Parallel Pumping is a feeding technique that involves nursing a baby at the breast on one side while simultaneously using a breast pump on the other breast.
Why Parallel Pumping? Many mothers are prescribed Triple Feeding (nurse, pump, and feed baby) when latching is difficult or to increase milk supply. In theory, Triple Feeding can continue to keep the baby fed, encourage nursing at the breast, and keep milk flowing. Yet, the reality for many families is an overwhelming and exhausting situation that often results in early weaning. According to a 2019 study shared by Clinical Lactation, many breastfeeding mothers report Parallel Pumping makes triple feeding easier to manage and more realistic.
Parallel Pumping is an efficient technique to get you familiarized with pumping and create a small freezer stash. The average milk store is about one day’s worth of milk when returning to work. You can easily store a day’s worth of breastmilk by Parallel Pumping one to two times a day a few weeks before your maternity leave. Plus, you can continue to soak-in those baby snuggles while you express extra milk.
When to Parallel Pump Early mornings are the best time to pump. As a general rule, bring the baby to the breast they did not nurse from at the last feeding or the breast that feels fuller while expressing using the breast pump on the other side. Offer the first breast until the baby falls asleep or pops off, then offer the other breast and switch pumping to the other side. If you are triple feeding, you may want to use the Parallel Pumping Technique during every feeding. Others may only want to do this a few times a day or only when extra milk is needed.
How to Parallel Pump Start with your baby and pump nearby. Using a hands-free bra, get comfortable, latch baby first, then latch your flange, and turn on the pump. Start with the massage mode for two to three minutes, and then switch to expression mode. Pump for 15-20 minutes. After the baby nurses from one side, always offer the other breast to your baby to latch, then switch pumping to the opposite breast.
You may experience a stronger letdown reflex while nursing and pumping together rather than pumping alone. Parallel Pumping is an easy-to-do pumping technique that can save you time and help increase your milk supply.
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Need help managing your pumping schedule or want to learn more about the benefits of parallel pumping? Connect with a Storkpump IBCLC at askanIBCLC@adapthealth.com.
1 McCue, K. F., & Stulberger, M. L. (2019). Maternal satisfaction with parallel pumping technique. Clinical Lactation, 10(2), 68–73. https://doi.org/10.1891/2158-07220.127.116.11