There are lots of options available to you when you are feeding your new baby, and working out which one is right for you comes down to your personal choice and preference. Breastmilk is ideal for your baby as it gives them natural protection and increased immunity from the moment that they are born. If you are looking at pumping exclusively to give your baby breastmilk, you may have questions.
Getting all the information that you need at the start of the process will allow you to make the right choice with confidence, so read on for some helpful advice on breastmilk and using a pump to ensure you maintain an adequate supply for your baby.
Why Breastmilk is Best for Your Baby
Breastmilk is sometimes referred to as liquid gold, and this is because it contains properties and antibodies that are hugely beneficial for a new baby. Breastmilk is best for your baby—especially in those early weeks and months—as it contains the right amount of sugar, fat, and protein that they need to grow.
Key Moments and Establishing a Supply
When your baby arrives, your supply may take a little time to come through. In those first few days, your body will produce colostrum, and this is enough for your baby’s tiny stomach. However, as they grow, they need more and this is why it is important to establish a supply.
When you are looking to breast pump exclusively, those first few weeks are crucial for your supply. Pumping at least every three hours both day and night will help you get the quantities your baby needs. It will also hopefully help you produce enough for you to store (to use as and when needed).
Getting in Touch with a Lactation Consultant
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Even though you might know you want to pump exclusively, it is always beneficial to reach out to a lactation consultant. These are useful, especially if you are a first-time mom. Lactation consultants can guide you through how to use a pump, and they can tell you how to get the most out of your milk. This extra help and support will ensure that your baby has the best start in life.
Looking at Breast pumps
Breast pumps can be positive for the health of the mother and the baby, as they allow the baby to take all the key nutrients and nutrition the mother is providing them. Breast pumps allow breast milk to be given if there are health concerns, or restrictions that stop the mother from breastfeeding.
Pumps such as the Elvie Stride feature new technology that allows them to be used easily and discreetly, and they can be used while a new mom is getting used to caring for her new bundle of joy. Wireless pumps mean that you have flexibility when and where to pump. This is key, especially if you are looking to exclusively pump and feed.
Choosing a Pump
When you are choosing a pump it is important to look at reviews. See what other moms have had to say about a particular brand or model; see if a pump will meet your expectations.
There can be an overwhelming choice of models and brands on offer, and it is important that you choose one that is trusted and reputable. When you are choosing a pump think about cleaning, and think about use, and how you want to pump. For example, do you want to always pump hands-free? Is it easy to clean after use? How noisy is it when in use? Some pumps can be very noisy and loud, and this can disturb your baby.
Why You Should Use a Breast Pump?
Breastfeeding can be hard both mentally and physically as everything your baby needs is coming from you. It is very demanding on your body, especially in those first few weeks, and anything that you can do to ease the strain and pressure is important.
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When you use a breast pump (ideally a double one) you take control of your milk supply, and you relieve some of the stress and anxiety you may be feeling surrounding breastfeeding. You also give other people the opportunity to help you feed your baby.
Another reason for using a breast pump is if you are looking at going back to work (but still want your baby to have breast milk). When you pump, express, and then bottle feed your baby they get used to taking milk from a bottle, which is good for you as it will free you up.
How Long Should You Pump For?
If you are wanting to build up a constant supply of breast milk, you will find that regular pumping is essential. As previously mentioned, ideally, you will be pumping every three hours for at least 15 minutes (if not longer).
Regular pumping will help to stimulate your milk production and helps keep a healthy supply flowing. If you are not pumping for long enough your supply will change. It will most likely decrease as your breasts don’t think as much milk is needed. If this happens you will find that your baby will be unsettled and hungry (as you are not giving them enough milk).
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Once the milk supply has decreased it can be hard to build up again, so make a conscious effort to pump enough. Set an alarm on your phone that reminds you when you need to pump—and for how long.
Storing Breast Milk
Sometimes when you are pumping, you may find that you have an excess supply of breast milk. To stop this from going to waste you can look at storing your breast milk. It can be stored in the fridge for up to five days, or for several months in the freezer.
When you are storing breast milk for use at a later date, you must always ensure health and safety is a top priority. Milk storage bags and containers can easily become cross-contaminated. Therefore, make sure all bags are new, and straight out of the packaging when being used for the first time.