Invest in a pumping bra.
Getting a hands-free pumping bra can be a game-changer, and it allows you to relax during pumping sessions and frees up your hands for tasks like breast massage, working on your laptop, or caring for your baby or other children.
Get extra pump parts.
Washing pump parts after each session can be tiresome. Having additional sets of flanges, duckbills, and backflow/diaphragms can reduce the number of times you need to wash parts daily. Check with your Durable Medical Equipment (DME) company or insurance provider, as they may cover monthly replacement parts.
Pump into your baby’s bottles or breast milk bags.
Instead of using the bottles that come with your pump, consider using adapters to pump directly into the bottles your baby drinks from or breast milk storage bags. Adapters are available for both standard and wide-mouth bottles. Pumping directly into the bottle you will use saves you time and reduces the number of bottles you need to wash.
Set up a pumping station or rolling cart.
Designate a specific area in your home where you can keep all your pumping essentials organized and easily accessible. Consider using a small table, a shelf, or a rolling cart to hold your breast pump, pumping accessories, spare parts, storage bags or bottles, cleaning supplies, and any other items you use during pumping sessions. Having everything in one place eliminates the need to search for items and creates an efficient and convenient space for your pumping needs.
Have a pumping bag and supplies for on-the-go.
Exclusive pumping will never be sustainable if you can’t pump easily outside your house. Choose a spacious bag that comfortably fits your breast pump, accessories, and other essentials like nursing pads, spare clothing, and a cooler for storing expressed milk. Keep your pumping bag stocked with extra pump parts, storage bags or bottles, wipes for cleaning, and a portable power source if needed. This way, you’ll be prepared for pumping sessions outside the home, whether at work, running errands, or during travels.
Experiment with pump settings.
Explore different pump settings, such as suction strength and cycling speed, to find what works best. Some moms respond better to slower, deeper suction, while others prefer faster cycles. Experimenting with pump settings can help you find the sweet spot for optimal milk extraction.
Use your hands.
Incorporating hand expression while pumping can significantly increase milk yield and reduce pumping time. Research by Dr. Jane Morton reveals that mothers who use their hands during pumping produce 48% more milk than those who solely rely on the pump. Another study found that milk expressed with hands during pumping contains twice as much fat. Combining hand expression with pumping, you can effectively and efficiently drain your breasts, making the pumping experience less time-consuming.
Remember, each exclusive pumping journey is unique, and you must find the strategies and techniques that work best for you. With perseverance, support, and self-care, you can successfully navigate the world of exclusive pumping and provide your baby with the valuable benefits of breast milk.