Pumping breast milk, like breastfeeding, isn’t as easy as most people think it is. The good thing is, if you find yourself having trouble expressing your liquid gold, it could be because you’re just doing it wrong—that means it’s a solvable problem. Unless you’re having problems with inadequate milk supply (according to Fit Pregnancy, supply problems affect up to 15% of women), you might just be doing these mistakes.
Here are five common breast pumping mistakes that mothers make, as compiled by Romper.
1. You’re not drinking enough water
Feeling thirsty when you pump? That’s totally normal—after all, as breast milk is almost 90% water, you’re going to need to stay a lot more hydrated. According to Drip Drop, nursing mothers should be drinking as much as they were doing before pregnancy, plus the amount of fluids they’ll be losing during feeding. As newborns consume around 750 milliliters a day, that means an extra 700 milliliters of water daily.
2. Your pump is totally wrong for you
If you decided to skimp and chose to buy a cheap pump, that could be the root of all your problems. According to Breastfeeding USA, cheap pumps are cheap for a reason: they’re inefficient, noisy, break often, and can also lead to nipple damage. If you can’t afford investing in a hospital-grade pump, try and see if you can rent one. Also consider whether your nipple fits into the pump opening or nipple tunnel. These come in different sizes, and choosing the right fit can make a world of a difference.
On the next page: more breast pumping mistakes you could be making.
3. Your pumping sessions are too short
Your pumping sessions should last around 10-15 minutes when using a double pump or 20-30 minutes if you’re pumping separately, according to BabyCenter. That’s if you have a good pump and quick let down. You won’t be able to express as enough milk to keep your supply up if you pump for shorter periods of time.
4. You have no schedule, or you don’t stick to it
If you’re exclusively pumping, it’s especially vital for you to stick to a set schedule to keep your milk supply going. But if you’re nursing and pumping, you can probably skip a pumping session every now and then.
5. You need more support
Not having a support system in place can make it very difficult for mothers to keep up with a pumping schedule. You shouldn’t have to do this alone. Reach out to your partner, parents, or friends to help you out with the baby and other things that need to be taken care of so you can pump.
READ: Build a solid breast pumping strategy at work
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