Congratulations on deciding to be an exclusive pumper! When I started out, I had no idea what I was doing and pieced together information from internet searches. I’ve put together everything I learned all in one place here to help you get started.
How do I start?
How you get started depends on how old your baby is. If your baby is a newborn, the number of times per day and how long you will need to pump each time is different that if you have an older baby. Read this if you have a newborn (0-3 months old), and this if your baby is older.
Once you’ve expressed your milk, here are guidelines for storing and using it.
What do I need?
The one thing you definitely need is a breast pump – preferably a double electric one (and hopefully covered by insurance)! I wrote about my opinions of some of the different Medela models here. (I used four different kinds over my breastfeeding career, by coincidence all Medela.) I also did an experiment with a Medela Freestyle and a Pump in Style here to see which got me more milk.
I’m not pumping enough milk. What should I do?
Fear not! There are lots of things that you can do to get your milk supply up. I wrote up a long post (and a more detailed ebook) about what you can do (what you can eat, herbs you can take, etc.) to increase your supply and another one about how to get the most milk out of each session (compressions, etc.). Finally, I tried an experiment to see if eating oatmeal would increase my milk supply (it did).
If you’re experiencing supply drops when you get your period, here are some things that you can do to try to mitigate the issue.
If you need to supplement with formula, here is how to do it if you are exclusively pumping.
This is really hard. How can I make my life easier?
Here are some tips on setting up a “pumping station” so that everything you need is in one place.
If you’re thinking about dropping a pumping session to make things easier, I put together a flowchart to help you decide whether or not to go for it.
I have too much milk or need to stop pumping.
If you’re weaning from the pump, here is information on transitioning your baby off of breast milk.
I want to lose weight. What do I need to know?
I wrote a four part series about losing weight while breastfeeding, including how to find out how many calories you burn while breastfeeding, challenges that breastfeeding moms face while losing, exercising while breastfeeding, and my experience losing weight on Weight Watchers.
I’m having nipple pain or breast pain. What is going on and how can I make it stop?
Having breast pain as an exclusive pumper is the worst since you can’t take a break from pumping – you have to keep doing it every couple of hours regardless. Here are some tips for: clogged ducts, mastitis, galactoceles, and general nipple pain.
What else should I know?
You should definitely know how to (safely) pump and drive and pump and fly. Tracking your output and milk stash with an app can be really helpful – here are my review of the apps currently out there. Here is how to rotate your freezer stash.
Finally, I get a lot of emails from exclusive pumpers, and I put together a FAQ of the questions I get most often.
Good luck! Feel free to email me if you have any questions! Also, on the sidebar you can subscribe to the blog over email or follow on facebook if you’d like updates as they’re posted.