Hey mama friends! My name is Kelley and you can find me over at Love Like Crazy. Claire shares so many wonderful tips and advice for new mamas (not to mention the awesome giveaways) – that I am thrilled to be over here today!
When pregnant, you have wonderful plans of exactly how precious your newborn is going to be, their easygoing temperament, and how much they are going to sleep. Pretty soon reality hits, and you realize who is in charge. For the rest of your life.
Breastfeeding was no different. We were doing well in the beginning, but when little miss aint-nobody-got-time-to-eat realized how quickly she could get a bottle down, she no longer wanted to nurse. She decided she would rather starve. Anyone else have a stubborn little one on their hands?
Since I believe in the health benefits of breast milk, I started my journey of exclusively pumping. At nine months old, we are still going strong. We meaning, me pumping, and Olivia eating like a horse.
You guys, being a mama is hard. And we’ve got to stay together. Which is why I wanted to share my tips for exclusively pumping.
First of all, Claire and I share the same belief in doing what is right for you and your child. If that means formula from day 1, go for it. Pumping exclusively? Love it. Breastfeeding exclusively? Fabulous. Crack? Okay, line drawn.
Let’s get to the point, shall we?
- The pump. Check with your insurance about pumps. My best tip? As part of the Affordable Care Act your health insurance plan has to cover the cost of a breast pump. It can be a crappy little hand pump, but take what you can get.
- Invest in a good pump. I have both the Medela Pump in Style Advanced and the Medela Freestyle, and I love both for different reasons. Read reviews and get a good pump. A bad pump can end your supply in just a few days.
- Have a hands free pumping bra. It seems silly and expensive at the time, but it will change your life. Pumping for hours every day can get monotonous, and this makes it so much more bearable.
- Have a second set of pump parts. One can be cleaning or drying while you are using the other. Some people have many sets. Two worked perfectly fine for me.
- Medela sells breast pump cleaning wipes for when you don’t have access to soap and water. Get a packet. I ended up having to pump in the car a few times and these were lifesavers.
- Have a large bowl, or if you can, a sink that is just for washing pump parts. Add soap and hot water and let sit until the next pumping session. Just rinse – and set on a drying rack (we love the Boon Lawn). No more scrubbing parts with teeny brushes and not getting the nooks and crannies clean.
- Pick a schedule and stick to it. You might have to change things around as naps change, but try to find times when you don’t need to entertain little ones, or best times at work. You’ll need to pump at least 5-6 times a day (or as many as 8-10) – and never miss a session. Your supply might never recover.
- Do something you enjoy while pumping. I would catch up on Instagram / Facebook – read articles – my husband and I would watch TV once Olivia went to bed. It’s very easy to hate pumping – so do something that is enjoyable every time.
- Eat and drink. This one is so important. You are feeding your baby. If you are surviving off of M&Ms (yum) and air – you aren’t going to feed your baby well. Pair a healthy lunch with your M&Ms and you are all set. You need to drink just as much water as you did while pregnant. If I didn’t drink enough water, my supply would drop by 5 or more ounces. Aim for an additional glass every pumping session to keep yourself on track.
- Eat milk producing foods: oatmeal and flaxseed – I noticed a difference. Put flaxseed meal in your oatmeal, or find ways to incorporate one or both into your day.
- Breast milk can be stored in the fridge for a few days – so go ahead and refrigerate your pump parts in between sessions and wash them at the end of the day. This saves you on cleaning time.
- At work, pack two ziplock bags: “clean” and “dirty.” At the end of the day, put the parts in the dirty bag and wash them at home. It saves time at work, and is probably cleaner than your work’s sink.
The Freezer Stash
- For storage guidelines, go here.
- Target brand storage bags work just as well as the other brands – save some cash this way.
- Don’t store more than 4-6 ounces in each freezer bag. Some days you might only need a few ounces extra, and if each bag holds 10 ounces, you are thawing much more than you need.
- Rotate the freezer stash to keep it current. Take a gift bag and cut a hole in the bottom of one side of the bag. Store the bags flat, with the newest on top. Take from the hole at the bottom. Then you don’t have to dig through drawers of breast milk to find the oldest.
- Always thaw breast milk bags in a bowl. Sometimes the bags break a little when frozen, and you wont know until there’s a puddle in your fridge. If there’s ever a time to cry over spilled milk – it’s right now. You worked so hard to make that, don’t let it leak everywhere.
Lastly, do what works for you. Once it affects your ability to be a good mom – stop. You know what is right for you, your baby, and your family.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. I’ll encourage you, cry with you, talk you out of throwing your pump into the next major highway you pass, and remind you that you are an awesome mama!
Whitney B. says
I'm an exclusive pumper too I love this post! It's so hard to find others who are doing the same. My little man was born tongue tied, nursed like a champ every time we saw a lact. consultant, but then when we got home it was a screamfest! I felt terrible and shed lots of tears over it. Then I got my pump for our insurance company, thank goodness (so glad you are sharing that info, many women don't realize it's totally covered now) and now I've been pumping for 6 months. It's worked out great for us. The advice on refrigerating pump parts, hmmmmm totally never though of that and now I'm definitely going to do it! I wrote about my experience with pumping here: http://southernhope1229.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-b-word-no-not-that-one.html Going to check out your blog now!
Claire C. says
I would have brought the lactation consultant from the hospital home with me if I could! Thanks for sharing your link with us, I should have added a linkup for others with similar stories – oh wait I'll do that now, come back in a little and you will be able to submit your link!
Kelley @LoveLikeCrazy says
Good for you! It is such a commitment and is hard to find others in a similar position! I always found it awkward when doctors would say "breast or bottle?" .. well, bottle, but.. breastmilk. You feel like you are in a world of your own. What a great thing you are doing for your son! Checking out your post now!
Kelley @LoveLikeCrazy says
Thanks for having me Claire!! 🙂 I am so glad you made this a link up! Now we can have one place for pumping mama's to share all of their tips!
Whitney B. says
Thanks y'all!! I know what you mean about using a bottle, I get those judgy looks like "she's giving her baby formula" from other women, I wish I could explain to them that 1. they shouldn't be judging and 2. it's breastmilk and it lasts for 5 hours at room temperature 😛 so there!