Your Breast Pumping Groove

Why, What & How?

Since the very inception of this blog we’ve been encouraging all our follower moms to “Find your breast pumping groove.” We’ve packaged up the occasional reminder or inspiration to provide that extra nudge of love and support you might need to keep up the hard work of nursing your precious little one with the help of your breast pump.

We are moms. We get it.

You don’t need judgment, you don’t need to be bossed around, but you do need to know you’re not alone and that it’s okay to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and sometimes downright frustrated with this whole thing.

We are moms. We remember.

It’s true what they say about forgetting the tough times. Mostly. You will look back on this time and remember the delicious smell of your cuddly darling feeding in your arms. You will remember the irresistible coo of your sweet baby’s satisfaction with a full tummy. You will remember the middle of the night moments when your eyes locked together in the forever-bond of mother and child. That stuff will prevail.

But, when someone asks you how you did it—how you gracefully navigated that first year of motherhood and nursing—the difficulty will peek out from beneath the many cozy layers of all that good stuff. So many sleepless nights. Nipples sore beyond all imagination. Breasts large, in-charge and oh-so engorged. The weight of knowing you are solely responsible for this tiny little being’s nourishment. These realities you will remember, but only distantly, and you will beam a great big smile and say with every earned bit of pride, “I found my breast pumping groove.”

You will find it.

But if you’re still in the throes of it, let us offer some humble groove guidance.

What do we even mean when we say, “Find your breast pumping groove?”

We intend a double – almost paradoxical – meaning.

First, it’s about getting into a fixed routine. When you do something over and over again you don’t expend conscious thought and therefore, the act becomes more efficient. In addition, when something becomes routine it no longer causes stress or feeds the anxiety beast. As you incorporate breast pumping into your daily routine the mental and physical strain will all but disappear.

We have also learned how stress negatively impacts milk production. When you’re programmed to fret less you will naturally produce more milk. Many of our find-your-groove-nuggets are intended to help you establish a breast pumping routine.

Secondly, we encourage you to find your own groove— meaning embrace and enjoy your unique experience of nursing, breastfeeding and breast pumping.

This might seem contrary to establishing a no-thought-required routine, and perhaps it is. But it’s like Ferris Buehler famously remarked in the classic 80’s movie:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

Once breast pumping becomes almost automatic, we hope to inspire you to stop and take it all in. Be present and experience the time joyfully. Listen to music. Groove to the beat of your own drum.

That’s what we mean when we say, “Find your breast pumping groove” and here’s our best general advice on how to do so (much more verbose than our Facebook posts will allow).

Be patient and kind (to YOURSELF). As moms, perhaps we are instinctively patient and kind with those around us—our sometimes-difficult partners, our well-meaning friends, our crying babies. But it’s absolutely crucial to first direct this quiet positivity to one’s self. Put on the oxygen mask first, remember?

If you’re breast pumping one of these is probably true:

  • You are a working mother
  • You are a single mother
  • You have had physical difficulty nursing (most of us have!)
  • Your baby has physical difficulties nursing (most of them do!) or
  • You need some flexibility and sanity

The fact that you’re utilizing a breast pump as a tool means you’re trying everything to be the best mom you can be, in your own way, in your personal circumstances.

Go you! Celebrate that!

Your body is miraculous, but it’s also complicated, so don’t expect too much of yourself too soon. Patient kindness is key.

Be prepared. Get familiar with your pump before you need it. When you order your no-cost breast pump through Byram Healthcare, it’s delivered directly to your doorstep. When it arrives, open it! Become familiar with the various parts by handling them and reading the directions.

Watch a free instructional video. Most manufacturers offer videos on their websites or you can find reputable ones via www.youtube.com. Turn the pump on and get accustomed to the sound of the motor. Close your eyes and settle into the rhythm, thinking of your precious baby soon to arrive (or the precious bundle already home and sleeping soundly). Most of us waited to open the box until the moment we needed it and trust us—that’s not the ideal introduction to pumps and the various parts that come with it.

Set up a pumping station so you’re prepared. Choose a room that has a relaxing energy. This is different for everyone. If being in front of the TV is relaxing for you, great. If sitting in a quiet room is bliss, go for it. All that matters is that the energy of the room is relaxing for you.

Choose a comfortable chair with an ottoman or footrest, ideally. Set a small table next to your chair. On/under/near this table establish a place to store your pump or a place to rest your breast pump once you’ve returned with it from work. If you are bringing your pump to and from work, set it in its “home” as soon as you return so that you’re never bothered to fetch it at pumping time. Keep spare breast pump parts, a hand towel, and sanitizing wipes nearby.

Openly seek and receive help. Breast pumping can feel very lonely. And as such—after many middle of the night feeding sessions followed by another pumping session (plus clean up), it’s likely you’ll begin to feel lonely. The best way to arm yourself against these feelings of sadness is to hear from other moms.

Spend time with your friends and fellow mothers. Take your baby for a walk to a coffee shop or a park and if you spy another mama, strike up a conversation with a simple, “How are you doing?” Odds are she’ll welcome the company and conversation as much as you. Even if she doesn’t have advice to share, she will be able to share her experiences and that alone can be reassuring and rejuvenating. If there’s one thing we know it’s this: you are not alone, Mama.

Seek counsel when necessary. If you need advice and wisdom, there are endless sources to consult. Ask your friends. Ask your mother, sister, cousin, or third-cousin-twice-removed (if you happen to know who or what that even is!). Speak with your pediatrician. Consult a lactation consultant. Find a trusted forum online.

Be present and positive. So much of your breast-pumping success has to do with your state of mind. We know this is hard work! But do everything you can to stay positive and you will see positive results with your milk output, as well as your baby’s growth.

How do you do this? Find ways to relax while you pump:

  • Listen to calming music
  • Download a meditation app
  • Journal about your baby’s development: the new coos, the new movements, the new facial expressions.
  • Use this time to read previous entries.
  • Journal also about your progress: the increase in milk output, a newfound remedy for sore nipples.
  • Celebrate your journey and each small success.

Stick to a schedule. Breast pumping, like nursing—like many things in life—goes smoother when you’re in a routine. Occasionally we post suggestions on how to schedule your breast pumping. However, you are your own best expert. You know your body and you’re getting to know your baby. Keep a record of your daily pumping schedule and use this to guide a developing schedule. (Of course, there’s an app for that!)

Nourish Yourself. This is most important. You can’t be a fabulous source of nutrition and sustenance to your precious baby if you’re not nourishing yourself. Do your best to eat a balanced diet—focusing on lactogenic foods. (Consult one of the many recipes we have offered here on this blog if you need some inspiration.)

Stay hydrated. You need at least 64 ounces of water daily, give or take a few ounces based on the specifics of your body’s biology. Resist the temptation to consume dehydrating foods and beverages (basically anything high in salt or caffeine). Sleep whenever you can. Ask a friend, sister, mother, or cousin (don’t forget that infamous third-cousin-twice-removed) to visit and babysit for a few hours while you nap. Go to bed every night as early as humanly possible. Nourish, nourish, nourish yourself, Mama.

Lastly:

Pamper yourself. We’re not talking diapers here. We mean to go beyond the basic nourishment when you can. Schedule one indulgence for yourself every week (or two weeks) if possible so you have something to look forward to and reward yourself with. It might be a mani/pedi, a massage, a haircut, a date night with your partner—whatever excites you, do it. You deserve it. On a regular basis. It will keep you sane, centered, and in your groove!

Continue to catch our “Find your breast-pumping groove” posts on our Facebook page. Be sure to “like” us if you haven’t already. And start a no-cost order of your own breastpump from our store. Nothing is one-size fits all and your experience may be just what another Mama needs!

 

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