By Sandra Downs Breastfeeding is a remarkable task – the capability to feed your child from your very own body is an impressive function of the human body. Breast milk is very nutritious and consists of everything a newborn needs to grow healthy and strong. The act of breastfeeding itself cements the bond in between mother and child, however, in today’s modern-day times, it in some cases it can be quite impossible for mothers to be with their infants 24/7. Whilst some mothers wish to return to their professions, have the baby’s older siblings to look after or simply require some time to themselves. Indeed, once again, our modern world dictates that many families require two incomes to survive, so the modern day mother may not have a choice but to return to work. Perhaps this is why a breast pump can make your life, as a mom, a lot simpler. It assists you to store enough milk for when your child needs it, even if you are away. However, using a breast pump is not necessarily something that comes along with the mothering instinct, we don’t just automatically know how to use it and it can take some persistence and practice to get it right. It doesn’t entirely depend on the type of breast pump you’re utilizing, although that can certainly make a distinction between failure and success. If you’re new to breast pumping, or have been having a tough time getting the darn thing to do what its supposed to do, check out these 10 little snippets of information that may make life easier for successful breast pumping. 1. The number one point is to relax. Milk ejection reflex can be effected through relaxation, and of course the converse is also true; uptightness can be one of the first signs that your breast pump is unlikely to do the job. Prior to beginning, gather all the devices required – feeding bottles, tissues, chair, and the breast pump. Apply your individual methods to unwind your body before pumping. There’s not much point giving specifics about how to relax, because every woman is different, but I’m guessing you would know what works best for you. 2. Select the right kind of pump. Now, this is easy to say if you’re a first timer, how are you supposed to know what suits you best? Breast pumps differ, so it is very important that you pick the kind of pump that best fits your requirements. Unfortunately, the best way is trial and error, but of course this will rarely be available to you. I would suggest talking to those that have used breast pumps before; maybe a friend or family member. Alternatively, you can find a lot of support groups online where mothers discuss issues just like this. There will obviously be quite a difference in preference if, for example, a mother only needs to use her breast pump occasionally, as opposed to another who needs to pump many times per day. The objective is to be comfortable, confident and of course to have a productive result without incurring breast damage. 3. Always massage your breast first for a few minutes to stimulate milk production. Starting at the underarm, carefully use your fingertips to make small spiral circles slowly in the direction of your areola. Repeat this massage during pumping, or whenever you feel like your milk production is not satisfactory. 4. Consuming lots of water prior to pumping will ensure you are rehydrated sufficiently. 5. Use the breast pump regularly, but for much shorter periods of time. Historically, the majority of mothers would pump once or twice a day for longer periods of time, however specialists now advise pumping 3 or 4 times a day, but for much shorter durations. This ensures you have enough supply of breast milk, stimulates milk production and at the same time, can help reduce nipple inflammation and soreness. 6. Keeping point 5. above in mind, you should nevertheless pump for a longer time period in the morning. Your breasts produce more milk naturally in the morning, so collecting this milk early in the day will generally be a much easier task. 7. On an occasional basis, pump one breast while nursing your baby on the other. Doing this not only helps you to master breast pumping, it also takes advantage of the milk ejection reflex experienced because of the baby’s suckling, which in turns make the process of collecting the milk easier. 8. If possible, keep your child nearby. Having your baby near you when you use your breast pump can stimulate the hormones that manage your milk production. If it’s not possible to have him or her beside you, keep a picture, baby blanket, or something else that is a reminder of your baby nearby while you pump. 9. If you feel the breast pump is not doing its task, consider a replacement. In some cases, the reason why moms cannot produce enough milk can be due to their breast pumps either not being effective, or not suiting them. 10. Do not forget that the breast pump is there to augment and support breastfeeding. Do not become dependent on the breast pump, but rather use it as an enhancement to breastfeeding, not a replacement. Your baby and you both deserve the quality time together that is attained through nursing, and this is a unique time to establish that powerful mother/baby bond. They grow up too quick to waste this rewarding and enjoyable time by relying solely on a breast pump.