If you are expecting your first child and plan to try using a breast pump for the first time, then you may be apprehensive about choosing your first breast pump and eager to learn all of the breast pump tips for success you can find. There are so many different breast pump styles on the market, including manual and electric pumps, that choosing your first pump can be overwhelming, and the breast pumping process can seem more complex than it is.
Read on to learn three tips for success when choosing and using a breast pump for the first time.
1. Try the Free Breast Pump Your Insurance Company Offers
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that all health insurance companies offer pregnant people and people who recently gave birth a free breast pump that they can use to aid in feeding their child healthy breast milk. For this reason, you should look into the free breast pump options offered by your insurance company before you pay for an expensive breast pump out-of-pocket.
Since the ACA does not have any strict requirements regarding the free breast pump type or style an insurance company must provide, some insurance companies offer up to nine breast pump options nursing mothers can choose from. To see what breast pump options your insurance company offers and when during your pregnancy you can obtain it, simply give the company a phone call.
If you find the free breast pump options undesirable, your insurance company may offer to cover part of the cost of a breast pump type or model you prefer.
2. Pump As Often As Your Baby Would Breastfeed
Many people make the mistake of pumping breast milk only when it is most convenient for them or during times of day they notice they produce the most milk. However, medical experts advise people to pump about every three to four hours for at least 15 minutes each session around the clock, which is about how often a baby would breastfeed.
Pumping frequently stimulates breast milk production, and breasts can very quickly produce less milk, or "dry up," when too many pumping sessions are missed.
Of course, if you alternate pumping breast milk with feeding your baby at the breast, you can skip pumping sessions scheduled directly after or before breastfeeding, since your baby is providing all of the breast stimulation needed to keep your milk supply up when they feed.
3. Avoid Medications That Can Decrease Breast Milk Production
One important way to keep your breast milk supply up when pumping is to avoid taking medications that are known to decrease breast milk production. While you can ask a lactation consultant for a full list, just a few of these medications include antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine and cetirizine, and decongestants that contain pseudoephedrine.
If you are expecting a child and plan to try using a breast pump to increase breastfeeding convenience, then keep these three tips for breast pump success in mind.