As I get ready to wrap up my second year long stint of exclusive pumping–I’m down to just three 15-minute sessions a day—Woohoo!– I want to share some tips that I’ve discovered a long the way. Maybe one or two of them can make another pumping mom’s life just a little easier!
Build a support system
One of the keys to my ability to pump exclusively long term was having a supportive partner. I’m sure there are moms out there who have pumped without this, but for me it was critical. My husband knew making it work was important to me, so he made sure I had the time and space to do what I needed to. From keeping the girls occupied to handling feedings because I was pumping and helping with the endless washing of bottles and pump parts, he was a big part of my success. So, if you have one, get your partner onboard and tell them explicitly what you need and how they can help!
With my first daughter, my Spectra lived on an end table next to the recliner in our living room. Unless we had company, there it stayed, and there I sat multiple times a day. The second time around, I invested in a rolling storage cart from Ikea. This thing has been an absolute life saver. In addition to the obvious pumping supplies, it holds snacks and water, my iPad, and sometimes even a phone charger. And, let me tell you, I wheel this bad boy everywhere: next to my desk while I’m working from home, into the living room to watch an evening tv show, into the kitchen while I feed the girls breakfast. If you stop by my house unexpectedly, might you get an eye full? Yes, but being able to move locations easily has made pumping life so much better.
Try coconut oil
Okay, hear me out…I’m not one of the people who thinks coconut oil is the answer for every problem. But, it’s definitely the answer for me as an alternative to lanolin ointment. I find pumping almost as hard on my body parts as baby gums, so I needed something to ease the pain. Lanolin a) made me itchy and b) was recommended to be washed off prior to pumping. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is soothing and doesn’t need to be wiped off. In fact, it helps lubricate movement in the flanges for a more comfortable experience. Pro tip: a little goes a LONG way. My $4 jar of solid coconut oil from Trader Joe’s has lasted me an entire year with plenty to spare.
Pump and drive
Do you have a commute? Pump while you drive. Is this legal? Ummm, probably?? Is it safe? Sure, just get strapped in before you take off and unhook after you arrive. I didn’t think it was possible to do with a Spectra, but it turns out an aftermarket car adapter works great. Pumping in the car makes it possible to get in a session to or from work, while out doing errands, or on the way home from a date night. Score one for mom!
Invest in the Extras
These items aren’t necessary for a successful pumping journey, but they sure do make life simpler.
For my second go-round, I waited for the Baby Brezza bottle sterilizer to go on sale and then pounced. This sucker holds 6 bottles, nipples, lids, teethers, you name it. I love the drying function, which prevents having drying racks all over my kitchen counters. Win!
In the same vein, microwavable sanitizing bags are fantastic for keeping pump parts sterile. Tip: the bags say 10 uses, but as long as the seal is still good, they last many more than that.
Finally, having an extra set (or two) of pump parts is a great way to make sure you always have a clean, DRY set at the ready.
As I prepare to walk (skip, run) away from my pumping journey, I hope some of these tips can help you reach your goals as well.
If you’ve pumped, what tips or tricks have you picked up?