What to Expect When Pumping

when pumping angle

Just published in the Journal of Human Lactation is a study reporting 62% of moms had problems with their breast pumps and another 14.6% actually incurred an injury from using their pump. Wow! That means almost as many women have pumping problems as have breastfeeding problems…an interesting perspective considering some women even quit breastfeeding and exclusively pump, expecting it will be easier.

This study got me to thinking about women’s expectations for pumping. (There are many things about this study that are problematic: the data is 8 years old, definitions of what types of pumps moms used are very hazy, etc.) But it made me realize there is need for a “What to Expect…” handbook for moms.
In upcoming issues of this newsletter and on our blog, I am going to offer some “chapters” for my What to Expect When Pumping manual. Here are my ideas so far…please feel free to add to my list!
• Do I need a breast pump?
• When should I start using a breast pump?
• More suction means more milk, right?
• What does my pump tell me about my baby?
• Is there really a difference between breast pumps?
• Is it easier to pump or to breastfeed?
• How long does a breast pump last?
• What should pumping feel like?
• How much milk can I expect to express with my pump?
• What if I don’t have enough milk?
• How do I need to care for my pump?
• Should I buy a pump, rent a pump or use the pump my insurance company gave me?
Pumping is a reality for a huge number of breastfeeding moms in this country. Let’s see if we can make it easier.

Sue Petracek, IBCLC

R. Shepherd. Two-thirds of new mothers have trouble breastfeeding. Medical News Today. June 2012
Y. Qi, Y. Zhang, S. Fein, C. Wang, N. Loyo-Berríos. Maternal and Breast Pump Factors Associated with Breast Pump Problems and Injuries J Hum Lact February 2014 30: 62-72

4 Replies to “What to Expect When Pumping”

  1. Pumping for a preemie or Nicu baby issues: Questions re: increased hygiene, human milk fortifier, transitioning from pumping to nursing when baby is ready, tips for pumping on the go (car adapter, etc), exclusive pumping tips (establishing and maintaining a supply on pumping alone), let people know re the “exclusive pumping mamas” Facebook group and others (“preemie moms breast feeding” and “back to breast”).

    I see I’ve given you tips for a whole other article! There’s a lot.

    1. Sue Petracek says: Reply

      Thanks, Amy!

  2. This is fantastic and I am looking forward to future articles. One item I would like to see covered is, when pumping why does my supply decrease during the day and how do I increase it? I am finding myself not being able to pump enough milk in the afternoon to adequately feed my daughter and end up getting up in the middle of the night to pump to ensure I have enough for her during the day.

    1. Sue Petracek says: Reply

      Thanks, Tamera. I will add that to the list…I’ll do it soon! Sue

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