A batteries, milk storage bags), just in case you forget! Also, so you don’t have to keep washing and sterilizing constantly.
-Add a couple small snacks and a water bottle in your bag.
-Invest in a hands-free pump bra or make your own DIY pump bra! Having the pump bra helped me multi-task, I could pump and get ready for work at the same time!  Here’s a link to another Mommy blogger (Julie) who shows how you can make your own pump bra for free! 
Click here
-If hubby or your other half is not there to hold or watch baby while you’re pumping, try putting baby in a swing or a bouncer or sometimes on the floor to play. This is where the hands-free pump bra comes in handy. Just in case baby starts moving all over the place you can still pick baby up! 
-Make sure you have the right flange size. Most pumps come with the “medium” size flange, and most of the time it’s not the correct size for most mothers. Contact your lactation consultant to be measured. This way, it will be more comfortable for you while you pump, as well as, you’ll get a better output. 

Last and final tip I would give all you mamas is just to never give up. Everyday is a different day, and milk output will not always be the same. Just don’t forget your goal in keep your baby healthy and giving baby the best that you can offer. I’ve gotten to points where I felt so discouraged and miserable because I felt as if I was not producing enough for my son, but I kept persisting and just kept on going until he reached a year old! I didn’t think I could do it at first, but if I can do it, you can too! 

Hope these tips help! Please message me if you have any questions!

from Breast is Best Facebook Page

12 thoughts on “Tips for Exclusively Pumping Moms

  1. Cathy Pelly says:

    Omg I so wish that I exclusively pumped! Although I found I did some of the same things for EBF too. Thank you for posting at Pinterest Party! Can't wait to see what else you have to post!-BrandNewMom!


  2. Mel - Melly Moments says:

    These are all right on point!!! One of my biggest mistakes was when my son started sleeping longer throughout the night….I took too much advantage of that heavenly sleep and didn't always wake up to pump. This really messed with my milk supply. Lesson definitely learned for this time around. Thanks for sharing your experiences and tips….they will certainly come in handy 🙂


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