10 tips to make pumping easier
Breastfeeding is generally considered the 'easiest way to ensure your baby is receiving plenty of liquid gold. But what if you have to be away from your baby? Or have to go back to work? Or need a break and want your partner to feed your baby? That's when pumping and expressed breast milk can come in handy.
Just like breastfeeding, expressing or pumping milk is not without its challenges! It is exhausting, time-consuming, and frustrating!
Here are 10 tips on how to make pumping easier.
1. Hands-free pumping
A pumping bra is a life-changing accessory! You’ll be free from holding the breast pump to your breast and free up your hands to do something else instead like reading or taking care of your baby. If you don't want to spend the money on a pumping bra, here is a simple hands-free pumping solution you may want to try. But we do recommend our high quality hands-free pumping Infiniti Bra!
2. Set up pumping stations
To make life more efficient and less stressful, set up two organized pumping stations, one in your kitchen and one by your nightstand, both close to an outlet where your pump can be plugged in. Get each nursing station equipped with clean pump parts, milk freezing bags, nipple cream, snacks, and water. Your body is using tons of energy-producing milk, so be sure to hydrate yourself, A LOT!
3. Set a pumping schedule
In the beginning, we usually need to feed our little ones every two to three hours, so if you are pumping instead, stick to the same schedule so you get your milk supply up and keep it up. Also, think ahead of time (Do you have an appointment today when baby usually eats? Is your baby sleeping peacefully, and is likely he/she will skip a feeding?) and plan your pumping sessions accordingly. Just knowing when you are supposed to pump will help you feel more relaxed.
4. Don’t constantly wash the pump parts
On top of everything else, washing all these little parts is annoying and exhausting. The good news is that you don’t always have to wash your pump parts between each use. Just wipe them down with a paper towel or breast milk wipes, put them in the refrigerator, and wash them at the end of the day. Easy Breezy and time-saving.
5. Keep a second set of pump parts
Another way to keep you from frantically washing pump parts and wasting your precious time. Additionally, you never know when a part could give out and needs replacing.
6. Pump directly into bottles or milk storage bags
Convenience is the number one thing for pumping moms! So, use what’s out there to help and directly pump your milk into your feeding bottles, or into bags that can either be frozen or used later to fill up your baby's bottle.
7. Have a portable pump
Pick a pump with the hands-free option. It’s a game-changer when you don’t have outlets around, like when traveling. It’s also a good backup in case your electric pump has an issue or if you lose power at home. Pumps and all their accessories can be expensive, but remember to check with your insurance, many will cover them all!
8. Make it me-time
Pumping sessions usually take 10 to 20 minutes, meaning you spend more than two hours a day pumping. Doubling a pumping session with an activity you enjoy — like reading our blogs, calling a friend, or reading the latest celeb gossip — is a nice way to relax and gives you something to look forward to. The go-to is to try and keep yourself occupied while you pump, because many pumping moms feel guilty or stressed staring at the cups while pumping, especially during a supply drop.
9. Always keep in mind the reason why you are pumping
You are providing the best food on earth for your baby. Thanks to you, your baby is getting that immune-boosting, comforting liquid gold, perfectly made for their very own needs. Be proud of your choice and journey!
10. Let go of your fear of making other people feel awkward
Don’t refuse to pump because people are around. You have a baby to feed. If you need to feel more comfortable, pumping covers can help. Just remember – you’re doing your best for your baby, and motherhood can be messy!
Don’t be disheartened if some days are more difficult than others. Pumping is a learned skill, the more you practice the better and more proficient you will become, and one day, you’ll be a pro!
If you are struggling with expressing, reaching out to moms who have mastered the (exclusive) pumping lifestyle can be very helpful; seeing a lactation consultant can provide an invaluable source of support as well.
Are you currently pumping, or have you? What are your best tips? We’d love to know!