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I think it would be helpful to have a sticky of letdown tricks - that seems to be a common problem for new pumpers. Anyone have good tips?
Before starting I find it helpful to:
sit quietly a few minutes and relax
Use breast massage to encourage letdown
Shake and/or stroke
Have something cuddly that smells like baby, like his blanket or a bottle of baby lotion
Pump when I notice a letdown with or without my help - pumping when you've letdown already helps train your body to release milk for the pump
continue breast massage/compression
distraction (I play online or watch TV)
Adjust pump speed, start out slow, increase when milk is flowing, decrease or stop when milk slows, repeat until you get no more milk or only drops
Think about baby, look at pictures
I'm betting tape recording baby crying would help too, I've heard many moms letdown when they hear baby cry even over the phone. I've never successfully breastfed so I letdown for the sound of the pump or sometimes the vacuum cleaner!
I just wanted to add that sometimes even having a vision in your mind of your milk letting down and remembering the feeling while thinking of your baby might work too! Sort of like a mini form of meditation I guess, but it works for me when I pump!