Let’s face it, pumping is a lot of work. Besides the time it takes to actually pump, there are parts and bottles to wash, there’s your pump bag that needs to be prepared each day with supplies, and finally there’s the time to feed your baby. But for moms on the go especially working moms, pumping is a necessary part of breastfeeding.
Below are 5 tips to help you save time and make pumping more manageable:
1. Pump into the bottles your baby will use
This may sound obvious but have your baby drink out of the bottles that come with your pump. It will save so much time transferring milk and washing extra containers. Plus this will avoid the dreaded spillage of breast milk! If your baby won’t take the pumping bottle, try to see if your baby’s favorite bottle will screw into the pump. For example, the Dr. Brown bottles fit nicely into the Medela Freestyle pump parts.
2. Ease up on the part washing
Pumps come with many parts that need to be cleaned constantly. To save some time at work, buy an extra set of parts. Consider leaving one set at work just in case you forget them. Another time saver is to put your fully-assembled pump parts in the fridge (covered with a plastic bag) in between pumping sessions. This may not be ideal for all moms but for some it’s ok to skip a washing or two. However, at the end of the work day, all parts should be thoroughly washed and dried. Don’t forget that parts can be washed on the top rack of the dishwasher!
3. Go hands free
They say women are the best multi-taskers so why not free your hands while pumping to get other tasks done. There are several pumping bras out on the market but you can also make your own. Simply choose a front closing sports bra and cut two small openings in the front. For smaller breasted women, you may be able to just slip your pumps into your regular nursing bra. Don’t forget to leave an extra shirt at work and avoid embarrassing milk stains.
4. Pump during your commute
If you have a long commute, consider pumping in the car. Most electric pumps have a car adaptor. You will want to do this with a double electric pump and go hands free. Use a jacket, a large sweater, or even a scarf to keep your pump concealed while driving. You could even check out the latest technology in breastpumps, Freemie. The Freemie breast cups are compatible with most pumps and are easily concealed under your shirt. You could pump on planes, trains, and automobiles.
5. Consider upgrading your pump
Although most commercial double electric pumps will do a great job efficiently removing milk, if you truly need to boost your stash try a hospital grade pump (requires a prescription). Hospital grade pumps are typically more powerful and as a result they require a shorter pumping time. These pumps also tend to be much quieter. However, most insurance companies do not cover these pumps. The most cost effective way may be renting one from your local hospital or an online lactation store.
By Jennifer Horne, Certified Lactation Educator Counselor
Check out our blog “Can I prepare for breastfeeding while pregnant?”