Friday, July 20, 2012

Exclusive Pumping

Exclusively pumping, also known as "Eping" is a way for mom to continue to give baby breast milk when breastfeeding has failed or is delayed. Most moms resort to formula feeding when these breastfeeding problems arise, not knowing that it is possible to feed baby their precious breast milk via bottle, and have enough milk for baby.

To all those moms out there that have faced the odds and still decided to continue breast pumping exclusively, congratulations! You are a dedicated mom, and should feel very proud of yourself.

Reasons why some moms resort to exclusively pumping breast milk

- Babies are premature and are kept in ICU

- Cleft palate babies

- Moms with extreme problems concerning concave or flat nipples

- Babies with suck problems

- And many other problems are connected to pumping exclusively

Exclusive breast pumping tips:

- Massage in-between and during pump sessions (more on breast massage here)

- Get yourself (or rent) an electric double action breast pump… this is needed for the best results (hospital grade pumps are built to establish milk supply) Electric breast pumps cannot be compared to hand pumps, but can be replaced by a manual breast pump once your milk supply is established. Example of double electric breast pump like Medela In Style, Avent ISIS iQ Duo.

- The good quality of breast pump has pressure of 100-250 pounds and ability to cycle 40-60 times perminutes. Many inexpensive pump are weak and ineffective. Expect to pay RM 300 or more for good electric pump.

- Make sure your breasts are lubricated before pumping them. Lansinoh , olive oil and even your own breast milk works well for this. This will help for sore nipples. (don’t use your own milk if you suspect a thrush infection – it could make it worse)

- Pump at least eight times a day. Most experts suggest 8-12 times per 24 hours. Give your body two hours in-between pumping sessions as your body needs a chance to produce the milk.Never go longer than 3 hours.

- Have a comfortable place to pump with a pumping station already set up for you.

- Make sure that you have good back support while pumping

- Extra flanges and bottles can help so that you don’t need to wash them immediately after pumping

- Don’t start any hormonal contraception pills until your milk supply is established, and then ask for the progestin-only pill (also called the mini-pill).

- Make things more comfortable and easy for yourself by using a hands free pumping system so that you can read a book or do something relaxing while you pump as it can become tedious.

- Follow safe breast milk storage guidelines. (read my entry regarding Breastmilk Storage Guideline)

- Try pumping at least once during the night

- A woman 's breast will release 75% of stored milk in the 1st let down. So ready to Pump for 20 minutes with each pumping session. Most agree its best to pump at least 15 minutes, and to avoid going much longer than 20 minutes. Experts also encourage pumping about five minutes past when the milk stops flowing, often by doing so mom will elicit another letdown, and at the very least will maintain production as well as encouraging increase in supply.

- Do not allow milk retain in breast for more than 6hrs at any time, because retained milk will signal the cells to slow down production.

- Maintain supply about 15-20% above baby's needs. So you can store ( freeze ) a little each day. If baby take all the pumping assume baby has growth spurt. So pump every 1.5- 2 hours for few days to increase supply.

- Speed on the pump should be set for comfort, as mom produces more milk when relaxed
Most experienced moms do not set the pump speed on high, but rather keep it on lower setting for comfort.

- Put your pumping equipment in the refrigerator while not in use during the day, this way you only need to wash it once at night.Put the equipment in a ziplock bag (or not, this is optional), and put them in the refrigerator. The idea is that since breast milk is good in the fridge for 5-8 days, any residue left on the horns won't matter.

- It is okay if you need to supplement with formula, just keep to your pumping schedule and your milk supply with increase. Any amount of breast milk will benefit baby.

The benefits of pumping and feeding expressed milk

- It provides a way for mom to still feed her baby precious breast milk if breastfeeding doesn’t work out

- The health benefits of breast milk

- Other family members get to take advantage of the bonding that is created by feeding baby

What are the challenges of exclusively pumping?

- Pumping exclusively takes a lot of time and effort

- Moms sometimes struggle with maintaining or increasing milk supply when pumping breastmilk.

What about bonding between mom and baby?

- Sometimes bonding can improve between a mom and baby that have been having difficulty breastfeeding when they switch to bottle feeding the breast milk.

- Make sure that your baby is held for feedings as this will also ensure better bonding between mom and baby, and any other family member get to benefit from this as well

How much expressed breast milk should I feed baby per bottle?

The average baby will drink about 25-30oz per day.

Estimate the number of times that baby nurses per day (24 hours).Then divide 25 oz by the number of nursings.

This gives you a "ballpark" figure for the amount of expressed milk your exclusively breastfed baby will need at one feeding.

Example: If baby usually nurses around 8 times per day, you can guess that baby might need around 3 ounces per feeding every 3 hours when mom is away. (25/8=3.1).

NOTE: Current breastfeeding research does not indicate that breastmilk intake changes with baby's age or weight between one and six months."

Increasing your breast milk supply:

- Empty your breasts with every pumping session, this will signal your body to produce more milk

- Drink lots of fluids especially water, this will hydrate your body to increase milk production

- Eat a well-balanced diet (breastfeeding diet guidelines)

- Eat REAL oatmeal, not the instant. You can eat the quick oats (the ones that cook in 1 minute) or the old fashioned oats (that cook in 5 minutes). You can also make cookies that have oatmeal in them and get oatmeal that way (I prefer this way! Ha!). The way they process the instant oatmeal, it doesn't give you the same results. No one is sure how the oatmeal works but it does!

- Get plenty of rest-Don't stress too much. This all depends on how you personally handle stress. I tend to be a thinker, so I think things out a lot. It has to be some MAJOR stressful situation for it to hurt my supply.

- Herbs that can increase supply that are safe for baby like Mothers milk tea, Fenugreek, Alfalfa and Milk thistle.

Things that may hinder Milk supply:

- Excessive caffeine may cause problems (like keeping the baby wired!). I avoid caffeine completely (except chocolate) but even if you have 1 drink a day, it won't hurt. Just don't go over board. (More on caffeine here.)

- Medications that have Sudafed in them will dry you up! Avoid them! It says they are safe to take while nursing but that just means it won't hurt the baby. It will however, dry you up! Be careful!

- Regular birth control pills will impact milk supply, and some women even have a problem with the mini pill. Breastfeeding (and yes that's what you are doing even if it's not from "the tap") is a good deterrent for ovulation but not 100% so be careful! However, you may find you get hot flashes and things like that. It is normal because your body is acting like it's going through menopause. This suppresses ovulation and allows you to make milk. I thought I was going crazy until I learned this! Ha! Sometimes if you get your period back while pumping, it can decrease your supply. This can be fixed by taking a calcium/magnesium supplement. (I don't have mine back yet and loving it!).

Does exclusively pumping breast milk get easier?

- After about three months of exclusive breast pumping, your milk supply should be fully established which means that you can actually pump fewer times a day.

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