Mothers of newborns are naturally equipped with everything their baby needs for nourishment. But contrary to popular belief, moms of newborns aren't immediately bursting with breast milk post-labor. Truth is, the first milk is produced in such small amounts that moms may notice just a few drops of it in a feeding. And this is where pumping comes in… using a breast pump can help speed up a mother's milk production, especially in the critical first few days of a newborn's life. Getting your milk production up will help keep your baby full and happy, and will also give you the peace of mind knowing that you're giving your baby the purest and best possible food on earth… your milk!

Things You Will Need

Breast Pump

Step 1

Choose the right breast pump for you.

There are several big-brand breast pumps out on the market. But purchasing a breast pump is like a hunt for the perfect LBD (little black dress)… there can only be ONE. That's why you need to try and fit on the breast pump before you can really know which one suits you. Each Mom will respond differently to each breast pump. What may feel comfortable to one mom can be painful to another.

Hospitals usually offer to rent out breast pumps. Be sure to ask your hospital or your labor and delivery nurse about the breast pumps they offer. You can try different breast pumps in the comfort of your own post-partum room, then rent and bring home the breast pump of your choice. Once you've found the pump that feels just right to you, you can purchase your breast pump online or from local retailers. Popular brands include Ameda, Medela, and Avent.

Step 2

Breastfeed your newborn every 2 – 3 hours in a 24-hour period.

Newborns have small tummies and need to be fed more frequently. Also, the more often you breastfeed, the more milk your breasts will produce. It may feel like you're nursing your baby non-stop, but this is an important time for you both to practice this essential skill.

Step 3

If your milk has not "come in" yet, pump after each breastfeeding (every 2 – 3 hours in a 24-hour period).

A mother's milk supply increases significantly about 3 – 5 days after birth. Pumping after each breastfeeding will help increase the amount of milk you produce.

Step 4

Store your pumped breast milk.

Expressed breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 5 months.

Step 5

Keep a log of breastfeedings and baby's wet and soiled diapers.

A daily log will help you monitor whether baby is getting enough to eat… and there's an app for that! iPhone users can find several convenient apps that can help track baby's feedings and diapers. You can also easily print sample logs from the internet.

Don't give up!

Breastfeeding a newborn takes lots of patience. It's a skill that needs practice, practice, and more practice! So hang in there, and be persistent with baby on breastfeeding. The benefits for both you and baby are truly invaluable!

If you feel you need some guidance with breastfeeding your newborn, reach out to your local hospital or pediatrician's office for a Lactation Consultant. A Lactation Consultant can help you with various breastfeeding positions and breastfeeding issues.

Tips & Warnings

Engorged breasts feel hard, heavy, and painful, while the skin is red and hot. Engorgement usually occurs when a feeding is missed (such as when a baby suddenly sleeps through the night). This can be prevented by making sure that your baby feeds frequently and empties your breasts at each feeding (breastfeed 8 – 12 times every 24 hours). You can also use your breast pump to relieve fullness before breastfeeding your baby.