You may want to pump breastmilk for your baby for various reasons: wanting your partner to feel more included in feedings or take over for a night (or more!), going out without baby (date night anyone?) or going back to work.
Some mothers may even want to exclusively pump.
The first step in pumping breastmilk is choosing the right pump for your needs. There are SO many choices out there. I would recommend doing some research and choosing one that will fit your lifestyle. Do you want to be able to double pump? Pump on the go? To increase milk supply?
Did you know that insurance companies may reimburse you for a breast pump? Under the Affordable Care Act breastfeeding supplies should be 100% covered. But this is where it get’s tricky, breastmilk supplies are specified, so some insurance companies will only cover certain breast pumps, or only rentals, or manual pumps!
To ensure that your insurance company will cover the cost of a breast pump make sure to call them before purchasing and ask them what they cover. Here is a list of Questions to ask your insurance provider and other great information.
Now that you’ve selected a breast pump you need to make sure you are using the correct flanges for your breast anatomy. Too big and you won’t be draining your breasts, which could lead to clogged ducts and decreased milk supply. Too small and you’ll rub your nipples raw causing a lot of pain (ouch!).
Remember, when you pump, your nipples will be a different size than when breastfeeding (usually bigger). Choose the size depending on your nipple size after pumping. Your areola should not be pulled into the flange and your nipples should not rub against the sides.
Choose a pump setting that is the highest you can tolerate without being painful. Some pumps even have different settings for let down! Pumping sessions for each side should last or about 15-20mins. If you are away from your baby while pumping, looking at pictures and videos can help with let down. There are also a bunch of great pumping bras out there for hands free pumping or pumping one side while breastfeeding the other!