September 8, 2015 at 10:56 am #5624Nadine LloydParticipant
I have read that an electric double pump is the best type of pump to have, and that’s what I have.., but why? I am a very large breasted person and trying to pump both at once can be very difficult, especially at the end. So I’ve began to pump one breast and then the other. It seems to be working so far, but is there a reason why it’s better to double pump ? (I’m also exclusively pumping as well)September 8, 2015 at 11:18 am #5625Lauren Majors, IBCLCIBCLC
Great question. There are several reasons why double pumping with a double electric breast pump may be advantageous. Double electric pumps tend to cycle at a greater rate of speed combined with a vacuum that makes it more optimal to remove milk, especially for exclusive pumpers. There can be some exceptions to this, but this applies as a general rule. Next, double pumping often saves time since you can pump two breasts at once which can also help increase total output, especially if combined with massage. Double pumping may also increase prolactin levels. Sonya just posted about prolactin if you want to read it here: https://milkontap.com/prolactin-milk-hormone/
As you’ve made mention, double pumping can be difficult for you. Admittedly, it can take some skill to figure out the best way for you to pump two breasts at once and massage! Many moms hold the flanges in between their first and middle fingers, hold the breast with their ring and pinkie fingers and massage with their thumbs. You could do a combination of strategies. For instance, start off double pumping like I just mentioned above, when you notice the milk is starting to slow, set one pump down (disconnect the tube from the motor so it still sucks) and focus on one breast with a two hand massage until a few minutes after the milk comes out like drops. Then, switch breasts to finish up the second side using two hands to massage. It may take a few more minutes to do it that way, but will still be more effective and faster than one at a time. Also, because you are an exclusive pumper, it will be important for you to find ways to pump effectively and quickly so you do not reduce the total number of pumping sessions per day overall as you will need those for your total 24 hour yield.
Best to you!September 8, 2015 at 11:23 am #5626Danielle Mullen, IBCLCIBCLC
Having a double electric breast pump is all about convenience! Especially for an exclusive pumper. You want a high quality double electric breast pump to maximize your production. There is nothing wrong with pumping a single breast at a time, it is simply a matter of how much time pumping takes then. You can experiment with a hand free bras. You can even make your own out of an old sports bra by cutting a small hole in each cup. There are many different flanges on the market now that aim to increase comfort and convenience for moms while pumping. Pumping Pals and Freemies are popular with some moms. We are here to help you make pumping as easy as possible!September 8, 2015 at 11:34 am #5628Sonya MylesIBCLC
Double pumping stimulates both breasts at the same time, and so the hormonal response is greater than with single pumping. Getting hormone levels to spike is one of the ways milk production is stimulated and milk supply is increased. Double pumping also halves the time spent pumping. If you are pumping 8 times a day for 15 minutes each breast, that equals 4 hours of work, you can cut that down to 2 hours by double pumping. However, as you mention, each person will find their own pumping groove, and double pumping can be difficult to figure out. I would recommend taking an old but supportive nursing bra, and put in some slits where your nipples usually sit. Make sure the slits are small enough that they will hold the pump kits securely and firmly but not so small you can’t get the pump kits in place. Depending on your pump, you can detach the flange from the bottle adapter which helps. Now you have your very own hands free nursing system 🙂 This will help with double pumping, as while you may need to use two hands occasional (e.g. setting up the pump) it also means that you have free hands for when you need them (e.g. doing some hands on pumping)
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