9 Surprising Breast Pumping Lessons in the POV of a Dad

Pregnancy is the hardest thing for a woman. I have seen it first hand as my wife went through two difficult pregnancies with our children. We did not expect that our second child would end up being born prematurely. Eventually, my wife needed to provide milk for our baby. We were prepared for that due to our experience with our first child, but nothing really prepares you well enough.

The first milk, colostrum is vital for the baby especially because she is premature. So we really took pains in acquiring it. Even though the amounts we could get were so tiny, every drop was essential. I bought 1cc syringes to put the milk into and dropped it off in the NICU. Again, don’t discount the amount, newborns really need just a tiny bit of milk before getting full.

I know that there are a ton of posts out there about how to start producing milk, about how it should be done in a certain way, but it can become overwhelming as it isn’t really the same for all mommies. As a dad and husband, your job is to be as supportive as you can to your wife. Remember that frustration is the enemy, and more often than not Mommy will be lashing out at you. Endure and always see the big picture.

I think one of the big reasons why many mommies can’t produce as much milk is because of the lack of support from the family or at work in general. One of the complaints I got from milk-donating friends of mine was that a lot of mommies just keep on asking for milk. They lack the patience and the grit to really try to produce their own milk. The truth is when given the proper encouragement and the right environment, any mother can produce milk.

Anyway, here are some tips that may be helpful for you or your lactating partners.

1. Hand Expression is best for first milk

At first, the colostrum is thick and most of the time does not drip down the nipple. So you need to collect it — usually with a spoon. You cannot use a pump as it’s too early. After you collect it, you can put it slowly into a syringe. Don’t worry about the small amount, a baby’s appetite is also as small as that syringe.

Eventually, as mommy expresses more and more, breastmilk also becomes more liquid. She can then transition to milk pumps once expressing becomes harder and when the baby’s appetite increases.

2. Help Mommy to be consistent

At first, the baby’s lactation demands dictate mommy’s urge to produce. But if mommy also tries to use a pump after latching or if she feels the breast still isn’t spent, the urge to produce also increases.

Slow and steady wins the race, mommy shouldn’t expect so much at first. In the beginning, even 5-10mL shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of. Consistency is key.

3. Remind Mommy who the milk is for

Pumping is sometimes painful and demotivating. Even the best of mommies feel this way. But think that there are also mommies who pump for their babies that cannot be with them — their baby could be in the NICU or they could be at work.

In these cases, motivation can be gained by having mommy look at pictures or videos of your baby.

4. Posture is important and cannot be overlooked

Back pain is common, especially for mommies that always slouch forward in nursing their babies or in pumping milk. I find it ironic that they were used to leaning their backs behind when they were pregnant, but now it’s the other way around.

Give them a better position by providing pillows on their back and also a footstool if possible. There are also nursing pillows (the u-shaped ones) that help with posture. Salon pas pads (or any menthol pads) are also really helpful, especially before a nap or before sleeping at night.

5. Invest in a good pump and accessories

A good pump is worth more than its price in milk formula, literally. A can of milk formula nowadays costs Php 900-1.5k. In a year you would need to spend Php 10k-18k.

A good breast pump brand like Spectra may be worth around Php 15k, however, it can pump breastmilk for more than a year until you can wean your baby off it. Breastmilk is also healthier for the baby and will keep him off illnesses. The only downside is the upfront investment itself.

When buying a breast pump, don’t forget to measure your nipple size. The flanges (the parts where you fit your breast in) you are looking for should be 2mm bigger than your nipple size. Otherwise, it will likely be difficult as the fit will be painful if the flange is small or the flange can slip off if it’s too big.

As for accessories, breast milk storage cups are also helpful as you can temporarily store the milk in the fridge until the next pumping. You can save more storage bags that way. There are cheap ones in Shopee or Lazada.

Keep in mind though that you shouldn’t mix milk with different temperatures — keep different cups of milk from different pumpings separate until they get to the same temperature inside the fridge. After you’ve collected a bit, then you can combine them all in a storage bag and then put the bag into the freezer.

Another useful accessory is the silicone let-down, milk catcher. One of the popular brands is Haakaa. It helps collect the milk from the other breast while pumping another. Without it, milk can drip from the other breast and it’s a bit disheartening to see it go to waste.

6. Pain is always present, expect Mommy to be cranky most of the time

Nipples are not the same for all, my wife’s nipples are inverted. So our baby has a hard time latching to her. And sometimes because of this, babies become frustrated and bite hard. Sometimes these cause nipple cracks and these seem painful. Unfortunately, pumping does not take the pain away.

We can help them by buying them some nipple cream for relief. Just make sure that it’s baby friendly as they will be ingesting some of it once they nurse.

Another source of pain is swollen breasts. In this case, there is a need to keep pumping or latching to drain the milk and reduce the swelling. I believe that in some cases when the babies cannot nurse, dads should help out by nursing the mom’s breasts themselves.

I’ve personally tried breast milk and it’s not so bad. It’s sweet but not overly so. Let’s not think bad of it — it’s after all specially formulated for humans.

7. Pump swollen breasts or get clogged milk ducts

Clogged milk ducts are also problematic, as it lessens the amount of what you can pump. It can be frustrating because Mommy would eventually feel like she didn’t pump enough but nothing comes out due to blockage.

A warm compress, as well as a massage, helps a lot in unblocking milk ducts. Breast massages should start from the chest area near the shoulder blades and downward towards the breast. Ditto from the armpit area, towards the breast.

8. Diets should be secondary when breastfeeding

A lot of fellow moms recommend soups and foods rich in malunggay to induce milk production. We should recommend our Mommys to eat more as they are actually eating for two.

We can also buy our Mommies Fenugreek and milk supplements to help with milk production. You can also look for “milk bombs” and other similar baked goods online.

9. Setting up a “pumping station” is a good idea once you’re in a groove

Once mommy has established her breast pumping habit, you can set up a “pumping station” which is probably a cart with wheels that contain all mommy needs for her pumping session — the breast pump, milk bags, nipple cream, hairbands, notebook, breastfeeding pillow, power banks, etc.

The good thing about this is you can take your station with you wherever in the house. You can pull it in front of the TV and then watch a k-drama on Netflix while pumping to pass the time.


A breastfeeding journey is that — a journey. It is essential that we help the mother of our little ones go through that journey with all the support we can give as dads. Breastfeeding isn’t just a mother’s responsibility, it’s everyone’s.

I’m hopeful that I could impart at least some helpful advice, especially to all dads out there as well.

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