Gazing into the eyes of the beautiful new baby cradled in your arms is a lot different than staring at the plastic breast pump that you have just connected to yourself. But believe it or not, regardless of how you are expressing milk, it is an “emotional habit”, says Sheri Wallace, a lactation professional and the Director of Marketing for Ardo breast pumps.
We interviewed Sheri and learned a wealth of information about the emotional experience of breastfeeding and pumping as well as preparing for it BEFORE baby even arrives.
“I can’t tell you how many calls we get from stressed out moms trying to use their breast pump for the first time in an hour of desperation- and then they wonder why they aren’t getting any milk,” Sheri said. She went on to explain that just like breastfeeding, pumping breastmilk is a hormonal and emotional response.
Babies have a hormonal trigger for mothers, between their smell, the connection with their eyes, and their touch while nursing to help new mothers form a positive association with feeding them. Your breast pump, well, it is safe to say you really have no love for that machine!
"Babies have a hormonal trigger to help new mothers form a positive association with feeding them. Your breast pump, well, it is safe to say you really have no love for that machine!"
Sheri's Three Practical Tips For New Pumping Moms:
1. Do your research Learn about what type of breast pump might suit you, your needs, and your breast best. A skilled lactation consultant like our friends from Nurturing Expressions, who will also be onsite at the next Baby Bump Expo event, can help you determine which pump might suit you best.
Do you need it to very quiet?
Do you have sensitive nipples?
Do you need it super portable?
Do you plan to use it daily?
These are all good questions to ask to help determine the right pump for you and in turn will hopefully make your pumping process the best it can be.
2. Be prepared Don’t wait until a dire moment to try your breast pump for the first time! Be ready, early on, to just give the breast pump a try after a feeding, when your partner is there and baby too. Create a peaceful experience with your pump for the first time, by having your partner there to assist and only pumping for a few minutes the first time. A moment of tears and engorged breasts is not a good introduction to using your pump.
3. Include your partner in the process
An initial positive experience with the breast pump will most certainly help future pump sessions. Simple ways for the partner to create this positive environment is to hold baby next to mom while she is pumping, tell her she is doing a great job, rub her neck or shoulders, or just put an arm around her for physical touch and support!
Your partner helped make the baby, and now they may wonder how they can help when it comes to a mom who is breast feeding. Being a positive emotional support for breastfeeding and pumping is a critical role for partners and for the success moms will find in this endeavor. This is important, especially the first few times using the breast pump.
Attending the Tacoma Baby Bump Expo on September 16, 2017? Look for Sheri at the Ardo booth near the Mother’s Nursing Lounge. She looks forward to helping families prepare for pumping, even before baby arrives!