Hmmm? That is what comes to mind when I have thought about breastfeeding and pumping at the same time. I wondered if it was possible? Would it save time? Will it hurt my baby? Will my baby get enough to eat? When should I do this? How can I do this? Why would you want to do this? Tons of questions come to mind with this subject. But…You guessed it, I am going to go into detail about this very subject. You will have no more worries, and know all you need to know about breastfeeding and pumping simultaneously.
Breastfeeding is a natural great thing for mothers and babies, but some feel pumping is unnatural or cheating in some way, and it isn’t! Some mothers wondering if pumping is the same as breastfeeding, and in many aspects it is. Mothers, pumping is a choice. Some mothers have to get away, some have to work and some want to pump so dad can feed to. There is nothing wrong with pumping or breastfeeding and pumping at the same time!
Can it be done?
Is it possible to breastfeed and pump concurrently? The simple answer is YES! A lot of mothers worry if their baby will get enough to eat if they pump while they breastfeed. The important thing to remember is your body always has enough milk. Let me put it into perspective a little for you. A mother of twins often feeds at the same time, one twin on each breast. A mother is taught to feed on each breast 10 to 15 min and then switch, when this is really not what you have to do.
Feeding your baby on one breast at a time is also possible and a lot of mother’s babies prefer it that way. If you insist on feeding from both breast that too is still possible. Pumping is only going to get the foremilk out. There is what we call hindmilk that your baby will get and is very good for your baby. You want your baby to get the hind milk, because it has higher fat content.
Some of you are wondering what is hind milk? Let me explain. When you first start feeding, your baby gets foremilk (milk in the front) towards the end of the feeding your baby gets hindmilk. Hindmilk is higher in fat than the foremilk. After the breast begins to empty the higher fat content milk moves down the breast. Here is a great article explaining all about hind and foremilk. So pumping while breastfeeding is a way to get your baby the hindmilk, there are no worries of your breast being empty or your baby not getting enough to eat. This is why it is also okay to let your baby nurse on only one breast at a time.
How to pump and breastfeed at the same time
I have seen a lot of moms say to pump and feed in the morning, but they don’t give an explanation as to why? So I do it whenever I feel like I need or want to. There are times when the baby eats and falls asleep from only one side, and the other side is engorged. Perfect, pump and store it away for later. When the baby wakes up to feed again start him/her on the side you pumped. Maybe you are a working mom and you can run to the sitter to feed on your lunch, great!
Feed your baby on one side while you pump on the other. You can then leave it for the sitter to have extra milk. Or possibly you’re in the middle of pumping and your baby wakes up and is trying to eat her little hands off. Well you got it, this would be a perfect time to pump and feed. This is why I don’t think you need to restrict yourself to just the morning. I think every baby, mother, and situation are different.
Limiting yourself to just the morning may not work out for some mothers. I know for me it would never work. I have 5 kids and mornings are crazy to say the least. Getting everyone ready for school, and daycare kids coming in. I am breastfeeding on the move! Me, the baby, and the blanket to cover me are up and moving. This would not be a good time for me, so do what will work for you.
Can I pump and breastfeed concurrently?
It takes some serious practice to pump and feed simultaneously, but after a few times you will get the hang of it and become a seasoned pro! I found that the breastfeeding pillow works amazing to be hands free. Once you get your baby positioned and your baby is use to feeding, it works great. My absolute favorite nursing pillow is called My Brest Friend Original Nursing pillow. Not only is it firm enough for great support, it doesn’t move or shift, and has pretty good back support. It also has a cup holder, although I don’t use it for that ha-ha!
I actually use it to keep breast cream, breast pads, my breast storage bags in that handy pocket. The football hold also works great for doing both concurrently. My last tool I used to breastfeed and pump simultaneously was the nursing bra for hands free pumping. They basically hold the pump cup in place so you can still feed your baby, or even put the pump on both breasts at the same time and still have your hands free to do whatever you need to do. For mothers that like reading, or crochet this would be a great tool as well!
Why do them together?
Why would a mother even want to pump and breastfeed simultaneously? Honestly only you can answer that question. At first for me I did to increase my milk supply. Later it was to save time and then I wanted to build up a supply in the freezer, so I could have mommy time and because I am not as comfortable breastfeeding in public. I commend mothers who are, but for me I am a very private person and I just can’t do it.
I was finding myself going out to the car or sitting in the bathroom…YUK! Like I said I also needed mommy time, and I couldn’t get that if I was the only one able to feed the baby. Some mothers have to go back to work and need to pump. For me I got about 2 more ounces at a time if I breastfed and pumped at the same time. So that is why I decided to usually pump while I fed.
Increasing your milk supply
Yes, pumping and feeding will increase your supply! Score! If you are letting your baby eat from one breast, while you pump on the other side you will increase your supply. The reason for this is you are effectively emptying both breast concurrently. Your baby will be able to empty one breast, and then if needed you can put the baby on the pumped breast to empty the hind milk. Therefore, your body will signal that you need to produce larger quantities of milk. I always have a low milk supply and this helps a lot for me.
I also found it helpful when your breasts are sore and it takes all you have just to feed from one breast. It is like a mini breastfeeding vacation. New moms usually just give up at this point. They think, obviously breastfeeding is not for me. My nipples are going to surly fall off and I can’t do this for a whole year. Well you can, and pumping and feeding can help you! You and your baby will learn and it will get better, but in the meantime do yourself a favor and pump!
Don’t waste your milk
Have you ever noticed once you start feeding your baby the other side leaks like crazy? Well don’t waste it! Put it to good use and pump while you feed. Your body is going to naturally do what we call let down. This is your body letting the milk flow, and it flows from both breast. So while you are nursing on one side put the pump on the other side, this way you can catch what is already being expressed naturally. There is nothing more frustrating than going through 500 breast pads and 10 nursing bras, am I right?
Save yourself some money and laundry. Plus, who wants to see their precious milk go to waste? A lot of mothers constantly talk about when they are at the store and hear a baby cry, and they start leaking like crazy. I don’t know about you but my first thought is…oh man! If only I could catch this milk! Ha-ha! Well, I have that same thought when I am in the shower, or I am breastfeeding. Although you can’t always do something about it, you can while you are at home nursing your baby. So stick on a pump, increase your supply, and don’t waste that white gold!
Saving you time
Pumping and breastfeeding at the same time can also save you a lot of time. Who want to sit and feed the baby and then pump for 20 more min? I know I didn’t, and I didn’t really have the time to. I run a daycare and have 5 kids, so saving time is very important to me. Or I hear of a lot of mothers pumping before they feed their baby, nope I don’t want to do that either.
My solution was to do it concurrently. Now with my first baby, I was by the book, and followed all the rules. I listened when they said feed on each side for 10-15 min and then switch, and don’t pump until your baby is older. I didn’t give any other liquids and was miserable! Also, I couldn’t get that baby off of me. I had no relief and my breasts hurt horrible. In tears every day, I had no time to do anything but feed that baby! My second kid was totally different; I broke almost every rule ha-ha! After all I had been there and done that.
I was pumping in the hospital, she had a pacifier and when I got home with sore nipples I was pumping and nursing together. Why? Because I had learned that it saves time, builds a supply, and my sore nipples needed that break. I learned that pumping while feeding got me more milk, in a less amount of time. Plus, I was building a supply in the freezer early on. If you don’t have 30 extra minutes like me, then multi-tasking is key. Try it, worse case you hate it and it’s not for you. Best case it saves you time and help heal your sore nipples.
At the end of the day
I know I have talked about a lot in this post, but I want all mothers to know that breastfeeding is what you make it. There is no one size fits all, or right or wrong way to do it. If you choose to only pump before or after you feed, then that is okay! Breastfeeding moms need to know that no matter what your body will take care of your baby.
You may be going back to work and you need to build a supply of milk in the freezer, and you are looking for other options because you don’t want to spend your time off work feeding and pumping. Good, pumping and breastfeeding at the same time may be your answer. Maybe your busy and just don’t have time, this could be a great answer. And for the moms that have sore, cracked, and bleeding nipples, pumping and feeding concurrently can help you heal.
Babies in the beginning don’t know how to latch on and it hurts. Pumping can help. There is no right or wrong way. Like I said my first baby was by the book and I listened to everything. My 2nd through 5th babies I did what worked for me and them, and they are all healthy and alive. So enjoy your time feeding and do what works for you and your family.
What would be some benefits you see or have had with pumping and feeding at the same time? I would love to hear what has worked or hasn’t worked for you on your breastfeeding journey. P.s. And don’t forget the nipple cream Ha-ha!