Because of issues beyond my control, I was only able to BF exclusively for 2 weeks. These are some of the things I found out during those 2 weeks that helped me out... and a few things that I would have done differently that may have let me go the full year that I'd wanted to BF.
- Make SURE that if you have someone helping you pump from a hospital pump that they aren't just a nurse, but an actual LC. Even go to a LC before you deliver and ask them to measure your nipples and look at the flanges (cups) on your breast pump to make sure you have the right size you need. I needed to start pumping the first morning after birth, so very late in the night, one of the NICU nurses (granted she was a newbie) set us up with a hospital pump. She gave me Small Size flanges... the LC saw me the next day with my bleeding nipples and skinless areola and realized that I needed an Extra Large size cups... makes a big difference! The nurse had also set my pump on the highest suction pressure there is... she had it on level 5 and LC said no more than level 3 until I have a full milk supply. BFing and Pumping was incredibly painful because of these 2 bits of 'mistraining'.
- Snacking on something while pumping helps increase your production!
- Talking to someone, even on the phone, keeps your mind off of pumping and makes the time go faster. Working or playing on a computer, reading a book or magazine, or playing a game (by yourself or with someone) helps the time go by as well.
- Water Water Water! Just have a few big bottles of water in every room. Refill them out of your tap if you don't want to keep buying them. But, you can let them sit in a basket next to the couch, on a bedside table or in the nursery for a few days before it gets stale tasting. This way, you don't ever have to sit and nurse thirsty because you finally got situated and don't want to get up to get a glass of water.
- Drinking something warm helps with let down.
- Ice packs on your sore nipples or engorged breasts really does the trick for pain reduction!
- So many LCs will tell you that if your LO has a good latch, it won't hurt... that's true after a while, but for the first few weeks, for the first few minutes of every nursing or pumping session, it DOES hurt. You're breasts and nipples are going through a totally new 'workout'. Your skin will be sensitive and having a baby or a pump pulling on them isn't comfortable!