There are quite a few technical and mechanical aspects to pumping that can help determine how effective your pumping sessions are: flange/breast shield fit, your pump suction and speed, whether all the accessories to your pump are in working order, the sensation at your nipples created by the pump, etc. But even when all of those stars align perfectly, it can be hard for many of us to sit and have a productive pumping session.
In simple terms, stress, frustration and trauma go against our biological evolution from cave woman days to nurse our babies in a calm, safe place. We have "let-downs" where our milk is released to flow when we are in a safe and appropriate place to nurse our babies. After all, it would be very inconvenient and also unsafe if we let our milk run free everywhere we go, all day and all night long. Predators would find that cave woman, and the milk wouldn't store up for a proper feeding.
Much like we learn to use the toilet, our Milk Ejection Reflexes (or MER) control our milk flow and release the milk to feed our sweet and adorable babies. You have control of your MER and over time, most women notice they don't have those unexpected let-downs in the middle of the store when you hear a random baby cry. Your baby learns the best way to trigger a let-down and your MER fine tunes to the best way for you to let the milk flow. But, stress inhibits our let-downs and when that happens, it is easy to start to obsess about making the milk flow. But, much like trying to urinate with your legs crossed, that's the wrong way to go about that surge of milk you want to start spraying into your bottles. Especially when your baby isn't there to help personally.
We're blessed here at #teamtuff to have Renee Davis, IBCLC, as part of our team. She and her husband (he's her personal #teamtuff!) made our first guided meditation single! We plan to make more meditations and include some for specialty situations like NICU separations, Exclusive Pumping and more. Contact us on social media and let us know what you'd find helpful.
Download the meditation(s) you want to listen to below and listen while you pump. Tell yourself, "I AM ENOUGH" while you set up your pump and as you begin pumping. Then relax and let the milk flow. Try to focus on emptying your breasts instead of pumping until you've achieved a certain output and remember, YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR for pumping!