Pumping your colostrum, and milk early after your baby is born can make a real difference for you, and your baby. I always recommend pumping only after a feeding, and never before. It is critically important that your baby receive all the milk that he or she needs to full and satiated. For the duration of this article, any referencing to pumping breast milk is intended to be done only after baby has been fed and fully satiated. Make sure that your pump is clean and sanitary before each use, and remember that freezing milk will help it to last longer.
When your baby is first born you most likely will produce colostrum, a sticky yellowish fluid, known by the well deserved nick name ” liquid gold” . Colostrum has many incredible health properties, it is super rich in nutrition, and antibodies, it has antibiotic properties which fight of illness. Try to pump some of the colostrum and freeze it, preferably in a deep freezer. Do not be discouraged if it is only a small amount, you would be amazed at how powerful even a teaspoon of colostrum can be for your baby. Later on if your baby is ill, particularly if your baby contracted a serious illness such as pertussis, or R.S.V. the frozen colostrum can be thawed and administered to help baby to heal.
Continue pumping as often as possible, preferably after every other feeding, and store up the milk. Somewhere around 6 weeks your baby will go through a feeding spurt in which he or she will be incredibly hungry, and want to nurse constantly, even frantically. This feeding spurt is a two fold event. The first thing it does is help to increase your milk supply to meet baby’s growing need. As baby gets older, he or she will not nurse as frequently but will drink more milk at each feeding. Be sure to put baby to the breast often and frequently during this time. If you get tired, reassure yourself that this is completely normal, and helpful to you both. The second part of this spurt is an amazing growth spurt. Baby will likely grow a shoe size, hat size and clothing size when she is completely done with this spurt. I recommend after putting baby to the breast, and feeding completely on both sides, offering her or him a little of that stored pumped milk to soothe and satiate. Continue putting baby to the breast though, so that your milk supply can increase as needed, and only after that, at least 15 minutes per breast, should we give pumped milk. This is the way our bodies were designed to meet baby’s needs.
Pumping often and early especially during feeding spurts can help increase milk supply and ensure that you have plenty of milk to meet your baby’s demand. If pumping is frustrating for you don’t give up! With one of my children I could pump 4 ounces very easily in just minutes, and with another I did not even let down for at least 20 minutes. It is different every time. Remember to relax, drink plenty of nice cold water and juice, and relax. Think about your beautiful baby, and how sweet baby smells. Try putting one of baby’s blankets on your shoulder, and rubbing some of baby’s lotion on your hands, these smells can help. Think of flowing waters and relax. These things can all aid in helping your milk to let down.
I recommend that you continue to pump and store milk throughout your nursing experience. Breast milk is incredibly beneficial to your baby, continuing right through toddlerhood. Pumping should not be painful, and if it is please stop immediately. If it is mechanical, check you pump for missing parts, such as a missing horn insert you may need to contact the manufacturer.. If it is radiating from the breast, contact your midwife, or lactation consultant.