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Pumping Tips From a Professional

I am a working mom (what mom is not)? What I mean is that I’m the clock in, clock out in hopes of receiving a pay check type working mom. I pumped with both of my children through the first year of their lives, thus I’ve got a good bit of “hook my ta-tas up to a machine and suck me dry” (pumping) experience.

Here’s a breakdown of all that went wrong my first time around and what I’ve learned since.
You. Are. Welcome.

Child 1:

Typical night at home:
In order to keep up my supply and store excess milk for when I was away I had to pump after hours.
1. Gather my electrical pump station belongings and set up (see “Child 1 Work Pumping Session” for details) in a room away from all sleeping beings.
2. Hook everything up. Pump for 15 minutes
3. Break everything down
4. Store milk and clean parts
This was a 30+ minute process.

Child 2:

Typical night at home:
1. Get into bed
2. Snuggle up with my manual pump (I always keep one bedside).
3. Squeeze boob with pump for 10 minutes on each side while watching TV
4. Take full pump and place it in the fridge while grabbing an empty manual pump to bring back to bed with me in case I have a middle of the night or early morning need for it.
5. Hit the sack.
No soundproof isolation room, plugging/ unplugging, noise, or special bra required. No cleaning of pumps/parts necessary.

Child 1:

Monday – Friday Pre-work Pump Prep:
Using the much too small provided black and baby-poo-yellow pump transit bag I would intricately jigsaw all of my pump parts into the bag.
1. Pump parts – machine, tubes, suction cups, bottles, etc.
2. Battery pack in case there was not always an outlet available
3. Baggies for milk storage
4. Freezer packs/ cooler bag
5. Hands-free pump bra
This was a 15-20 minute process that almost always guaranteed I forgot something

Child 2:

Monday – Friday Pre-work Pump Prep:
Grab my cute, large Kate Spade tote and load up.
1. Freemies
2. Manual Pump (incase I decided to save electricity today)
3. Freezer pack and cooler (filled with milk storage bottles) inside
This took a minute or less with very little fear of forgetting something.

Child 1:

Work pumping sessions:
3 30 min pump sessions a day
1. Run to the designated pump area
2. Plug in the machine
3. Attach all wires and parts
4. Take off shirt and bra, put on hands free pumping bra and insert pumps.
5. Turn on pump and proceed to freeze while milking as if I was a dairy cow for 15 minutes.
6. Take off pumps, hands free bra, put normal bra back on, dress and/or adjust clothing.
7. Pour pumped milk into bags (trying not to spill and/or allow baggies to collapse), and place in cooler
8. Wash and dry all parts
9. Pack everything up and return to work.
15 of the 30 minutes was spent setting up and breaking down.

Child 2:

Work pumping sessions:
3 30 min pump sessions a day
1. Shut my office door (lucky, I know, but not the reason why pump life is so much better…)
2. Locate my pump and tubes that I have left at work
3. Insert Freemies into my everyday bra and hook tubes into Freemies
4. Milk as if I was a dairy cow for 15 minutes
5. Unhook tubes from Freemies, pour milk from Freemie cups into steady milk storage bottles and place the bottles into cooler
6. Don’t wash but rather put Freemie cups in fridge to keep bacteria from growing between pumping sessions.
1 of the 30 minutes was spent setting up and breaking down.

Fine Print:

A Manual Pump is a must! My favorite is made by Lansinoh
Why they are the bomb: They are small, silent, and relatively cheap (so buy two or three). Keep one on your night stand, one at work and one in your car/ purse just in case. They’re more efficient (for me anyway) – I often times get twice the milk I would with an electrical pump.

When it comes to electrical pumps:

• Get your health insurance to send you a pump for free 
• Freemie cups are the way to go. No bra switching and or pump holding required.
• If you don’t have Freemies for some crazy reason, get yourself a hands free pumping bra.
• Reach out to your friends who were formerly pumping and ask for their old pumps. With multiples, you can keep one pump at home and one pump at work so you don’t have to schlep to and from.
• If you have your own space/ office, keep the pump plugged in and hidden at work (one less step).
• Only bring home the parts that need to be washed each night. Leave the rest at work.
• Store things in a big, cute bag (as opposed to the too small, dumpy ones that scream “I’m an exhausted pumping mom who doesn’t have time to brush her hair”).
• Because aint’ nobody got time to do the wash every time you pump, stick anything with milk on it in the fridge to keep safe between pumps. Clean all parts once at the end of the day.
• Lastly, if you have the time to take real breaks from work while you’re pumping, more power to ya. Get in Netflix and/or Audible and binge (you deserve it).

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