Pumping is a lot of work. Deciding to exclusively pump is a lot of work! Not only do you have to pump, but you also have to prepare bottles, wash bottles, wash pump parts, manage your pumped stash and feed the baby! Yup. A. Lot. Of. Work.
I lasted nine months and could’ve gone longer too, but supply and demand were against me. So what worked for me? Here are a few things I did to make exclusive pumping easier.
Go Hands-Free! You’ll Thank Us Later!
My life changed when I bought a pumping bra! Queue the heavenly music. This is absolutely the most important thing. If you’re going to be spending hours pumping, you need to be able to do other things at the same time, especially if it’s binging shows from our list! This worked for me when I went back to work. I was able to pump and get stuff done on the laptop.
A Comfortable Pumping Location is Key!
It is important to pump in a place where you feel comfortable. Though this may be difficult to do if you are pumping away from home, try to be relaxed and find something to keep you occupied while pumping. Find a comfortable chair that supports your back as well. It could be a while!
A Pumping Schedule Definitely Matters!
My pumping schedule mimicked the baby’s needs. I pumped every three hours, beginning in the morning and ending at night. Each pumping session lasted 15 minutes maximum.
Use the Proper-Size of Flange!
This was a game-changer. After switching to a larger size, pumping was more comfortable and more productive. It was clear that the smaller flange decreased milk production as I saw a great improvement after switching from the standard size.
Guess what? Let-Down is Important!
Before pumping, placing a warm compress on your breast, gently massaging your breast in a circular motion and thinking about your baby. The latter really helps, especially when pumping away from home and the baby was not present.
Bring on the Water!
Always have water nearby as pumping makes you thirsty. Nutritious snacks on hand is also a great idea.
Back Up Plans are Necessary!
Do you know how many times I sat down, ready to pump and then realized I forgot the flange or the connectors! It was becoming a habit. I purchased additional parts to keep in my pumping bag so I would not forget.
Once I figured these things out, life became a lot easier for me!
If you have other tips for our new Mamas and Mamas-to-be, share them in the comments below!