Disclosure :: this post is sponsored by Children’s Hospital.
Tips to Increase Milk Supply for Pumping Moms While Your Baby is in the Hospital
August is National Breastfeeding month, and Children’s Hospital New Orleans’ Certified Lactation Consultant, Corrie Moran is giving tips on how to increase milk supply if you’re a pumping mom!
No one is ever prepared for the roller coaster ride that having a hospitalized infant will take you on. We all dream of having our sweet little miracle in our arms in our hospital room after we deliver and sharing our joy with all our family and friends. When things don’t go as expected and our little ones get transferred to the intensive care unit, we often feel helpless and overwhelmed with emotions. Some questions that come to mind are “Will I ever be able to breastfeed like I had hoped to?” or “What I can do to help my baby?” I was a mom that asked myself these questions. As a former newborn nursery nurse and now a lactation consultant, I had two premature babies, one born at 29 weeks and one at 33 weeks. I found that exclusively pumping while traveling back and forth to the hospital was difficult at times, but I powered through and was able to provide the best start for my boys! The support from my colleagues meant the world to me. Even though I was a lactation consultant and a nurse, I was still a new mom with a fragile baby that needed support and encouragement.
Pumping to provide breastmilk for your baby is one of the most important things you can do to contribute to his or her care. Breastmilk is the super food that only you can make.
It has everything in it that your baby needs along with many other benefits including:
- Decreased risk of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)
- Promotion of intestinal gut closure earlier
- Optimal feeding tolerance
- Optimal neurodevelopment
- Fewer hospital readmissions
- Decreased incidence of chronic lung disease
- Increased maternal involvement
- Decreased rates of late-onset sepsis
- Decreased rates of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
- Enhanced antioxidant defenses
- Perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat
- Contains antibodies to fight off bacteria and viruses
- Lowers risk of asthma and allergies
- Fewer ear infections, respiratory illness, and diarrhea
- Lowers the risk of SIDS
- Lowers risk of diabetes and obesity
- Lowers the risk of childhood cancers
With all of these benefits, it is especially important to pump and provide breastmilk for your hospitalized baby. Pumping exclusively can be challenging at times and is a huge commitment but also a commitment worth making for your baby. Many moms, including myself, fight to increase milk supply at times.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind while exclusively pumping that can help optimize your milk supply:
- Pump frequently at least 8-10 times per 24 hour period (8 or more in 24!).
- Pump until your breasts are empty at least 20-30 minutes or 2 minutes after the last drop falls into the bottle, whichever comes first (empty breasts make more milk).
- Use a hospital grade pump if one is available to you or use a double electric pump.
- Make sure you are using the proper size flange.
- Message and compress your breasts while pumping.
- Use a warm compress while pumping.
- Pump at your baby’s bedside while visiting.
- Hold your baby skin to skin.
- Relax (look at a picture of your baby and hold and smell his or her blanket while separated).
- Eat a well-balanced diet and drink to thirst.
- Keep a pumping log.
- Eat a bowl of cooked oatmeal daily.
- Power Pump (Pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, pump for 10 minutes – do this 1-2 times daily for a few days).
- Seek assistance from a lactation consultant.
Some activities can actually decrease your pump supply. To optimize your breastmilk while pumping, avoid:
- Birth control pills and injections
- Decongestants, antihistamines
- Severe weight loss diets
- Excessive amounts of mints, parsley, and sage
Lastly, never forget that you are doing a magnificent job and providing your baby with a great start! Mom, you are truly a superhero and a sidekick to your baby!
Corrie Moran, RN, BSN, IBCLC
Corrie Moran is a registered nurse and certified lactation consultant at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. A native New Orleanian and graduate of Our Lady of Holy Cross School of Nursing, Corrie began her career as a registered nurse in the well-baby nurseries at Baptist and Touro. She became a certified lactation consultant in 2008 and has used her skills to serve in that capacity for the last ten years. As a mother to two preemies, Corrie’s passion is giving back to the most critical babies and their families and offering her expertise and support during their time at Children’s.