The journey into motherhood is completely exhilarating and exhausting. Feelings of joy, excitement and anxiety are sure to overcome any new mother. In the days after the birth of a baby, that little one will spend much time eating and sleeping. A new mother is consumed in the process of feeding the baby, changing the baby, sleeping when the baby sleeps, repeat, over and over again for the first few months.
Choosing how to feed a newborn baby is not easy for any mother. Some mothers exclusively breastfeed, some exclusively pump, some do both, and some choose to go the formula route. Though it’s a topic of debate, there is no right or wrong way, and every Mama is making the best decision for their baby.
For those who do choose to breastfeed and/or pump, there is no sound more dreaded than the hee-haw of a breastpump. According to KellyMom.com, “A normal newborn baby nurses on average 8 to 12 times in a 24 hour period. Most experts suggest it is best if mom can come close to matching what the normal nursing baby would do at the breast, and recommend she pump about every two hours, not going longer than three hours between sessions…” That means if a mother decides to exclusively pump she will spend a lot of time doing just that. And even mothers who breastfeed and pump will need to dedicate time out of every day at the pump; and what a tedious task that is! It’s so easy to get consumed by the repetition of pumping, but luckily there are a few ways to cut corners. Keep reading for 20 ways for new moms to save time while pumping!
20 Set Up A Pumping Station Wherever You Pump
“One way that you can make sure to maximize your time is by having everything organized when it’s time to pump. Having everything you need in one spot will prevent you from running around grabbing things...” writes FindYourMomTribe.com. Every Mama’s pumping station might look a little different but it would be wise to make sure you have the following in your station; your pump, any lotion/cream you use, water bottle, nursing pads, extra pump parts, a phone charger, and most importantly, snacks. Don’t forget to set-up a special station for yourself wherever you pump, including one for at work!
19 Use Milk Saver Storage While Nursing Or Pumping
VeryWellFamily.com writes, “Milkies Milk-Saver is a flexible container made to fit inside a bra or snug tank top to collect breast milk that leaks from the side not being nursed or pumped. Some women do leak a lot of breast milk that is otherwise wasted, so for those women, this could be a useful product.” There are several versions of this product available, and the concept is the same with all of them. Use them on whatever side you are not nursing or pumping off of to collect any otherwise wasted breastmilk. Every drop counts and more milk produced is more time saved!
18 Pump On The Go
As a former pumping mama myself, it took me way too long to get comfortable with this one, but once I started, I wished I would have done it sooner! Get comfortable pumping in your car; whether you’re driving or riding as a passenger. You can even buy car adaptors for most pump models. Pumping to and from work can be such a huge timesaver! It also comes in handy when and if you need to travel. ExclusivePumping.com recommends being aware of your safety, “Before pumping and driving, you should evaluate your ability to drive and pump without getting distracted, your range of motion with your pump, and any local laws and statutes. Safety is the most important thing. Do not pump and drive if you are not confident you can do it safely and legally.”
17 Pump First Thing In The Morning
If you are lucky enough to be able to get up before baby, be sure and sneak in a pumping session right when you wake up. Ameda.com states that many moms get the most milk from a morning pump session. Again, more milk equals more time saved! If you have a pump station set-up, as recommended above, this should make your morning pump session even more of a time-saver! Why not try eating breakfast while you pump to save even more time? Foods you can eat with one hand are a pumping mama’s dream, so stock up on granola bars, fruit and breakfast burritos!
16 Set A Timer
An obvious way to save time while pumping is to set a timer. Everyone’s pumping sessions probably vary a bit in time but you likely know exactly how long you need to pump each session. It’s easy to get distracted while pumping so having a timer set will help you stay on track. There are many apps available that allow you to track your pump sessions, baby’s feedings, diaper changes, naps, etc...The Baby Tracker app even has an alarm feature which is perfect for this time saving tip! And even better? It’s free, as long as you’re okay with the basic version, which does the trick just fine!
15 Pump While Nursing
If you are nursing your baby, pumping on the opposite side that your little one is nursing on, is another time saver. One Mom over at RookieMoms.com wrote the following advice on pumping while nursing, “I positioned the baby in the clutch or football hold on my left side and used the pump on my right side. I won’t lie. The first two times, it was very awkward and required my husband’s help to hold the baby in place. But by day three, we had it down solo. I am now getting 6-7 ounces per session, and this method saves precious nap time from being used up by pumping.”
14 Buy A Mini Fridge For Under Your Desk
This tip is a must for any working and pumping Mama. Invest in a mini fridge to have right at your desk, if allowed. This will allow you to not only have quick access to your milk storage, but will also allow you to refrigerate your pump parts in between pumping so you can skip washing parts. BreastfeedingHubb.com states, “Many of the backpacks have cold storage, but if you can afford it, the strategy and benefits here are two-fold.Not only can you keep your own breast milk for sure cold, but you can also stash plenty “so hungry always at work” snacks.”
13 Pump Hands Free
“Using a hands-free pumping bra means you can collect milk for your baby while you’re on your phone or laptop, reading, having a snack, or playing with an older child. It also makes it much easier to operate the breast pump controls and deal with your bottles or bags of expressed milk,” writes Medela.com. Hands-free pumping is a game changer and will allow you a bit of freedom while you pump. You can buy pumping bras, or even DIY one, just check Pinterest for a tutorial! There are even specialty pumps you can buy, such as the Freemie pump, that allow you to be hands-free.
12 Be Prepared For Plans To Go Wrong
Plan, schedule, get organized, set timers, you can do it all and sometimes things are just not going to work out in your favor. If you follow the tips on this list, then you should be pretty set for any possible scenario, but it’s important to take a look at your own routine and determine where there might be any room for a flaw. Maybe you need to put extra batteries in your pumping station, or maybe you need to stash a manual pump at work, it’s important to be prepared for any possible scenario, as it will save you time in the long run!
11 Buy A Pump For Home & Work
Having a secondary pump is another way to save yourself a lot of time. This will prevent you from having to pack up your pump to and from work and/or anywhere else you might travel to frequently. Whether you choose an electric or manual pump as your secondary pump, having two pumps will pay for itself in the time you save. When choosing a breast pump to use at work, MomLovesBest.com suggests the following, “It can be embarrassing when you’re pumping in the workplace and your co-workers hear a loud, suction noise coming from the other room. Some machines are definitely quieter than others.”
10 And Extra Pump Parts!
Don’t forget extra pump parts! Babble.com suggests, “Unless you really love doing dishes, you need at least 2 sets of pump parts. This is especially essential if you're out of the house for the day and can't wash the parts between pumping sessions.” As I mentioned earlier in this list, adding extra pump parts to your designated pumping stations will save you time and make your life easier in the long run! Pumpables.com suggests the following on replacing pump parts, “The most common cause for a decrease in milk supply while pumping are worn out parts. Worn out pump parts decrease the performance of the pump and also make the pump work harder, putting unnecessary stress on the motor contributing to a shortened overall lifespan of the pump.” Be sure and check your breast pump manual for instructions on when and how to replace any necessary parts.
9 Set A Schedule
“Spontaneity has its place in your life. But if you are planning to exclusively pump and want to pump as much milk as you can, you need to put a schedule in place,” writes MomLovesBest.com. Setting a schedule is so important for pumping moms, especially if you’re headed back to work. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the daily grind of your job, so be sure and set a schedule. Block out your pumping times on your online calendar and set those alarms to remind you when you to take your pumping breaks! Your work will be there when you get back!
8 Have A Pumping Routine
Setting a pumping routine for yourself will help you relax and save you precious time. If each session looks pretty much the same, it will go more smoothly. A sample routine might include the following; settling into your spot, playing music, grabbing a photo of baby to look at, and enjoying your favorite snack. PumpingSecrets.com suggest, “Soften lighting in the room. Focus on a framed photo of your baby. If you are in front of a computer, put baby's picture on the computer screen, or even better, select a slide show view of the pictures saved on your computer.”
7 Make Labels Ahead Of Time
If you get yourself into a nice pumping schedule and routine, as suggested above, you will be able to make labels for your breast milk in advance. Etsy even has some cute templates for sale! When you have some time on the weekend, you can fill them out in advance with the date and time, leaving the amount pumped the only item you need to fill out when you actually pump. DailyMom.com provides a tip on thawing and using your breast milk, “When you need milk from your supply, always use the oldest first. Don’t worry if the oldest is weeks or months old. It is true that the composition of your milk changes over time to suit your growing baby’s needs. However, even older milk, as long as it has been properly stored and handled, is beneficial to your little one.”
6 Pump Directly Into Bags Or Bottles You Will Feed With
Pumping your milk directly into the milk storage bags can save you a lot of time in switching the milk over from bottle to bag and washing bottles. It might not seem like a lot of time but it all adds up eventually. If you are going through your expressed milk rapidly, as some mom’s do, it might even be helpful to pump directly into the bottles you will feed with. There are pumps specifically designed for pumping directly into the bags, but you can also find some DIY tutorials on Pinterest if you want to give it a try!
5 Ensure You Have A Good Fit
A more efficient pump means less time spent at the pump! VeryWellFamily.com writes, “Not having the right size breast pump flange can result in problems. For instance, you may not be getting the most amount of breast milk possible and this may lead to blocked milk ducts. A poor fit may also cause nipple damage, including rub marks and cuts on the nipple. Many women notice a difference almost immediately after finding the right sized flange. The first thing that they notice is that using the breast pump is more comfortable. After that, the amount of breast milk that they are able to pump begins to increase.”
4 Buy A Hand Pump
“Manual breastpumps (hand expression pumps) are often overlooked when moms are shopping for a breast pump, but these small pumps offer so many benefits — they require no electricity, are powered by hand, and offer a quick and easy pumping option for busy moms…” writes AeroflowBreastPumps.com. Having a manual pump on hand is beneficial when you are on the go. Any pumping Mom has likely been in a situation where they really wished they had a hand pump, whether you’re at an event or our traveling for work, these little pumps sure come in handy! Stashing one in your car will likely save your butt in a lot of scenarios!
3 Try Reusable Sanitizing Bags
Pump, wash, sanitize and then you get to do it all over again! The joyous routines of being a pumping Mama. Livestrong.com states, “There are many ways to sterilize bottles, and using a microwave sterilizer is quick and easy. They use steam to sterilize, and if you follow the instructions, they are relatively safe to use.” There are a lot of different brands of microwave sterilize bags on the market, but they all do the same thing, so just choose what works best for you! Many of them are even reusable. Add some to your pumping station at work and home.
2 Experiment & Find What Works Best For You
There is likely to be a learning curve for you as you settle into your new life as a pumping Mom. I know that for myself, breastfeeding and pumping was the hardest part about becoming a mother. The tips in this list are designed to give you some tips on how to save yourself some time as you settle into your new routines. Hopefully you can use some of them to find what works best for you! MotherLove.com suggests trying to relax while pumping can even help your production, “You may find some deep breathing, soothing music, or other comforts which relax you also help to produce a let down.”
1 Ask For Help & Support
“Remember that there are many people, from other nursing moms to lactation consultants, who can help. Don't hesitate to call on the support you have available,” writes MotherLove.com. Asking for support and help is so important to your mental health. Call up your Mom and see if she can come do a load of laundry for you, ask your bestie to bring you dinner, ask your partner to pitch in around the house or take any other children out for a bit. That’s what friends and family are for and utilizing the resources available to you is so worthwhile!
References: www.kellymom.com, www.verywellfamily.com, www.exclusivepumping.com, www.ameda.com, www.play.google.com, www.rookiemoms.com, www.breastfeedinghubbs.com, www.medela.com, www.momlovesbest.com, www.babble.com, www.pumpables.com, www.pumpingsecrets.com, www.dailymom.com, www.aeroflowbreastpumps.com, www.motherlove.com, www.livestrong.com