Providing your baby breast milk any way you can is an awesome feeling. For those moms that work outside of the home or breastfeeding didn’t work out, pumping is a viable option to give your baby that liquid gold.
A little bit about me. I’m a full time working mom who works an office job outside of the home. For my first child, I went back to work when he was 12 weeks. I am thankful to have breastfed and pumped for 15 months. I am currently doing the same for my second child. I used the same brand of breast pumps for both kids (this one is my absolute fave) I’ve written about breastfeeding tips before as well as building a freezer stash. Here are some pumping hacks that I’ve learned that may help you along the way.
Enhance your senses while you pump
Perhaps you’ve already heard of bringing or looking at pictures of your baby to help with pumping. But stimulating other senses might bring you more drops of milk. I’ve brought one of his blankies to smell while pumping, and I also play videos where I hear my baby’s cry.
Keep your pump parts cold
When I would pump at work (2-3 times during the work day), I would quickly rinse off my pump parts with warm water, put them in a ziploc bag, and stick them back in the refrigerator. The CDC advises to wash after every pump. However, that may not be feasible if you pump multiple times a day. If budget permits, you can use this steam clean bag to help with cleaning and sanitizing or keep multiple sets of pump parts… speaking of pump parts.
Keep multiple sets of pump parts
I highly recommend keeping multiple sets. Pump parts work best when they are bone dry so having multiple sets will allow some time for sets to air dry. Also, store a spare set in your pump bag just in case a membrane decides to rip on you.
Squeeze and pump at the same time
It may seem like the pump should do all the work, but you can help it along to get a few extra drops. Near the end of the pumping session, I like to squeeze my boobs in synchronization with the pump to see if I can get more milk. Sometimes, it would even lead to another letdown.
Use a nursing cover as a pumping cover
If you have to pump in public, your nursing cover can do double duty as a pumping cover. That way, If you want extra privacy, you can have it, just in case someone walks in on you.
Pumping bra or old sports bra
Most (if not all) pumping moms will tell you to use this handsfree bra while you pump. If your budget doesn’t allow for that, you can also cut small x’s in an old sports bra where your nipples would be. The sports bra will give you a tighter hold to your breast shields than a regular bra would.
So I needed a way to freeze freshly pumped breastmilk until it was time to put them in bigger bags. However, I didn’t want anyone else to mess with the breast milk bags or move them during this process and I also wanted a way to save space. So I got out this meatloaf pan, and stored my bags in there (these breastmilk storage bags are still my favorite to use!). This was the perfect solution because it saved space and if need be, someone could move the pan (vs individual bags) if they had to.
Pre-separate your milk bags
For my childcare provider, I had to prepare the bottles myself for the day. So I got these bags that perfectly stores 16oz of frozen breast milk (4 bags of 4 ounces). This was the average that my baby needed. Once 4 bags were frozen, I would put those 4 bags into this bag, and I knew I had a day’s worth of milk there which would save me time from counting or checking the dates on each individual breastmilk bag. The night before, I would just grab one bagful of bags and be on my way.
To get the breast milk from the breast milk bag to a bottle, use one of these breastshields as the funnel. It will help avoid any spills.
Breast milk “ICEE”
If you freeze and thaw your breast milk, it’s also much easier to pour breastmilk when it’s thawed to a slushie consistency. Less spills in my opinion. Figure out the best thawing time to get to this consistency. Then when it’s time to feed the baby, simple warm it up some more.
- 10 Ways Dads Can REALLY Help with Breastfeeding
- The Best Supplies for Breastfeeding and Pumping Success
- Multitask Mama: 15 Productive Things You Can Do While Breastfeeding