5 Mistakes Combining Breastfeeding and Pumping
Five biggest mistakes combining breastfeeding and pumping? Here at New Little Life, we help moms work through all kinds of these challenges. This post will cover the 5 of the most common mistakes we see moms make when their combining breastfeeding and pumping.
Want to avoid these mistakes? Join the Pumping for Working Moms Program! We specialize in combining breastfeeding and pumping, especially for working moms. Contact Allison here for more information on this program.
(This post was originally a video. Check it out, here!)
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Assuming You Have Low Milk Supply
First, a common mistake moms make is assuming they have low milk supply because they have low pumping output.
Low milk supply is when you’re not producing enough milk for your baby. You actually don’t have enough milk there and you have to supplement and do other things to bring that up.
Low pumping output is when you’re not pumping enough milk for your baby. This might mean you have low milk supply, but more often it means that you are not able to pump out the milk that is already there. This often happens to moms combining breastfeeding and pumping since your milk supply is controlled by two different things, a baby and a pump.
If baby’s thriving at the breast but you’re not pumping enough while you’re separated from them, that is a pumping problem.
Though, it can be really hard to tell the difference between low supply and low output. So, watch this video for more clarity.
Inappropriate Pumping Schedule
Second, a common mistake is an inappropriate pumping schedule. When moms go back to work, they come up with that dynamite schedule. However, what we see happening when you’re combining breastfeeding pumping is that moms may be pumping too often.
If you’re feeding at the breasts and pumping on top of that, why? What are your goals here? Why are you doing that? Sometimes that is part of the way that you get to your goals if you have low milk supply or you’re working on building up some milk before you go back to work.
Although, too often we see moms adding pumping to breastfeeding and creating exhaustion and a lot of unnecessary work for themselves. This might be for a fear of low milk supply but these moms don’t actually need to be pumping.
Not Pumping Often Enough
On the other hand, you could also be pumping too little. If you’re skipping pumping sessions at work or you are doing more pumping than breastfeeding and you’re not hitting all of those milk expressions in a day that you need to, this is also not appropriate. You will not continue to make a good milk supply for your baby if you aren’t pumping often enough.
Depending on what your overall goals are, you really need to find the schedule that’s most appropriate for you. Then, you do need to stick to it if you want the results that you’re looking for.
(Sometimes, this means not pumping at all. Check out this video if you think that you’re pumping TOO much)
Third, a common mistake moms make is pumping incorrectly. There’s a lot that goes into pumping. It’s not just plug and play. You can’t just like put on a pump, push go and then it just works all the time. In fact, that doesn’t happen very often.
The biggest mistake, aside from the pump, moms make is definitely flange sizing. This can be a hard thing to tackle but it makes a huge difference.
So, you really have to learn how to use the pump and all of those accessories and parts correctly. Then, you also have to get the right sizing on the breast. Next, find the right time to pump for you.
Breastfeeding is different than pumping. You have two different skill sets here. So, you’re really learning a whole new thing with pumping.
Fourth, a common mistake moms make is having unrealistic expectations.
Now, depending on what you’re doing, your milk supply and your milk output will likely look different than someone else’s. An oversupply and a deep freezer full of milk is just not realistic for everybody. Honestly, most people with an oversupply will probably tell you that it kind of sucks sometimes. So, that’s not necessarily the goal either.
An oversupply along with a freezer full of milk might be the thing that you need to calm your anxiety, no judgment here. But, setting up realistic expectations is really important.
This particularly applies to mothers who are combining breastfeeding and pumping because you have two different things managing your milk supply. Your milk supply will likely look like someone who is a just enough-er.
Honestly, “just enough-er” isn’t our favorite term. It is a clear term but it has a negative connotation. Being a just enough-er is awesome! You’re breastfeeding your baby and you’re pumping out the milk that is there. Your baby has created the perfect supply for you. So, really if you’re pumping and you have just enough milk, you’re actually doing a perfect job. We wish that term just enough-er had a little bit more good vibes to it because being a just enough-er is great!
Honestly, this is what we expect with someone who’s combining these two things. Watch this video on milk supply and what you might expect as a just enough-er, here.
Losing Sight of Goals
Fifth, losing side of your goals is another common mistake moms make who are trying to combine breastfeeding and pumping. Don’t forget why you’re pumping, okay? If you don’t know why you’re pumping, either you shouldn’t be pumping, or you need some help to meet your goals.
If you’re a working mom and heading back soon, Allison can help you make this breastfeeding and pumping transition better. She created a step-by-step guide for you on making pumping fast and efficient while you’re away from your baby. If you’re tired of watching random Youtube videos and trying to piece together everything by yourself, or if you’re seeing lactation consultants with no experience in pumping, you should join the Pumping for Working Moms Program. That’s exactly what we’re here for. So, let’s chat! Click here to book a consultation call.
To be successful with combining breastfeeding and pumping, the biggest thing is to remember your goals and why you are doing this. This can help you correct all of these mistakes covered in this post. If you remember your goals, along with realistic expectations, you’ll be motivated to learn to pump correctly, use the right schedule, and be reassured about your milk supply. There’s a lot of things that go into making all of this work! It’s really a balancing act and we love helping moms juggle that all.
Focus on What You Are Doing
One last thought, focus on the things that you are doing instead of the things that you are not doing. It can be really overwhelming, especially in early motherhood, to see all of these things that you’re not doing or that someone else is doing better than you and just kind of focusing on those. But, if you’re feeding your baby, you are doing a lot, regardless of how you’re doing that!
Motherhood is no joke and it is not for the weak and so stop comparing yourself to other people! Stop thinking, “man, I really should be pumping even though breastfeeding is going fine because I have a pump and I should use it…” or “I’m gonna go back to work. I just had my baby so I gotta start pumping right now…” These are not necessary!
Again, if you want some help let us know! Hopefully, this helped give you some common mistakes that we see in mothers who are combining these two things and maybe help you avoid that!