Updated: Aug 7, 2020
There are many reasons why mothers pump, or express milk, to feed their little one. For some it is their only option besides formula. For others, it is a reprieve from the cracking of sore nipples caused by their newborn. Then, for many, it is the only way to continue their little one’s breast milk diet when they return to work.
Personally, I started pumping when my children were only a week old. I read a lot of blogs that suggest not pumping until at least six weeks postpartum, but it was recommended by my pediatrician as a way to see how much milk my daughter was getting in each feeding.
I didn’t dislike pumping, though I preferred nursing both of my children. It wasn't until I went back to work that I truly despised it. After my first child, my pumping sessions would take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour! It wasn't until returning back to work after my second child that I learned how to get the most out of a pumping sessions in a very short amount of time. I realized that I needed to run my pumping sessions the way I ran my classroom. There had to be a system!
Continue reading to avoid making my first-time-mom mistakes
Just like my lessons need an objective, materials and schedule, so did my pumping sessions. The objective was to try to get 6-8 ounces of breast milk out of each pumping sessions. The pump is only extracting milk for about 20 minutes so any additional time is spent setting up and breaking down my pumping station. Once I adjusted my schedule and materials, I was able to get my pumping sessions down to 30 minutes, sometimes less!
Here’s how I did it!
You need a space where you can always keep your materials. I kept mine in a closet, but a large drawer, or locker will work too. If your materials share a space with other items that are not pumping related, like mine did, it would be wise to find a bag or old basket or bin that isn’t being used around the house and store all your materials in one space. The key is efficiency, which cannot happen if you are looking for materials because they are scattered about.
If you pump at home as well, I would suggest having two sets of everything so that one set of materials can stay at work (In an ideal world you would have three sets and keep one set in the car for emergencies😎).
Every great pumping session begins with:
· A Pump, ideally double electric (or a hand pump for the car)
· Pumping Bags or bottles, I preferred the bags when I was going to freeze the milk because it thaws quickly when you have a screaming, hungry baby in your arms.
· Hand Sanitizer
· A Pumping Bra, in my opinion there is no point in having a double electric pump without this item. It holds the breast shields in place, so you can be hands-free!
· Tissue Paper
· A Permanent Marker
· Breast Pump Wipes, ESSENTIAL for a quick clean up process
· Nursing Pads, disposable or reusable, I like the convenience of disposable
1. Take your arms out of your shirt, but leave it around your neck
2. Take your bra straps off, but leave the band around your torso and pull it down
3. Put on your pumping bra
4. Use some hand sanitizer
5. Assemble your pump and attach the pumping bags
6. Put the pump’s breast shields in bra and attach your assembled pump
7. Take 3 deep breaths to relax and get your body ready for a great pumping session!
8. Begin to pump for 15-20 minutes
9. Detach the pumping bags and use the permanent marker to label the bags with date and amount expressed.
10.Place pumping bag in the breastmilk cooler
11.Use the breast pump wipes to clean the pump parts (I like to use the tissue paper to soak up larger droplets of milk and as a mat for pump parts to air dry while I clean the other pieces.
12.Take off the pumping bra and put your regular clothes back on properly
13. Put nursing pads in place to catch any leakage
14. Place all your materials in your bag or basket and place the milk in the freezer.
And there you have it! Now you can have your cake and eat it too! Well in this case, continue to breastfeed and work outside the home 😊 Good Luck!