September 18, 2020 4 min read
Many expectant and new mothers find that breastfeeding and breast pumping can be overwhelming. We know this first hand as our team of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC’s) at The Pump Station & Nurtury helps hundreds of new moms every month with these concerns. Probably the most common question we get from moms is, “How do I choose a pump and when should I start pumping?” With over 33 years of supporting breastfeeding and breast pumping moms, we’ve seen and heard a lot, and we’re happy to share some insight.
What are the different types of pumps, and which is “best”?
When is the best time to start pumping?
Before we start talking about when to start pumping, let’s talk about the how it all works. The most important part of establishing a strong milk supply is frequent stimulation of the breast combined with effective milk removal. It becomes self-reinforcing: the more frequently we nurse or pump (within reason), the better the milk supply. Hormones also play a huge role in all of this. Two of the most important hormones, and there a lot of them, are prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin controls how much breast milk is produced. Oxytocin causes the milk to be ejected into the milk ducts and out to the baby’s mouth in the nipple area, commonly known as the “milk let down.” This hormone is also associated with bonding and “feeling good,” and both of these hormones are released into the blood stream during nursing or pumping.
When a mother should start pumping depends on many factors, including the status of the milk supply, how breastfeeding is going for both mom and baby, the age of the infant and on the goals each mother has set for herself. It becomes easier as the mother gets used to it, and plenty of help is available for mothers who are struggling.
Different stages to consider pumping:
We know that choosing a pump and pumping can be challenging. We encourage you to reach out to pumping friends, attend a breastfeeding support group and a breastfeeding class before birth, book a prenatal visit with an IBCLC, or give us a call.