Pumping is definitely hard work and so much is involved besides just the removing milk part! There are some things to make pumping more efficient and less time-consuming and overall just make the process easier. Here are 5 tips to take some of the stress out of pumping and simplify the process:
1. Have a pumping routine. Knowing when you need to pump, how you will clean your parts, and how you will store your milk will take these tasks off your constantly going mind. This will allow you to be on auto-pilot instead of constantly having to think about and figure out when you need to pump next. Set alarms on your phone to remind you of pumping times. Also, being consistent with removing milk will help make sure you maintain your milk supply.
2. Pump hands-free. If you are double pumping and holding those flanges it makes it difficult to do anything else (hello, multi-tasking). Many pumpers like to incorporate breast massage during pumping, look at pictures of their baby, or scroll on social media. If you are pumping at work you might want to check your emails or get on a call during pumping. If you are home you may need to give your baby a bottle while you pump or even start dinner. So how can you do this? Getting a hands-free pumping bra or hands-free milk collection cups can make all these things (and more) possible!
3. Get extra pump parts. Washing parts is usually on the top of the list of things pumpers dread doing most. The CDC recommends washing your pump parts with soap and hot water after each use and sanitizing them once a day. If you are pumping at work or an exclusive pumper then this is a lot of washing! Getting extra pump parts so you have clean kits ready to go can be a game changer (especially for at work or middle of the night pumping). If you received your pump through insurance you may be able to get pump replacement parts once a month at no out-of-pocket cost.
4. Pump into the bottles you plan to use. Pumping into the pump bottles and then transferring to the bottles your baby drinks out of means washing 2x the bottles! If the bottle your baby is using does not fit directly onto your pump you can buy adapters that allow you to connect the bottle. If you are transferring into bags for freezer storage you can even find adapters that allow you to pump directly into breast milk storage bags.
5. Set up a pumping station. A pumping station can be as simple as a basket or bin that contains all your pumping essentials, or if you want to get fancy you can get a 3 tier rolling cart! The purpose of the pumping station is to have all the things in it you might need for pumping so that all you need to do is attach the flanges and get pumping. Some items you might have include; wipes, nipple cream, breast pads, phone charger, snacks, a bottle of water, etc. If you are pumping on the go make sure your pumping bag has all the essentials you use during a pumping session.
Getting into a routine and having everything prepared can make a big difference so get these time-savers in place for a smoother pumping journey!