How to Combine Breastfeeding and Pumping?

Women who breastfeed benefit from knowing how to use a breast pump. There are a variety of reasons why a breast pump can be useful, even if you plan to breastfeed exclusively. Combining breastfeeding and pumping can help to boost milk supply, and it can help you build up a backup supply of pumped breast milk in your freezer.

Key takeaways:
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    There are some benefits to combining breastfeeding and pumping.
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    Following certain steps can help make the process easier.
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    Even if you plan to only feed your baby breastmilk, having pumped breast milk on hand can be practical.
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    There aren’t many risks to combining breastfeeding and pumping, but it can cause oversupply and engorgement.

What are the benefits of combining breastfeeding and pumping?

Combining breastfeeding and pumping can offer some benefits. Overall, it is beneficial for a breastfeeding mother to be somewhat familiar with using a breast pump, even if you plan to breastfeed exclusively.

May boost the milk supply. If you have concerns about your breast milk supply, pumping is an effective way to boost your milk supply.

Can provide you with a backup milk supply. Pumping, combined with breastfeeding, allows you to have an extra supply of breast milk on hand if you need to give your baby a bottle.

Useful for working moms. If you plan to work, pumping is incredibly important so you can continue breastfeeding. Many working moms make the mistake of believing that they have to formula feed to return to work, but this isn’t the case.

Can allow for supplemental feedings without using formula. Sometimes, babies need some extra feedings if they aren’t gaining enough weight. Having pumped breast milk on hand allows you to give your baby additional milk without having to resort to using formula.

Allows your baby to get used to a bottle. Some babies aren’t interested in bottles or never learn how to take one when exclusively breastfed. Even if you plan to breastfeed the majority of the time, pumping and giving your baby the occasional bottle allows them to learn how to drink from a bottle.

Tips on how to combine breastfeeding and pumping

Combining breastfeeding and pumping isn’t too difficult as long as you know what to do. Here are a few steps to make it a simple process.

First, breastfeed, then pump

You should feed your baby before pumping. That way, you’ll know that your baby has gotten enough milk before emptying your breasts more.

Have a breastfeeding and pumping schedule

Having somewhat of a breastfeeding schedule can help make the process easier. It may take some time to establish a breastfeeding schedule with your baby since newborns breastfeed more frequently. If you always pump after each feeding, you’ll at least know when to expect each pumping session which can make your life easier.

Acquiring all the necessary supplies

Make sure you have all of the supplies you need, including a working breast pump, breast milk storage containers, freezer bags for breast milk, and a pumping bra. A high-quality breast pump is important because the amount of suction will influence its effectiveness. Your health insurance may also cover the cost of a breast pump, so this may be worth looking into.

Storage containers and freezer bags are essential for storing milk properly. Having a pumping bra is also helpful because it will allow you to pump hands-free.

Don’t start too early

If your baby is gaining weight properly and it is not medically necessary for you to pump immediately after birth, it is recommended that you wait until around six weeks at least to begin pumping. This is because your milk supply and feeding schedule are still getting established, and starting to pump too early can cause an oversupply of milk which can cause discomfort for you and your baby.

Make sure to bottle feed properly

When you do give your baby a bottle, it is important to feed them in a comfortable position and use the proper technique. Position them in an upright position and use a paced feeding method to feed them slowly and give them period breaks so that they don’t drink the whole bottle quickly. This can help to avoid stomach upset, and it can help avoid them having a preference for the bottle.

Try to avoid formula when you can

In some circumstances, formula is required to help babies gain weight. If you can avoid it, though, keeping your baby on breast milk exclusively over formula can help to maintain breastfeeding for longer. The formula makes babies fuller and will cause them to breastfeed less, affecting the breast milk supply.

Keep a positive mindset

Breastfeeding and pumping can be incredibly challenging for new mothers. It requires a lot of your time and energy to breastfeed your baby round the clock and pump on top of that. Try your best to stay in a positive head space and remember that this is a temporary stage in your life. You’re working hard to keep your baby fed and healthy, and for that, we commend you!

Stay hydrated and fed

Remember to take care of yourself too. Breastfeeding and pumping will take a lot out of you, so it is important to stay hydrated and fed. You could set up a designated area for pumping and breastfeeding where you keep snacks and a large water bottle to make it easier.

What are the risks of breastfeeding and pumping?

The main risk associated with combining breastfeeding and pumping could lead to oversupply. Because your milk supply functions on a supply and demand system, the more you feed your baby and pump, the more milk your body will produce. For this reason, if you pump a lot, your body may produce more milk than necessary for your baby. This could cause your breasts to become engorged and could cause a forceful let down which would be uncomfortable for your baby.