BENEFITS OF DOUBLE PUMPING FOR NURSING MOTHERS

By : Rita Rahayu (Certified Lactation Counsellor / Founder of Mom’s Little One (MLO)

Many mothers ask me to recommend a suitable pump for them. I would tell them “The best pump for you would be the one that works well or best for YOU (after taking into consideration certain factors ie. Working schedule, environment (home or office))!” I think the no. 1 factor that affects ALL mothers is time. We always seem to be pressed for time especially if we have a demanding job and have more than 1 child to care for. However, as a full time working mother myself, I have found that double pumping has many benefits and has helped me to be more efficient at breastfeeding.

Why?

  • Single pumps, whether manual or battery/electric, only pump one breast at a time. This does not provide as good of stimulation as double pumping and the pumping time required is also longer (twice as long in some cases) This is still acceptable if you will only need to use a breast pump occasionally ie. If you’re working part time. Therefore, single pumps are most always a good choice for the stay-at-home mom or the mom only working part-time and needing to use a breast pump on average once a day.

 

  • Pumps that provide alternating double suction (like the Medela Mini Electric Plus), where the suction is created on one side as it is released on the other, provide more stimulation and a faster pumping time than single pumps, but not as much stimulation or as fast a pumping time as a simultaneous double pump (ie. Spectra 2, Spectra 3 and Medela Pump in Style) in which the suction occurs on both breasts at the same time. These alternating pumps, like the single pumps, are still good choices for moms who don’t work outside the home or who only work part time.

 

  • Simultaneous double pumps often referred to as hospital or professional grade pumps, offer premium pump performance. They pump both breasts at the same time, thus cutting pumping time in half as compared to single pumping. Additionally, there is research to suggest that simultaneous double pumping increases the hormone called prolactin which is responsible for milk production and therefore better maintains milk supply over a longer period of time.

 

  • Double pumping is also known to help mothers with low milk supply. As a lactation counselor, I normally advise mothers to try cluster pumping, instead of a regular nursing/pumping session. Sit down with your baby and your pump, and nurse and pump every half-hour to an hour for several hours.

OR

  • Have your baby feed on one side and pump on the other side. This helps to create more demand and thus will help to increase supply. It also saves you time as you do not have to pump or nurse your baby in separate sessions.

 

  • Some moms find it helpful to do a 2-3 day long power pump session every couple of weeks to “super charge” their milk supply. This is simply a nursing break with pumping added in. On these days, it is recommended that the mother get lots of rest, nurse very frequently and pump after as many nursing sessions as possible.

 

  • It is also known that the more effective the mother is at emptying the breast/removing more milk from the breasts, the more milk she will yield. So, how long should you pump or how do you know if you’re pumping long enough? When pumping to increase milk supply, it’s recommended that you (double) pump for at least 15 minutes; to ensure that the pump removes an optimum amount of milk from the breast, keep pumping for 2-5 minutes after the last drops of milk. If you don’t always have time to pump this long, remember that adding even a short pumping session (increasing frequency but perhaps not removing milk thoroughly) is helpful.

Personal Note:

Use a good double pump. Double pumping generally results in better pumping output and is better for maintaining milk supply. Pump quality can make a huge difference in pumping output, and different moms have better results with different pumps. However, some moms with abundant milk supplies do not respond well to pumping (even while using the best of pumps) and do not get much milk when pumping. These moms may get better results using manual expression instead. Always seek expert advice or help when in doubt.

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