Pumping is my least favorite part of breastfeeding. At times it can be a lot of extra work and for many it can be stressful. However, I am thankful for the opportunities pumping allows me. I do not have to choose between going to work or having a date out with my husband and providing my baby with breast milk. It provides more flexibility for me and has allowed me to breastfeed for longer than I anticipated. I wanted to share a few essentials that have made pumping easier for me and hopefully will be beneficial to you too.
The first is a double electric pump. It makes pumping easier and faster. Check with your insurance company before you buy or register for one. For both of my kids I received a pump for free! One of them has a compartment for ice packs and pumped milk. The milk can be in there for 24 hours and makes transport very easy. If yours does not have a cooler I would invest in one.
Extra pumping parts are also very handy! My neighbor offered me extra parts (don’t share the membranes or the tubing) and I did not know how nice it was to have them until I had it. It made it more convenient by allowing me to have a set for work and home. It is also nice to have extra pairs if one set is dirty. I also store the pumped milk in storage bottles at work to reduce the chance of milk leaking. It helps to have lots of these bottles. I put these bottles in the fridge until I am ready to put the milk in bags. Buy extra membranes too because they tear easily.
With my first child I never invested in a hands free pumping bra. I decided to buy one this time around I wish I had bought it much sooner. With your hands free it allows you to eat, email, or do whatever you want while you are pumping. I was skeptical of the fit due to one size working for so many bra sizes but I must say it fits well.
The next item you need are milk storage bags. I use the Lansinoh bags. They are cheaper than Medela, can hold a lot of milk and I have not had any problems with leaky bags. As I mentioned early I pump and store milk in a bottle and then transfer it into a bag when I get home. I put it in the freezer lying flat. I do thaw them out in a bowl standing up in the refrigerator and not flat. To transfer the milk to the bottle I cut off the top of the bag right before the seal. This makes it easier to pour. We do not have Medela bottles. We like and use Avent bottles.
One of my problems with pumping is it creates lots of parts and bottles that need to be washed. You can simply clean your parts in hot soapy water but with less time on my hands with two kids I use the Medela steam bags more often. They are so easy. If I have a lot of bottles I sometimes put them into the dishwasher. I think it helps to have a drying rack for all your parts. We have this one. It holds a lot and is easy to clean.
I will leave you with one important time saving tip. Your parts can be refrigerated in a ziploc bag or container during the day between pumping sessions. This really cuts down on cleaning. I learned this tip and a lot of other information from KellyMom. If you have not checked it out please do as it has some great information. The Medela website also has some great information on breast milk and storage guidelines.