Spending a lot of time pumping breast milk for your baby? Here are six products that can make pumping easier and more comfortable.
A Hands-Free Pumping Bra
If you're pumping more than once a day, a hands-free bra can be life-changing. Instead of holding up your breast shields up for 15 minutes or more, you're free to work on a laptop, read a book, or eat dinner while you pump - the possibilities are endless!
Another good thing I've found about using a hands-free bra is that it makes pumping less onerous, so you're likely to do it for longer. For example, if I'm holding up my flanges, I'll watch the clock and stop at exactly 15 minutes. But if I'm pumping while working, I might not even notice that I'm past my normal pumping time and keep going for another 5 minutes. This extra time can be good for milk supply!
Extra Sets of Pump Parts and Bottles
If you only have one set of pump parts, you can end up spending a lot of time washing them over and over again. It's easier to have extra sets and then wash them all in one batch. Also, in my experience, pump parts work better after they've air dried, so you want to have enough sets that they have time to dry after washing before you need to use them again.
If you regularly pump outside of the home, it's also not a bad idea to leave a set of spares wherever else you pump - at work, for example. Inevitably you will forget your breast shields or a valve, and it is no fun to have to scramble.
Even though you'll likely be in private, it's a good idea to pump wearing a nursing shirt rather than a normal shirt. This is because it's much more comfortable - the bottles that are attached to the pump parts can be chilly against your skin, and when you're exposed with your shirt pulled up, you can get cold. Stress and discomfort aren't good for your milk supply, so it's important to stay warm enough.
Undercover Mama has great options that allow you to stay mostly covered up and comfortable while you pump.
At first, this may seem like an odd thing to need for pumping breast milk, but the CDC actually recommends you wash your pump parts in a separate basin because of possible bacteria contamination from a sink. Wash basins are fairly inexpensive, and you can stick your pump parts in them until it's time to wash them.
If you experience any pain with pumping, Pumpin Pals can be a great investment. These are breast shields with a slightly different design than traditional flanges, as they have a more rounded tunnel when the nipple enters the flange.
Another great thing about Pumpin Pals is that the design allows you to lean back in a chair without spilling while you pump instead of having to sit up straight. They make things more comfortable all around!
Another thing that can make pumping more comfortable is lubricant. There are tons of options that might work - lot of moms use lanolin or another nipple cream, but plenty of others use olive oil or coconut oil. You can even use your breast milk! It might make sense to try out a few and see what works best for you.
Guest Post written by Amanda Glenn from Exclusive Pumping