If breastfeeding (supply, latch, etc) is going well, it is not necessary to pump in the early weeks - exclusive breastfeeding is all that’s needed to feed your baby and raise/maintain supply. However, if you are having breastfeeding problems it is essential that you pump or hand express (see above) many times a day to keep your supply flowing.
Here are some helpful pumping resources to help you get started:
In the early days, Hand Expression is more effective for collecting colostrum to feed a baby that needs supplementing - see our earlier blog post on this topic!
If a baby is not latching, pumping is an effective way to provide stimulation for your supply. If a newborn is expected to nurse 8-12 times per day, double pumping 8 times per day is an effective way to tell your baby that your baby needs milk frequently. This will help bring your full milk supply in.
This is very informative video from Stanford Medical Center - How to use your hands for massage while pumping. Using your hands for massage before, during and after pumping sessions is very effective.
A handy guide on how to fit flanges properly to your breasts - properly fitted flanges allow for the most comfort and best flow of milk.
A fantastic interview about flange fitting and pumping with Dee Kassing on the Breastfeeding Outside the Box podcast
Finally, many people find that adding lubrication to their areola helps so much with flange fit and comfort (which can sometimes help you increase vacuum!). Non-lanolin nipple balms are a good option (lanolin is too sticky for this purpose!). Or, organic olive oil or coconut oil can also be used. All are generally regarded as safe for babies but always read ingredients and consider your own family history of allergy.
If you are having problems that require you to pump in the early days, or if you want to learn more about pumping for return to work or exclusively pumping - make an appointment to go over pump function, flange fit, ideas for increasing supply, planning for return to work, exclusive pumping planning, and all aspects of planning for any amount of pumping.