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If you’ve ever had to pump for your baby before then you know how much of a pain pumping can be! Washing pump parts, storing the breast milk, finding time in your day to actually sit down and pump. It’s not easy.
But sometimes feeding your baby “straight from the tap” doesn’t always work out as planned and so you have to pump if you want baby to still get breast milk. Maybe you’re exclusively nursing, but would like to have a freezer stash just in case. Or you have to be away from your little one since you work. There are so many reasons for pumping.
My little one and I have recently had some issues with nursing, and so I started pumping and giving him breast milk in a bottle. Although he still nurses occasionally, he’s been doing so much better taking his feedings from a bottle rather than at the breast. And I’m so thankful we’ve found a solution that works for us right now. But pumping can definitely be a necessary evil.
The truth is, pumping is a lot of work and it takes a lot of time and effort. But throughout my pumping journey, I have found some really great ways to make the whole process so much easier!
Wash pump parts once a day
I used to wash my pump parts after every pumping session. It took up a lot of time and it made pumping something I really dreaded. All that extra work is one of the main reasons I gave up trying to create a stash when I was exclusively breastfeeding my daughter.
Unless you have a preemie or a baby with health problems, you really only need to wash and sterilize your pump parts once a day. There’s no need to do it after every time you pump. Just throw the parts in a ziplock bag and put them in your fridge in between pumping sessions.
To make it even easier on yourself, you can use these breast pump wipes if you’re pumping at work or on the go. Just wipe down your pump parts and they’ll be ready to use for your next pumping session. Super quick and convenient! And instead of boiling water on the stove in order to sterilize pump parts, I’ve started using these steam bags. I really wish I had known about them a long time ago. All you have to do is put your parts and some water in the bag and pop it in the microwave!
Using a hands-free pumping bra is a must if you’re going to be pumping a lot. You don’t have to hold the breast shields the whole time and so you’re free to do other things. Whether that’s reading a book or tending to kiddos, having your hands free to do other things makes a huge difference. Plus, not feeling so tied down makes time go by a lot faster. I’ve almost starting to look forward to my pumping time now since I’m able to do other things while I pump like scroll through my Facebook feed or do some work on the computer. It’s like my “me time”. Haha!
You can either purchase a pumping bra (this one is awesome!!) or you can make your own to save money. Just take an old sports bra and cut holes for your breast shields!
Make sure you have the right size flanges
This one is pretty important. It can be frustrating to spend so much time pumping and barely get an ounce or two. Making sure you have properly fitting flanges is a must. It could make all the difference in the amount of breast milk you get and in your comfort. I was having some issues with not getting much output, and after doing some research it turns out that the flanges I had were too big. I got some better fitting flanges and I could tell a difference right away!
If you’re not sure if you have the right size flanges, check out this guide!
Pump into the bottles your baby uses
A lot of babies are very picky about what bottles they will take. If your baby doesn’t like the bottles that come with your pump, you may be able to pump right into the bottles your baby likes. For example, Dr. Browns regular neck bottles are compatible with Medela and Ameda breast pumps. And if the bottle doesn’t fit your pump, there are adapters for most bottles.
It makes it so much quicker and easier when you can just pump and feed with the same bottles.
Use a pumping app
This is the easiest way to keep track of your pumping. The one I use is called Pump Log. The features on this are amazing. Unfortunately, the free version only includes 50 records and after that you do have to pay $7 for the paid version, but it really is worth it. I’m able to time pumping sessions on the app and it will alert me once my time’s up. There are also automatic reminders to let you know when it’s time to pump again. It really makes it a whole lot easier on me.
All of these things have made pumping way better for me, and I really hope they were helpful for you, too! Pumping takes a lot of time and dedication, so any little ways to make things easier on yourself can make a big difference.
Have you found any of your own ways to make pumping less of a hassle?