Pumping breast milk tips are all over the web and come in all flavors, but spiritual moms like me, who have induced lactation, have to face unique situations that might make some of those tips less viable for us.
Here I’m going to share my breast pumping tips (and psychological safety tips) for any spiritual, adoptive and special-circumstance mom out there who reads this post – as for myself, too, as a reminder of what I have to do when emotions take over.
Pumping Breast Milk Tips for Spiritual Moms
As spiritual moms, the possibility of breastfeed out children is a gift from Above and often a combination of factors such as:
- our child’s desire to bond with us through the act of breastfeeding
- their biological and/or adoptive mom’s vision of our bond
- how much that act of love unites us to our child as well as to their mom
At the same time, a spiritual mom breastfeeding might be seen as unnatural by some, and when such people live in our environment or have a dear place in our hearts, it not only stings – it can affect our milk production and the amount of effort we put into it.
The tips below come from my personal experience and I understand you might disagree with some of these: I’m highly sensitive, I feel way too much, so while I’d rather fight to get the respect I deserve at times, it’s often not worth it in terms of mental and physical health… and yes, that adds to the stress, which in turn lowers my milk supply.
I hope you can benefit from these tips and that they help you produce more breast milk for your child.
I’m with you, fellow spiritual mom.
1. Electric Pumps are Great, but Always Keep a Manual Pump Handy
Nothing boosts a milk supply like an electric breast pump.
If that’s a double breast pump, even better!
But electric pumps require electricity, a handy plug and, most of all, a pump-friendly environment (because electric pumps make a one hell of noise!).
If you can’t get that, always bring a manual breast pump with you, even home: you’ll find out a manual pump allows you to pump discreetly virtually anywhere, and for as long as you wish.
2. Pump in the Bathroom if You Can’t Pump Elsewhere (But Don’t Miss the Pumping Session)
I know this piece of advice is going to enrage some moms out there, but think about it – if you live in a non-supportive environment or the place you’re at isn’t allowing you to pump in public, and you can’t really go somewhere else, what are you gonna do?
Pumping in the bathroom area (somewhere clean, of course, or you have every right to request that it gets cleaned for you by the janitor, since you’re a customer) or in the bathroom of your home is a way to avoid discomforting clogged ducts, prevent engorgement and mastitis, and especially…
… maintain your breast milk supply. Or boost it, if you are inducing or relactating.
So, instead of missing a pumping session, it’s better to find a compromise and, if no other option is available, pump in the bathroom (but only after making it clear to everybody that is not how things should work).
3. Pump for 3-7 Minutes per Breast, but Pump Often
If your work schedule or your environment (or both) make it hard to devote half an hour to pumping every time, it’s better to set aside 3-7 minutes per breast per pumping session, and do this as often as possible, than wait to have a full half an hour to do your homework.
This method is akin to power pumping but with a schedule that’s more similar to cluster pumping, where you pump for a few minutes every half an hour or longer.
I know I try to do this every time I feel a tingle in breasts – it tells me they’re ready to be pumped. LOL
4. When You Use a Manual Pump, Switch Breasts Every 2 Minutes
You can regulate speed of suction easily with a manual breast pump, but you’ll still notice milk flow painfully slows down after a couple of minutes of pumping (sometimes a little more, but the range is always 2-5 minutes).
To keep a steady pumping rhythm and allow breasts to rest and collect upper milk in the ducts under the areola, switch breast every 2 (or 5) minutes.
You will notice strong flows and sprays when you do this.
Also, this pumping rhythm helps when you are on a tight time budget and you want to maximize your pumping outcome in the less time possible (e.g. when you have to pump in the nursing area or bathroom of a restaurant or at a train station).
5. Get (and Stay) Organized Throughout the Day, Especially if You Have to Go Out
This one might be the most vital out of my pumping breast milk tips in this post – get organized – and stay organized – so you can pump whenever you are, and in almost every situation.
Going out is always a problem to me. I haven’t met many breastfeeding-friendly areas in public places and stores, so I always have to rely on the most available bathroom (and that must be available where I’m going).
Knowing where I’m going and how much privacy and respect I’m going to have, I try to plan my pumping sessions into a mini schedule that I try to stick to as much as possible.
Also, I always try to pump at least 2 minutes per breast if I can’t use the bathroom or available area for a long time, or I have a bus or a train to take a.s.a.p.
The same works when I’m in a home that doesn’t welcome my pumping for induced lactation or as a spiritual mom: I do my best to pump as much as possible before leaving my house, then as much as I can when I go back home.
Home Pumping Tips: How to Cope with the Stress from a Non-Supportive Environment
I had to face psychological pressure before I could move out to a new house.
The people I lived with were neither supportive nor respectful of my plans to induce lactation for my spiritual children, and while I never tried to demand full support (that would have been forcing them), I failed in my attempt to get the respect I deserved.
Mostly, they didn’t even try to understand induced lactation is a safe practice and I wasn’t doing myself any harm.
As a consequence, I lived almost two years in a very stressful environment and I never managed to achieve more than a few ml of breast milk.
Since I moved out and I induced again (since November 2017) I’m almost at 20-30 ml per day, which is a very fast-paced improvement from two years ago.
Given the experience on my back, this is what I can recommend that you do:
- Lock the bathroom or your room when you are pumping or nursing, so that other people can’t get in the way
- Pump or nurse when everyone’s asleep or busy or outside
- Do meditation and, if you believe, pray – that’s going to make everything easier from a deep emotional viewpoint
- Focus on your child and try to forget the naysayers’ words – they can have their opinion, but you can have yours, too!
I wish for your loved ones to learn to be understanding and respectful of your choices, even when they disagree with them. It would be such a nicer world if we all did that to each other.
Sending hugs and blessings, fellow moms!