Being an exclusive pumper means many things.
The biggest thing it means is that you are a hard working, loving, strong mama. Breastfeeding is so hard, and having to pump non-stop, 24/7 is just as hard if even more so.
There are lots of reasons why moms choose to exclusively pump breast milk instead of breastfeed.
Some of those reasons can be due to baby’s inability to latch, baby being in the NICU, having flat nipples (yo, breast shields are the best), being uncomfortable breastfeeding, and just plain wanting to pump instead of breastfeeding.
Exclusively pumping does give you a few great perks, you can pump and have your partner do a feeding while you catch a few zzzz’s. You can go out with a manual pump and have a small stash saved at home. Hello moms night out.
However if you find yourself loosing your supply as an exclusive pumper which isn’t a perk; here are a few hacks to help you boost that supply and keep pumping. You got this mama!
Exclusively Pumping Tips to Boost Milk Supply
1. Pump Constantly & on Schedule
If you are serious about increasing your breast milk supply you are going to want to pump like you’ve never pumped before.
At first you may be pumping every two hours to be on baby’s schedule. Which is great, then as baby get’s a little older you may find yourself skipping a few sessions and just pumping longer to make up for it.
Don’t do it mama!
If you want to feed baby breast milk and the only way to do that is by exclusively pumping don’t miss a session.
Take a manual pump with you if you go out, block out time in your day to make sure you pump, tell your boss you have to pump every few hours (if your employer has more than 50 people, you are entitled to Pumping Breaks : its a federal law).
The more you pump, the more your body will think baby is sucking on your breast and start to produce breast milk.
If you find that even with constant pumping you are still not increasing your supply, always check your breast pump and have it clean and free of dried breast milk. A clean, properly working breast pump can go a long way.
2. Increase Your Water Intake
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, to make a liquid you need to consume a liquid. You want to make sure you stay hydrated at all times.
Did you know most people walk around dehydrated and don’t even know it? Don’t be one of those people.
Keep a large 32 oz water bottle with you and fill it 3-4 times a day.
Avoid drinking soda, high concentrations of caffeine, or energy drinks. As tired as you maybe an energy drink or soda can make you hold on to less water.
So opt for infused water if you need a little taste of something other than plain water.
3. Use Breastfeeding Stimulants
If pumping on a constant basis and increasing your water intake isn’t helping try lactation cookies or lactation smoothies.
Brewers yeast, oatmeal, Fenugreek, Organic Mother’s Milk tea are all great natural resources that aid in increasing breast milk.
By baking cookies, having smoothies, drinking teas that have some of these ingredients your bodies response will be to increase your breast milk supply and then you can go ahead and pump about 30 minutes after taking any of the above mentioned products.
If you don’t feel like adding bake lactation cookies to your to-do list you can always go to Target and buy already made Lactation Cookies.
While you are at the store check out the other mentioned products and start increasing your milk supply!
4. Apply Nipple Cream
This tip may seem a little odd, but it a hack I had to learn the hard way as an exclusive pumper. If you find that your breast pump is causing your nipples to feel dry, cracked or sore.
Applying nipple cream will help. You will want to apply it before using your breast pump and if you can try to use a natural or baby safe nipple cream. The nipple cream will also act like a saliva and make your body think that baby’s moist mouth is on your breast.
We want our body to think that the pump is the baby. This way when you start pumping your body says ‘Hey baby is hungry it is time to produce and empty out those breast’.
5. Skin to Skin Isn’t Just for After Birth
Before you begin to pump (especially in those first few months), try doing some skin to skin with your baby.
This will prompt your baby and body that feeding will soon follow. This also helps establish a bond that many exclusively pumping moms always feel they lack.
Skin to skin is amazing for so may reasons not just creating trust and bonds with mommy. By having baby lay on you before you start to pump we increase our bodies natural flow to feel baby and connect that we are going to start nursing soon.
The more you can do to ‘trick’ your mind and body, the more your breast milk will flow out freely.
6. Let Your Breast Breathe
When you finish pumping you want to make sure that your breast do not get pushed back into your bra or that they get a fresh nipple pad placed on them. Let them sit out for a few minutes and just hang out. Pun intended.
I found the times I would produce more milk were when I would let my breast air dry before my new pumping session.
Giving your breast those few extra minutes of air really does help.
It also decreases your chances for thrush. Thrush is the worst, first hand experience right here! Thrush is a fungal infection that can be caused by nipple damage. This is why tip #4 is such a crucial hack for exclusively pumping moms.
Air drying is a great way to also boost your self esteem because the longer you’re letting the girls sit out the more you can start to feel how amazing you are!
If you ain’t feeling it just remember your body is making liquid gold and keeping a tiny human alive. Good Job!
7. Start a Breastfeeding ‘Diet’
If you’ve seen any of my other posts you know I hate the word diet. But this breastfeeding diet is sort of the opposite of what you think of when it comes to diets.
The breastfeeding diet actually makes you increase your food intake. By increasing the food you eat; think healthy, high water content food, easy on baby’s tummy type food.
By eating food that is good for you, making smarter choices when it comes to snacks, and increasing the amount of good food you are getting your milk supply will follow.
Always check with your doctor if increasing your food or lowering your calories is right for you.
I know these 7 Tips will help boost your milk supply in no time. Being an exclusive pumper is a hard task but with the right tools you will succeed and be great at it.