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7 Must Haves When Exclusively Pumping
When I first started my breastfeeding journey, I knew I would have to utilize a breast pump when I returned to work. But, I never thought I would be pulling out my breast pump when my daughter was two weeks old, or that I would join the club of exclusively pumping mommas. Since then I have spent 779 hours and I have pumped 14,943 ounces of milk (yes I have tracked every pumping session). Thank goodness I’d already received my free breast pump through my insurance.
For the past 14 months, my breast pump has become my best friend.
My days are planned around the times that I have to pump milk for my daughter. This journey has been far from easy, but I made a commitment to breastfeed and in my case, that meant it had to be done by pumping.
It is important to have the necessary pumping supplies
Throughout my breastfeeding journey, I have experienced many trials and errors and I now feel like a pumping expert! Through my mistakes, I was able to identify several essential items that I need in order to be successful with exclusively pumping. It is important to have the necessary supplies to have an adequate output and keep up with the feeding demand of your baby. You also need to be prepared for pump malfunctions and emergencies because something unexpected is likely to come up.
Pumping Supplies for the Exclusively Pumping Mother:
Good Quality Pump
A double electric pump that has a strong suction helps to stimulate let downs and empty your breasts. When I researched pumps, I was looking for a pump that mimicked the latch of my baby as much as possible. After reading reviews, I decided on the Medela Pump In Style Advanced breast pump. I was attracted to the 2-phase technology and let down feature that allows you to switch phases when you experience a let down. This pump is not advertised as a pump for exclusively pumping mothers, but this pump has continued to functioned for 779 hours and counting!
When I first started using my breast pump, I did not utilize a pumping bra because I was doing breast massages while I pumped. I eventually purchased a pumping bra that changed my life!
I loved having my hands free!
By utilizing the pumping bra, I was able to have my hands free to take care of my baby, use my phone, or practice self-care.
Looking back, adding a pumping bra saved my breastfeeding journey. It allowed me to feel less attached to a machine, and I like that I was able to multitask while I was pumping. I also gained more confidence to pump alone while I was caring for my daughter.
I specifically sought out a pump that included a pumping bag so that my insurance would reimburse the cost. I wanted a bag that would not only hold my pump, but also had enough space for my items. I wanted to cut down on having multiple bags for my items. Keyona purchased a separate pump bag to hold her pump and parts.
A nursing cover may seem unnecessary for an exclusively pumping mother, but it is something that I
have used numerous times during the past year.
I have found myself pumping in some random places!
I use the nursing cover when I may need a little more privacy in a public space (ie gate area prior to boarding a plane, or in the middle of a work meeting).
I am very strict about my pumping schedule because I wanted to maintain my milk supply. Early on, I learned that pumping in the car not only helps me to stay on schedule, but also saves me time.
Pumping when I am driving allows me to have more time at home to interact with my very active daughter.
I figured if I have to spend the time driving, I might as well take care of my pumping needs. So, a car adapter for the pump was of extreme importance.
Please, if you choose to pump and drive, look into your state laws about distracted driving and always use a pumping bra to allow your hands to remain free.
My hand breast pump has saved me during several emergencies. While my electric pump is great, there have been times something has malfunctioned, I have forgotten a part, or I did not have access to electricity, which forced me to use my hand pump. I have found that my hand pump expresses more milk in less amount of time as the electric pump, but of course you are using your hand to pump and can only pump one side at a time.
Clogged ducts are also an unfortunate, and very painful, side effect of breastfeeding. The only way to clear a clogged duct is to express the milk, either by latching or pumping. I have found that it takes at least two pumping sessions to clear a clogged duct with my electric pump, but I can clear the duct in one session with my manual pump.
Spare pumping bottles , a second set of flanges, a second set of tubing, and plenty of membranes are also necessary. I have replaced all of these parts on at least one occasion during the past year. In addition, having a second set of parts, helps to cut down on having to wash all of your parts in between pumps. This was especially helpful for me when I was pumping 8+ times per day.
Pump membranes should be replaced on a regular basis, either monthly or if they no longer lay flat.
This is especially true for an exclusively pumping mother because faulty parts can impact breast milk production. If you are ever concerned about a sudden drop in your output, check the pump parts prior to panicking.
Cooler and gel pack for breast milk. These items are necessary to keep your milk cold until it can be refrigerated or frozen. Also, portable pump cleaning wipes can be helpful to keep your parts cleaned when you do not have access to a sink.
The items that I have listed are items that I keep in my breast pump bag and are with me at all times. Keeping these items, allowed me to stick to my pumping schedule and be less stressed about pumping when emergencies occurred. Having these items on hand will make exclusively pumping a little less challenging.
Have you given thought to what should go in your pumping bag? What items can you not live without? Be sure to comment below!
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