Are you a nursing mama who is heading back to work after maternity leave? Are you wondering how you will have the time and feeling overwhelmed by the thought of pumping at work? I know that feeling well and want to help! I have tried many things to save time and increase productivity while pumping. Here are some tips that worked for me!
1. Get an extra pump. (I use the Medela Pump In Style and love it, but there are several other options out there.) You can also find a mom who is done with her pump and ask to borrow or purchase it. (Be sure to purchase new tubing to use with the pump.) Keep one pump at home and one pump at work or in the car. I promise it will be worth it. Not having to carry your pump to and from work every day will make your life a heck of a lot easier.
2. Purchase extra pump supplies. Purchase an extra set of pump supplies and bottles. Again, keep one set at home and one at work. This will prevent you from the dreaded day you forget your supplies and have no way to pump! (Not an experience I ever want to re-live!) Be sure to bring dish soap and a bottle brush with you to work so that you can sanitize your pump supplies after using them.
In the end I actually purchased three sets of pump supplies so that if one set was dirty, I didn’t have to scramble to wash it before pumping.
3. Pump in the car. I always felt pumping took up so much time that I could be using to do something else. I always had to remind myself that I am producing essential nutrients for my little human being to survive. This is not a waste of time. However, sitting down for 30 minutes when you are just heading back to work can feel like an eternity. I used my 30 minute drive to and from work to pump (hands-free, of course) so that I could get in two extra sessions and not feel like I was losing out on time in my day. Be sure to purchase a car adapter if you plan to do this!
4. Pump into milk storage bags. Instead of pumping into the bottles that come with your pump. Try using these pump and save breastmilk bags to pump your milk straight into your milk storage bags. This way they are all ready to be put in the freezer to store for later. This saves you time having to transfer the milk and wash more bottles later.
5. Pump hands free. I don’t know about you, but I always had to pump over my already tight lunch break. I loved pumping hands free so that I could eat (or work) at the same time. There are many ways to situate your tank top or shirt to hold your pump in place, which is what I did most of the time. However, if you want to prevent spills and loss of milk I would recommend using a hands free pumping bra to pump hands free.
6. Store your pump parts in the fridge in between pumping sessions. Save yourself some more time having to wash pump parts by storing them in the fridge between sessions. You can also use Medela’s Quick Clean Pump and Accessory Wipes to clean your pump parts quickly and easily between sessions. I would still recommend sanitizing parts after 2 sessions.
7. Sanitize your pump parts with these Medela Micro Steam Bags . Don’t have time to sanitize your pump parts every time you use them? Quickly wash them, and stick them in this bag with some water. Microwave for recommended amount of time. Parts will be steamed and sanitized for your next session.
8. Consider a hands free pumping system. While the hands free bra is great and all, you still have two bottles sticking out from your chest. This makes it hard to avoid the fact that your main activity at the time is PUMPING. The Freemie hands free and concealable breast funnels are compatible with most breast pumps out there! Freemie breast funnels are made from polypropylene, which is softer than the normal pump shields. It also sits nicely in your bra or tank top and feels a little more natural than pumping into bottles. I have never personally tried this product as I didn’t know about it when I had my babies, but I will for sure be purchasing it if we have more kids! If you have tried it, please leave a comment below and tell me how you liked it.
9. Get a stylish nursing cover. You will find yourself pumping in places you never thought possible, my favorite was always the car. I absolutely love these stylish nursing covers that can also be used as an infinity scarf, shopping cart cover, or car seat cover! Being that it is so versatile, I seem to have it with me at all times and always find a need for it. Just be sure to wash it often!
10. Relax. Many professionals will tell you to pump every time you would normally feed your baby. However, many working moms will tell you THIS IS NOT ALWAYS POSSIBLE. While at work it is easy to get caught up in the many things you need to accomplish in a day so you can leave and get home on time. Try to set a reasonable pumping schedule that works for you. Make pumping your priority at those times but if you miss a session, don’t freak out. If you can only fit in a 10-minute session here and there, do it! Short pumping sessions are better than nothing. The point is, don’t get caught up in the rules and schedules of pumping at work. Do what you can, and do what works for you!
You got this mama!!
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