When Can I Start Pumping In Pregnancy?
Pumping breast milk in pregnancy can be a great way to give you and your baby an extra head start and ensure a successful breastfeeding experience after delivery. But it’s important to know the basics of how and when to start pumping in pregnancy in order to get the most out of this practice.
Knowing When to Start Pumping
Pumping in pregnancy is generally considered safe but it should be done after your doctor has cleared it and, ideally, with the help of a lactation consultant. Most healthcare providers caution pregnant women to wait until their fourth month of pregnancy to begin pumping. This is especially important because pumping can, in rare cases, cause a uterine prolapse.
Once your healthcare provider has given you the go-ahead to begin pumping, you should be aware of the following guidelines:
- Start off slowly with short sessions of about 10 minutes each and no more than three times a day.
- Do not increase the amount of pumping or switch to a double pump too quickly, as your body needs time to adjust.
- Always use a clean, properly functioning pump.
- Ensure that your nipples and the airtight connector pieces are correctly lined up and snugly fitted before you turn on the pump.
- Be aware that when used correctly and pumping too frequently, it can cause sore nipples.
When to Stop Pumping
Once you have established your pumping routine, you should discontinue it as you start to experience the changes that occur in your body as your due date approaches. These include the following:
- A decrease in the amount of breast milk being produced.
- Increased pelvic pressure, which can make pumping difficult.
- Engorgement, which is caused by too much milk being produced for your baby to consume.
- Cramping in your uterus, which can make pumping uncomfortable.
The Benefits of Pumping In Pregnancy
In addition to the potential of having a better breastfeeding relationship with your baby after delivery, there are other potential benefits to pumping during your pregnancy. These include:
- Creating a stockpile of breast milk: This can provide a precious reserve of milk for your baby that you can use in the event of any unexpected illnesses, such as your baby having jaundice, or if you are away from your baby and need to express milk.
- Helping to increase the amount of milk being expressed: The reduced levels of progesterone and estrogen in the fourth month of pregnancy can help with the production of breast milk, so when you start pumping during this time, it can create more milk production.
- Giving you peace of mind: Even if your baby has an unexpected hospital stay, you will know that you have some milk waiting for them once they are discharge.
Pumping while pregnant is a great way to ensure the success of the breastfeeding experience and there is no better way to prepare for the future. If you follow the guidelines of when to start, when to stop and how often to pump, you can have a more successful breastfeeding experience from the start.
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