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Easy, Healthy Snacks For Breastfeeding Moms

One common problem for breastfeeding moms is that they are constantly hungry, but don’t have the time and energy to prepare healthy food. It is so easy to reach for the junk food when your hands are full and your stomach is empty! I reached out to lactation consultant Andrea Tran to help us find some ideas for easy, healthy snacks for breastfeeding Moms.

Easy, healthy snacks for breastfeeding moms

Make your snacks count!

Snacking is essential for the breastfeeding mama. 500 calories. That’s how many calories a breastfeeding mom is advised to eat in addition to her pre-pregnancy dietary needs.

Yay! Grab me a bag of Oreos! Or at least 9-10 Oreos. They’ll have the calories, but good nutritional value? Not so much. You want to make those calories count.

New moms are busy. They are crazy busy. The truth is that eating healthy is not difficult. You just need to know what are good choices. Then it becomes easy.

It doesn’t feel easy when we are standing in the grocery aisle staring at sugar-laden granola and protein bars. The snack chip aisle is even worse. Just because something is shaped like a vegetable doesn’t mean it really is that vegetable. And who needs all that salt and fat?

Challenges of healthy snacking:

  • Get 500 extra calories
  • The calories should have good nutritional value.
  • The food needs to be quick and easy to prepare.
  • They need to taste good! Let’s face it, something that tastes like sawdust is not going to be eaten more than once.
  • The snacks should be portable, so if you are running errands you can throw them in your purse or an insulated lunch bag.
  • Bonus points if they are lactogogues (good for your milk supply). 

The good news is that there are lots of things to choose from. Here is a list of 10 things that you can snack on throughout the day, that work for the times when you are on the go. They will also give you energy and calories to keep making lots of milk!

10 Healthy Snacks For Breastfeeding Moms

breastfeeding mom eating yogurt

CHEESE

String cheese is easy to eat and easy to carry around. You can eat it while you drive or push a stroller. They come in a variety of flavors.

YOGURT

Greek yogurt that is mixed with frozen cherries that have thawed. Pick full fat yogurt for a good calorie count. The thawed cherries will have a delicious juice that gives the yogurt a nice flavor without added sugar. To save on time thawing the cherries you can pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Let’s be real, when mama wants to eat, she wants to eat now!

TRAIL MIX

Nuts and/or dried fruit. Pick your favorites. If you are organized you can make individual bags of a mix. If you’re not organized you can just eat from the bag.

EGGS

Hard boiled eggs. You can make a dozen all at once and keep them in the refrigerator. If a dozen seems like too many, do half a dozen. Hard boiled eggs are super simple and quick in an Instant Pot.

JERKY

Organic turkey jerky provides you with protein and that is an instant energy booster. Gotta love a snack that requires no prep.

OATMEAL

If you have time, oatmeal muffins. Oatmeal is good for your milk supply. Go easy on the sugar. Adding dried cranberries will help make them sweeter. You can also add fresh blueberries. Make a double batch and freeze some. That will allow you to grab one or two as you are ready to walk out the door and they will be thawed by the time you are ready to eat them.

BERRIES

Is there any fruit yummier or healthier than blueberries?

Speaking of blueberries, make a big batch of blueberry pancakes for breakfast and eat the extras for snacks. You can use protein pancake mix. I have an easy protein pancake recipe mix that uses protein powder instead of pancake mix.

    • ½ mashed banana
    • 1 egg
    • 1 T almond milk
    • ½ cup blueberries
    • 1 t cinnamon
    • 1 scoop protein powder
    • Or, in place of the blueberries you can use chocolate protein powder for a yummy, healthy, chocolatey snack.

FRUIT

Fruit is the perfect grab and go snack. If you are not on the go you can dip apple slices into nut butter for some extra nutritional value. It tastes good too.

NUT BUTTER

Nut butter is a great snack. You can just get a scoop with a big ole tablespoon or you can buy individual serving packets to throw into your purse. 

YOUR FAVORITE LACTATION RECIPES

Energy bites can easy to throw together and will provide you with snacks for a few days. Pinterest has hundreds of recipes. Look for something that has oatmeal, brewers yeast and flaxseed for milk production boosting properties. Some recipes have chocolate chips, which of course can add sugar. Choose dark chocolate chips for their antioxidant properties.

Got breastfeeding questions? The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class by Milkology has answers. This course is extremely thorough, and comes with some amazing bonuses like the Common Breastfeeding Issues Troubleshooting Guide, and Tips From Pumping Moms in the Trenches. For $19, you will become that breastfeeding expert that all your friends call when they have problems.

breastfeeding success

When you are growing another human being you want to make sure you are using good ingredients. That is what your diet is. That doesn’t mean those ingredients shouldn’t taste good. These snack ideas give you a lot of variety, nutrition and taste. That is the perfect breastfeeding diet trifecta!

What are your favorite healthy snacks for breastfeeding moms?

I would love to hear from you in the comments!

About the guest poster

Andrea Tran has been a lactation consultant (IBCLC) for 25 years.  You can find her on Breastfeeding Confidential, where she provides education and support to breastfeeding moms that is inclusive, accepting and non-judgemental.

The Pink Drink: Does It Really Boost Breastmilk Supply?

Have you heard about Instagram-worthy Starbucks sensation, the Pink Drink? Breastfeeding moms swear it boosts milk supply. Let’s see if it really does, and I’ll show you how to make it yourself at home!

The Pink Drink

If you’re reading this in preparation for breastfeeding, make sure you prepare yourself well without breaking the bank. This post guides you through the essentials you’ll need: Everything I needed to breastfeed my baby for a year.

And if you’re finding that breastfeeding makes you HANGRY, I have some suggestions for easy, healthy snacks for breastfeeding moms!

How to order

You won’t see the Pink Drink on the menu at your local Starbucks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get it. It’s a very well-known drink from Starbucks Secret Menu. Not all baristas are familiar with every item on the secret menu, but it’s highly likely they will know this one.

Just in case, you can order it by it’s official name (recipe?) which is the Strawberry Acai Refresher made with coconut milk instead of water. That’s a bit of a mouthful, which is probably why people just call it the Pink Drink.

What does it taste like?

Some people describe it as a strawberry milkshake, but it is definitely a thinner consistency like milk or juice, not thick like a shake. It’s also slightly less sweet than a milkshake and more tangy. When I first tasted it I thought there might be pomegranate or passion fruit in there, but I was actually tasting the acai flavor.

Does it boost milk supply?

increase breastmilk supply

First of all, if you’re at all dehydrated, your milk supply will suffer. So drinking ANY liquids, including a large delicious one like the Pink Drink, will help your supply if that’s the case.

But specifically to this drink- it’s the coconut milk that gives breastmilk supply a boost.

Coconut is said to be lactogenic, meaning it helps with milk production. It contains healthy fats necessary for breastmilk and as well as lauric acid and capric acid. These antimicrobial fatty acids are what give breastmilk its virus-fighting power.

So what do the actual nursing moms say? Two women from my breastfeeding support group weighed in.

Karla says, “I’m OBSESSED with the pink drink!!! It upped my supply same day!”

Misty, mom of a 5 week old, says, “I pumped each side only 5 minutes and got 3 ounces after drinking one.”

The evidence might be anecdotal, but if you’re struggling with supply it’s worth a try and certainly won’t do any harm.

(Check out this post for more about milk supply and how to tell if baby is getting enough!)

How to make the Pink Drink at home

How to make the pink drink at home

Two simple ingredients will get you a drink that is very similar to the Pink Drink: coconut milk (any brand, I used Silk) and Ocean Spray Cran-Strawberry.

Comparing the two in a taste test, they do taste very similar. The homemade version was slightly less tangy, most likely because there is no acai flavor. I was also able to taste the coconut more in the homemade version, so if you don’t like the taste of coconut you might not love it.

You can see in the picture that I used unsweetened coconut milk. I think in the future I’d try making it with regular sweetened or even vanilla coconut milk. But the unsweetened still tasted good and I’m sure had less sugar and fewer calories than the Starbucks original. So if you’re concerned about losing the baby weight, the homemade version is a better option.

homemade version of the Pink Drink

Not only does this drink taste very similar, it will also save you money. I happen to love numbers, so let’s figure out exactly how much more affordable it is.

The grande Pink Drink I ordered cost me $4.75.  According to Google, a Starbucks Grande holds 16 ounces. That comes out to about 30 cents per ounce.

The two 64 ounce bottles of coconut milk and cran-strawberry juice mixed together will get you 128 ounces of the (homemade) pink drink. Together they cost me $6.35 at the grocery store. 128 ounces divided by $6.35 comes out to only 5 cents per ounce! 

So the Starbucks version is costing you six times more.

What are your thoughts on the Pink Drink?

Have you noticed a benefit if you’re a breastfeeding mom? Or is it all just baseless hype? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

The Only Breastfeeding Essentials I Needed To Nurse My Baby For A Year

Wondering what the true breastfeeding essentials are in the endless sea of new baby products?

Truly, not too many things are needed for breastfeeding. I breastfed my baby for a year (twice!) without amassing a large amount of stuff

I wouldn’t consider myself a complete minimalist, but I do have frugal tendencies. During my pregnancies I was never in a rush to run out and by all the baby gear there is. And isn’t one of the perks of breastfeeding that it saves you money you’d be spending on formula?

On the other hand, I knew I had to be as comfortable as possible to help me get to my goal of breastfeeding for a year. So I did spend some money to set myself up for success with some convenient breastfeeding essentials.

Breastfeeding Essentials

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click one of the product links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Breastfeeding Essentials

A BREASTFEEDING COURSE

Knowledge and breasts are the only things you actually need in order to breastfeed. Arm yourself with everything you need to know about breastfeeding by taking a local class, or an online breastfeeding course if that’s more convenient for you. 

Remember, the greatest force working against breastfeeding moms is their own doubt. Know what to expect and dive into breastfeeding with confidence.

BOPPY

Some people prefer My Brest Friend, but I stuck with the Boppy Pillow for my babies. This C-shape pillow wraps around your waist. It helps get the baby up to the proper height to nurse. After trying to breastfeed without it in the beginning, I quickly realized how hard it is on your back! When you’re already dealing with all the discomfort of postpartum, a sore back is the last thing you need.

BREAST PUMP

If you’re planning to go back to work after maternity leave, a great pump is crucial. Even if you’re not, you will want a pump if you plan to be away from your baby for any stretch of time, ever.

You should be able to get your pump covered by insurance, and then you’ll just need to buy the accessories like extra parts and milk storage bags. I would recommend either the Medela Pump in Style or the Spectra Baby USA Hospital Strength Pump.

Then just get a convenient cooler bag with some ice packs to store the milk until you can put it in the freezer at home.

HANDS-FREE PUMPING BRA

It’s not exactly essential, but a hands-free pumping bra does make pumping less of a chore. Without it, you have to either pump one side at a time, or sit there with both hands at your breasts unable to do anything. With your hands free you can do work, read a magazine, scroll through Instagram, whatever helps you pass the time.

BOTTLES

I got lucky and my babies took to the Medela bottles without a problem. Some breastfed babies are choosy, so you may need to experiment with different types of bottles and get one that closely resembles the breast. I’d also recommend not waiting too long to introduce the bottle- I offered one as soon as my supply was well-established, around 3 weeks.

NURSING TOPS AND NURSING BRAS

It is so much easier to pop a boob out anytime, anywhere when you’re dressed right for it. But I also didn’t want to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe just for breastfeeding.

If you have several nursing tanks, you can wear one under just about any shirt and breastfeed easily. Just pull the top shirt up, and unclip the top of the tank (aka the two shirt method).

Just about any button-front shirt or low V-neck can also work for breastfeeding.

As for bras, you might need to try a few different kinds and see what you like. I found these seamless nursing bras to be the most comfortable. They have a bit of stretch to them which is nice as breast size fluctuates all day when you’re nursing.

SLEEP BRA

When I was pregnant, my mom friends told me I should get some sleep bras and I completely scoffed at the idea. Isn’t taking off your bra at the end of the day one of the best feelings ever?

Of course, they were right. There really is no preparing you for how huge your breasts will get once your milk comes in. It is actually comical, if you’re able to maintain a sense of humor at such a crazy time. Luckily my sister ran over with some comfy sleep bras so I could have a little support and stay in place during the night.

(And if you leak, you’ll need the sleep bra to keep nursing pads in place too.)

Other breastfeeding items moms love

I didn’t use these myself, but I see them come up again and again as items new nursing moms love.

HAAKAA

Everyone in the breastfeeding world seems to be going crazy over this new product the Haakaa

It capitalizes on the fact that when you feed your baby, both sides experience a letdown. The side that the baby isn’t eating from typically just leaks a bit.

If you have the Haakaa attached (it basically suctions to your breast), it will catch that letdown and suction out a bit more. It doesn’t have the force of an actual breast pump, but you will collect a little each feeding and it adds up fast.

NIPPLE SHIELD

Not everyone needs to use a nipple shield, but if your baby has a bad latch this little device can save your nursing relationship. It basically puts your nipple into something like a bottle nipple, which is firmer and easier for baby to latch onto. I

And if a bad latch left you with cracked and bleeding nipples, it will be less painful to breastfeed with one too.

NURSING PADS

I only used these for the first week or so until my supply adjusted, but some people continue to leak and need to use them all the way until weaning. Reusable nursing pads will save you some money in the long run if that’s the case. If you can’t be bothered to wash them in the laundry, disposable nursing pads work well too.

You really don’t need much to comfortably breastfeed for as long as you want!

Prepare yourself with the essential items for breastfeeding and a good dose of patience, and you and your baby will get this nursing thing down pat.

11 Things No One Told Me About Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a very primal thing. It’s something our bodies were made to do, but we forget that even though walking is second nature, we still had to learn how to do it!

Before having a baby, you might think you’ll deliver him, he’ll latch right on, and the feeding shall commence… simple as that!

More often though, there’s a steep learning curve, some pain, and maybe a few tears along the way. Don’t let this scare you! Knowing is half the battle. (And it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience is different, so yours may be different from mine, from your sister’s, and from your friend’s.)

Things no one told me about breastfeeding

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click one of the product links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

As with most things, you’ll feel more confident if you’re prepared. Here are 11 things no one told me about breastfeeding:

Yes, breastfeeding hurts.

But the pain won’t last forever! Often it’s said that if it hurts, you’re not doing it right. Statements like these make new moms feel defeated.

Even if your baby is properly latched, breastfeeding is going to hurt in the beginning (think two to three weeks). This is a very sensitive part of the body, after all!

If breastfeeding is unbearably painful, however, don’t try to go it alone. Contact a lactation consultant to help diagnose and correct the problem. 

You might feel a rush of emotions (good or bad) at the start of each session.

The hormone responsible for breast milk let down sends a surge of chemicals to the brain, almost as if you’ve taken drugs. Not every woman feels it. Some feel like they’re falling in love, while others experience really negative feelings.

If you are overcome with negative emotions or visions, make sure your support system knows and talk with your doctor.

The more you prepare ahead of time, the greater your chance of success.

Did you know that the more a pregnant woman is educated about breastfeeding, the more positive her outcome will be?

According to the World Health Organization:

Systematic review of the available evidence suggests that breastfeeding education is effective in increasing both the rate of breastfeeding initiation and breastfeeding duration.

A comprehensive breastfeeding course, whether in person or online, will help prepare you for potential pitfalls in the breastfeeding relationship, help you troubleshoot problems, and boost your confidence in feeding your child.

The best course I’ve found online is the Ultimate Breastfeeding Class from Milkology, which is extremely thorough and comes with some amazing bonuses like the Common Breastfeeding Issues Troubleshooting Guide, and Tips From Pumping Moms in the Trenches.

I love the video format- it feels like you’re learning from a guru in person, while you’re at home and comfy in your PJs. At $19 you can’t beat the price point for what you get.

breastfeeding success

I heard there is a new second class all about how to pump so you can go back to work. This one I haven’t taken myself, but if it’s anything like the first class I’m confident it will cover all the bases with specific plans of action. (If you try it, please come back and let me know how you like it!)

Even if you plan to breastfeed exclusively, you might need to pump.

There are many reasons a new mom might use a pump to express her milk instead of nursing the baby, but it’s rarely discussed before the baby comes. It’s as if pumping is a taboo topic, only brought up if a mom plans to go back to work.

In reality, almost every nursing mother will want to pump now and then for a variety of reasons. You might want Dad to be able to feed the baby, or be able to go out on a date night and have another caregiver feed the baby. Or even just to have some in the freezer in case of emergency.

If you don’t already have a pump, check out this post about how to get one for free.

Pumping is still breastfeeding!

When you feed a baby breast milk out of a bottle, you are still breastfeeding. You and your baby are both still reaping the many benefits of breastfeeding, whether the milk is delivered straight from the tap or via a pump and bottle.

While pumping comes with its own set of challenges, some mothers find it to be easier, or more convenient, or less painful than nursing.

Stock up on comfortable nursing bras.

about breastfeeding

Your breasts will likely feel heavy and sore at first. They might feel better if they’re supported in stretchy nursing bras or nursing tank tops round the clock.

This also protects the nipples, which might be raw and coated in lanolin or some other cream. These nursing tanks are not only more comfortable, but make breastfeeding really easy. Slip nursing pads in the cups to keep from getting milk (or lanolin, which stains fabric, by the way) on your shirts.

Although I never slept in a bra in my life, when I started nursing I found it much more comfortable to wear a sleep bra. It keeps everything in place while you sleep and stops you from leaking on the sheets!

Supplementing with formula is a thing.

Moms who choose to breastfeed tend to strike the word formula from their vocabularies. In reality, many moms give their babies both breast milk and formula. Your lactation consultant or doctor can help you decide whether it’s the right choice for your baby, but many new moms don’t even know it’s an option.

If your baby isn’t getting enough breast milk, don’t take it as a failure on your part. Any amount of breast milk you can provide gives the baby valuable antibodies. Just remember: fed is best!

Stress will seriously affect your milk supply.

The first year of a baby’s life can be hard for many reasons. Financial stress, career stress, and marital stress only make things more chaotic than they already re. It’s important to make time for self-care, if for no other reason than to keep your supply up.

This post has lots of tips on how to keep your supply up (whether breastfeeding or exclusively pumping).

You will feel hungry and thirsty all the time.

Ok, so maybe someone did tell me this ahead of time. But I didn’t quite get it until I actually lived through the feeling of constant, insatiable hunger that only nursing moms know!

You may have heard about how breastfeeding is a great way to lose the baby weight, and for many people it is. But you should be aware of the possibility that breastfeeding will cause you to eat constantly and can actually keep some pounds on until you eventually wean.

Your baby will want to nurse more when she is sick.

Just expect this. On the bright side, your breasts will produce milk that provides the right antibodies to help your baby fight off the cold or virus it has, based on biological information in the saliva left behind by the baby. Cool, huh?

You can actually catch the milk that leaks during let down.

It used to be that when you start feeding the baby on one side, milk would leak out of the other side during the let down. You would need a pad or towel to stop the milk from dripping and getting on your clothes.

Finally some genius got smart and invented a way to catch this milk so it could be stored and used later, rather than wasted.

The Haakaa Breast Pump works on suction so there are no cords or anything to mess with, and it collects the milk the flows out of the non-nursing breast while you feed. It might not collect many ounces per feeding, but when used consistently the small amount that you get at each feeding can definitely add up!

If you only want to use it occasionally, using it during the first feeding of the morning should give the best results. This is when your breast are most full, so the non-feeding side will have plenty to give.

Breastfeeding is cheaper than using formula, but it isn’t free.

There are plenty of really good reasons to choose breastfeeding over formula feeding, if that option is available to you, but don’t go into it thinking you won’t have to shell out a penny.

When you consider the costs of a pump, a lactation consultant, nursing bras, nipple creams, nursing pads, and pillows, you could end up spending $1,000 in the first year. Of course many of these aren’t likely to be repeat expenses for each baby you have.

Formula feeding can cost up to $1,500 during the baby’s first year. Add bottles, sterilizers, bottle brushes, etc. and the cost can really climb. (You might need some of those items even if you go the breast milk route.)

Basically, if you make the decision to breastfeed for financial reasons, you might end up unpleasantly surprised. 

What did you feel unprepared for when you started breastfeeding? 

Let me know in the comments!

For all things pregnancy, baby, and parenting, be sure to follow me on Pinterest!

How To Exclusively Pump and Keep Up Your Supply

“How To Exclusively Pump and Keep Up Your Supply” is a guest post written by Tiffany Thomas. Many thanks to her for sharing her wealth of knowledge on this topic!

How to exclusively pump

This post contains affiliate links, meaning a small commission may be earned at no extra cost to you.

Having a new baby should be a wonderful, joyous time for mothers.  While it is not perfect (how can sleepless nights be anything but?), it can be one of the most rewarding things you do.

Nothing can ruin those feelings more than the stress of having an inadequate breastmilk supply, especially when you have to pump exclusively.

For both of my children (and for future little ones), I have only been able to pump.  Tongue ties combined with flat nipples, mixed with severe health issues on my part have created a perfect storm of not being able to nurse.

While there is nothing wrong with exclusively pumping at all¸ it definitely has its challenges.  The biggest stress of pumping is ensuring you have an adequate milk supply for your baby.

It can be so disheartening to pump for literally hours every single day and only come away with 3-4 oz – total.  

I’ve put together some tips that can help boost your milk supply.  As you read these, however, please, please, please keep in mind that every woman’s body is different.

No matter how much milk you provide, or how much you need to supplement with formula, what matters most is that your baby is shown your love and affection.  Don’t let the stress of “not enough milk” interfere with that.

If you know you’re going to be pumping (not necessarily exclusively but while you’re at work) I HIGHLY recommend taking Milkology’s Ultimate Back To Work Pumping ClassIt will walk you through step by step how to build a freezer stash, how to talk to your employer, helping your baby go back and forth between bottle and breast, and much more!

How to Exclusively Pump Part 1: What you need

Get a good double breast pump

How to exclusively pump

 

The most important aspect of pumping is to have a good quality breast pump!  There are dozens of posts and reviews out there, so I won’t go into details in this post.  I give a few general guidelines, though:

  • See if your health insurance will provide a breast pump.
  • Try to get a hospital-grade breast pump.  My insurance company provided a rental (since these cost over $1,000) after my OB wrote a prescription.  Some hospitals will also rent them
  • While it is tempting to buy a used one, they are not able to be sterilized since the air circulates through the motor (unless it is hospital-grade)
  • Get a double breast pump.  Not only does this save time, you also don’t lose the milk from the other side when a let-down occurs.

Have the right supplies

There are a few must-haves (for me, at least) when I am pumping:

  • Hands Free Pumping Bra  The person who introduced this allows me to have both hands free while I pump.  I can then multi-task (like work or even play with my children) while pumping.
  • Something that smells/sounds/looks like your baby.  When you can see, smell, or hear your baby while nursing, it encourages more frequent, quicker let-downs.
  • Pumpin’ Pal Flanges  These are amazing.  Because they curve, you can lean back a little when you pump.  It helps my relax and not feel like my back is going to break!
  • Something to do.  Whether it’s work, reading a book, or even just browsing Facebook, you need to be able to do something other than sit and think about how much you could be doing if you weren’t pumping!
  • A comfortable place to sit.  Nothing will make you want to rush pumping more than feeling uncomfortable.

All of these things will help increase your supply because you will be less likely to be stressed and rush your pumping session.  If you are on edge or uptight, then you won’t be able to have as effective let-downs.

How To Exclusively Pump Part 2: Keeping Good Supply

How to exclusively pump

Stay hydrated

If you are not producing enough breast milk, one of the first things you should look at is how much you are drinking.  Water is preferable; you should avoid sodas, sugary drinks, and even sugary fruit juices.  Gatorade might be a bit better than water.

If you’re like me, and plain water makes you feel a bit sick, add some lemons or other flavoring methods.  I will water-down juice or powdered drink mixes, usually ¼ mix and ¾ water.  One thing that helps me is mix up an entire pitcher each morning and then leave it on the counter to drink throughout the day.

The average person should drink 64 oz per day, but that varies for each person. When breastfeeding, you should add an additional 32 oz to what you already drink (so around 100 oz per day).

Eat well

Did you know that you need more calories producing breast milk than you did being pregnant?  The average pregnant mother only needs an extra 300 calories in the second trimester and 400-500 calories in the third trimester.  However, when you are breastfeeding, you need at least an extra 500 calories per day.  (There are about 20-25 calories in each oz of breastmilk.)

So many mothers try to go on a diet to lose the extra baby weight, but what it really does is take away the calories needed to make healthy breastmilk for your baby.  You may also want to take a multivitamin, or continue taking your prenatal vitamin, so your breastmilk is full of nutrients.

Set a schedule that fits your body

Everyone’s bodies are different, so it makes sense that your body will produce and empty milk differently.  A baby will nurse until they are full, no matter how long it takes for the breast to empty.

For me, it takes forever to empty.  I do best pumping 5 times per day for an hour at a time. 

Yes, you read that right – an hour at a time.

It takes forever, I know, but I get 75% of my milk during that last 10 minutes of the hour.  I try to set a schedule that works, and my body gets used to producing the milk at that time.  In fact, if I am running late, I will still have let-downs during my scheduled pumping time, even if I am not actually pumping!

(Although I will point out that for the first month or so of my baby’s life, I just pump every time she eats, which is usually 10-12 times per day, for about 30 minutes each time.  Then I adjust to the 5 times per day.)

Try power-pumping

How to exclusively pump

When babies go through growth-spurts, they tend to nurse almost constantly, for short periods of time, for a couple of days.  The mother’s body will increase the amount of milk because of the high demand.

In order to mimic this in your own body, you can do “power-pumping” for a few days.  This will take more time, so it might be good to do this over a weekend (instead of trying to pump during breaks at work).

The way power-pumping works is that for each session you pump, you pump for 10 minutes, take a 10  minute break, pump another 10 minutes, take another 10 minute break, and pump for a final 10 minutes.  Repeat this 6-7 times  each day for 2-3 days.

This should increase your overall supply.  Nursing mothers will have full, uncomfortable breasts for a few days after a growth spurt.  Their body will then naturally lower the milk supply to match the baby.  However, since you pump, you should be able to maintain this increase!  When you need more milk, just power-pump again!

I tried to power-pump at least once a month when I had babies.

How to Exclusively Pump Part 3: Mental and Emotional Support

How to exclusively pump

Find a support system

Lastly, what you really need to have a good supply is a good support system.  If you are stressed about pumping and want to throw in the towel, having support is vital.

One of the best places I found support was through Facebook groups.  There are several different Facebook groups that are devoted to women who are exclusively pumping.  It’s a great place to ask questions, get advice, and interact with other women who are in the same place you are.  Odds are, they’ll also be up at 2 am pumping when you are, so you can have someone to talk to!

Keeping things in perspective

This may be a difficult journey, and exclusively pumping may not be what you had planned.  It definitely wasn’t how I envisioned I would feed my baby.  But I ended up loving it so much more than nursing, and it was the best fit for my family.

Just remember, every ounce of that liquid gold is worth it.

If you have to supplement with formula, you are not a failure.

Even if you do every one of these tips and only get 5 oz per day, you are not a failure.

Each ounce of breastmilk that comes from your body goes towards helping your child grow and builds their immune system.  But more important, fed is best.  If it just isn’t working out at all and is damaging how you feel about your worth as a mother, then let it go.  Purchase some formula, and enjoy snuggling your baby.

In the end, those snuggles and love will help your child more than anything.

Do you have any questions about exclusively pumping?

Leave me your question in the comments and I will answer!

And if you’re just starting out on your breastfeeding journey, don’t miss the 5 must-dos for breastfeeding success.

ABOUT THE GUEST POSTER

Tiffany Thomas is a former math teacher and SAHM who loves finding good deals!  She and her husband, who is an engineer, work together on The Crazy Shopping Cart.  They enjoy spending time with their family, geeking out over sci-fi together, and saving money.

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