Common Breast Pumping Questions: Answers, Tips and Facts

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Do you have questions about pumping? You may even wonder about what to do with the breast milk you do pump.

Or, where to find resources that will continue to answer your breast pumping questions as they pop up in the future…

If what you’re reading is true for you, keep reading to get the best answers to the most common pumping questions.

Free Sign for Pumping at Work Mamas!

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1. Will Some Insurances Cover A Breast Pump?

The answer is yes!

You can apply for a free breast pump and even supplies through this link.

It was also super quick and easy – only took me 5 minutes to complete the entire process!

How to Get A Free Breast Pump Through Insurance

Here’s a step-by-step guide to lead you toward easily getting your free breast pump through insurance too!

Click here to be taken to the right place, it takes two minutes or less to apply.

When I used Aeroflow, I had a choice of one hospital grade breast pump, supplies and a breast milk storage system all shipped to me for free!

Another tip about your free breast pump with insurance – is that you may also be eligible for free pumping supplies as well. So, don’t forget to look into that!

I was sent as many Kiinde Twist breast milk storage bags and extra pumping kit supplies for my Medela Pisa as I could ever need.

infographic with step by step instructions on how to get a free breast pump through insurance.

Pin this for later! 

2. Do I Really Need A Breast Pump?

If you plan on breastfeeding at all, the answer is yes!

However, if you are pretty confident that you do not plan on pumping much or at all, at least keep a manual pump around like the Medela Harmony.

What About If I Plan to Exclusively Nurse My Baby?

The reason it is imperative to own at least one breast pump is because you never know for sure the path your breastfeeding journey will take.

You do not want to risk losing your breast milk supply or acquiring a serious infection incase nursing your baby does not pan out for whatever reason.

In fact, if breast pumping feels foreign to you and you aren’t even sure where or how you would begin your pumping routine, maybe an online pumping course would be a great place to start!

The Ultimate Exclusive Pumping Class by Milkology will help you gain the confidence you need to be good and ready for whatever challenges breast pumping throws your way.

You’ll also have the information you need to fix and master your milk supply!

The best part about an online course like this, is that all the information you need is ONE easy to access place. After all, breast pumping does not come naturally nor does it have a manual (until now).

There is no greater gift you can give yourself and your baby than the assurance of always knowing how to provide your baby with breast milk no matter what happens.

P.S. After you enroll in Milkology’s course, get a second pumping and milk supply course for FREE! Just contact me after and I’ll make the arrangements for you.

Head this way for more information on how to prepare for pumping.

Do I Need a Special Breast Pump to Build a Freezer Stash?

Even if you plan to primarily nurse, working on building a freezer stash is a smart move.

You never know when you may need to be away from your baby unexpectedly or for a planned weekend getaway. This is especially true If you are returning back to work.

You may want a little extra help from a professional on how to best approach your back to work breastfeeding transition.

I recommend you employ the expertise of The Ultimate Back to Work Pumping Class by Milkology.

P.S. Snag more than one of Milkology’s pumping or breastfeeding courses and save $$$ at checkout with a 20% off coupon.

I also recommend a portable and electric breast pump for pumping at work, or if you want to multitask while you pump. I’ll leave two of my favorite portable breast pump options below that I also have discount codes for.

BabyBuddha Portable Pump

Use MOMISPUMPING10 for 10% off! 

BabyBuddha breast pump with a cell phone picturing the mobile pumping app.

Shop Now

Pumpables Genie Plus Portable 

10% off automatically applied at checkout

Pumpables genie plus discount code from mom is pumping

Shop Now

How do I Clean My Breast Pump?

I recommend you choose a pump with a closed system, that means no breast milk can reach any of the pump’s mechanical parts and cause bacterial growth.

However, your pump parts that do come in contact with breast milk need to be thoroughly sanitized after every use (source).

You can use hot soapy water to wash and rinse the parts and then per manufacturer’s guidelines, place on the top rack of your dishwasher. Or, you can purchase sanitizing pump part bags that go into the microwave.

4. When Should I Start Pumping?

The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors. Typically, the lactation consultant who visits you after you give birth will tell you to wait at least 3 weeks to pick up the pump.

This is usually recommended so that your baby can regulate your milk supply through nursing.

However, more moms are choosing to forgo nursing all together and in that case, there is no reason why you cannot start pumping right away.

You can find much more information on this topic in this separate pumping and breastfeeding schedule post.

5. What Will Pumping do to My Breast Tissue?

The main reason you could encounter any kind of damage through pumping will come with improper flange sizing.

Incorrect flange size is almost always the cause of pain during pumping and tissue damage due to extra friction on more sensitive areas of the breasts.

To avoid this, make sure your flanges are not causing too much of your breast tissue to be pulled in. Also, your nipples should not be rubbing on the sides of the flange either.

If you do find that your breast tissue is overly elastic, this can be solved using a liquid flange insert, like these made by Pumpables. 

Here is a visual chart to see how to find your correct flange size. 

correct flange fit diagram

6. How Long do I Need to Pump For?

As a new pumping mama, you may be wondering how long you should be pumping for at each session.

Unfortunately, this pumping question isn’t as straight forward to determine, but let me give you some guidelines to go by.

If your goal is to fully empty your breasts, set a pumping time that ensures the most breast milk possible was removed during the session and shoot for multiple letdowns.

On average, most women take 20-40 minutes to evacuate all breast milk.

However, If you are seeking to increase your milk supply, there are a number of different methods you can use.

Power pumping is one of these and that takes an hour to complete, we will go further into depth about power pumping further down.

7. How to Tell if My Breasts Are Empty?

I see this question circulate a lot and it is a good one!

Many women wonder how they will know for sure that they have fully emptied all breast milk during a pumping session.

Sometimes, just waiting for the milk to stop flowing isn’t a 100% sure fire way to know because many women will have multiple letdowns during a session.

I recommend giving yourself enough time on the pump to have at least a couple letdowns and the breasts feel flaccid.

Use sunflower lecithin to help keep the milk ducts free from clogs and have a less inhibited flow.

Massage, vibration and heat are also effective methods to help remove all sitting breast milk from the breasts. Lavie Lactation Massagers has some awesome lactation tools that I highly recommend for breastfeeding and pumping moms!

PSSST… Don’t forget to use MOMISPUMPING10 for 10% off your entire Lavie purchase!

8. When can I Drop a Pumping Session?

It won’t be long into your pumping journey that you will start asking yourself this question with much anticipation.

The first pumping session you can drop will be around 4 months, when your little one starts to sleep through the night. This means, you can go from 8+ pumps per day to only 6 or 7!

9. How Long is Freshly Expressed or Pumped Breast Milk Good for?

Treat breast milk like you would cows milk, if stored in the fridge, it can last up to 5 days.

Always perform a sniff test before feeding to baby. If there are any offensive odors, taste it first before tossing. Sometimes an odd smell can be from high lipase (we’ll address that next).

Once baby has drank from a bottle of breast milk, but does not finish the breast milk, you may re-cool and re-heat the milk one more time and it is recommended to use leftover milk within two hours. 

Frozen milk, once thawed, must be used within 24 hours of thaw. If my baby doesn’t finish a bottle of thawed breast milk, I typically will not re-cool and re-heat.

  • Freshly expressed or pumped| Room temp. 4-6 hours | Fridge 4-5 days | Freezer 6-12 months
  • Thawed, previously frozen| Room temp. 1-2 hours | Fridge 24 hours | Neverrefreeze thawed breast milk.
  • Left over from a feeding| Within two hours after the baby is finished feeding.

10. What is High Lipase in Breast Milk?

High lipase happens to breast milk once freshly expressed milk is frozen. It is an enzyme that helps baby digest breast milk easier by breaking down the fats.

High lipase gives breast milk a sour or metallic odor and can alter the taste as well. Some babies refuse to drink breast milk with high lipase.

If this happens to you, scalding the milk before you freeze it will help reduce the amount of lipase.

You can also try adding a tiny bit of alcohol free vanilla extract to the breast milk your baby is refusing to drink.

11. Is it Normal if One Breast Produces Less Milk than the Other?

The answer to this breastfeeding question is, yes!

It is perfectly normal to have one breast that produces more or less breast milk than the other.

We like to lovingly refer to the under-accomplishing breast as the “slacker boob.”

Your body should naturally work this uneveness out in time, but if it doesn’t, you can pump longer on the slacker side and apply heat to that breast before a pumping session.

Just give the lazy boob a little extra attention.

If you are exclusively breastfeeding, consider pumping for a few minutes after you have nursed on the slacker boob to increase the supply and demand.

Let’s Conclude

I hope you found a lot of clarity reading through these common breast pumping questions many breastfeeding moms have. The best way to get your questions answered about pumping is to ask other moms who have experience with pumping.

With that said, leave a comment or join a Facebook group just for pumping moms. Pumpables has a very engaged group you can get access to once you purchase a product through them.

Thanks for reading and happy pumping mama!

This article was originally posted here: https://loveourlittles.com/pumping-questions-answers/ and revised with permission on momispumping.com

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