Pump It Up


Is that your nipple in a vacuum? The first thing to think about when considering which breast pump to get is that they all suck: both metaphorically and literally.  There isn’t a woman in the world that will tell you she loved pumping. It’s a means to an end and a necessary evil, unless you plan to go the formula or attachment parenting routes.

My device of pain: the Medela Freestyle Pump. Don’t let the name fool you, there is nothing freeing about this pump. However, it does offer the efficiency of dual pumping, making it easier to open a bottle of wine while your nipples are being abused. A bonus to this particular pump is the compact “engine” that can be clipped onto your stretchy pants, allowing you to do housework, complete spreadsheets, sit in a restroom stall, and walk on the treadmill while expelling the liquid gold for your little one. If you are like me and will need to pump between board meetings and chats around the water cooler, then this model will definitely pay for itself. You can pump in a public restroom or in your office with ease. Further, if you are a stay-at-home mom who is looking to increase supply or readying your stash for going back to work, you can strap this baby on while ordering your significant other around.

Tips for Pumping at Work:

·      Take a cooler or freezer bag. I really liked the Playtex Freeze To-Go Tote. Just throw it in the freezer in the evenings and it is ready to go, and you can leave it at your desk during the day. This helps you avoid having to use the staff refrigerator and screaming at Bill for thinking he was funny for using your breast milk in his coffee. #thestruggleisreal

·      If your employer isn’t progressive enough to provide a pump space and you don’t have a private office, finding a space to relax can be a challenge. When I got a new job and lost the privacy of my own office, I pumped in a chair in a public women’s restroom with my nursing cover. It made for an interesting first day of work as I introduced myself to colleagues and even the board chair in the restroom and then sat silently while I listened to them pee. 

·      If you are working 40+ hours a week and pumping at least 3 times a day then you will likely experience a decrease in production. No matter how hard that pump pulls your nipple, it can not match your little one’s natural sucker—and your body knows it! Fear not, there are great formulas out there that you can use to supplement AND this does not mean that your child is more or less likely to throw your cat out of a window one day. It is a natural side effect to the demand on your body. NOTE: Avoid using bigger bottles for pumping unless you have the production of a dairy cow otherwise it will just make you feel like a failure.

Tips for Milk Storage:

·      If you are stockpiling, then the freezer bags are ideal.  Freeze in varying amounts as baby’s needs will change, and you don’t want to have to defrost an 8-ounce bag when you really only need 6 ounces, thus forcing your husband to drink a “mommy Russian”. *Frozen breast milk, much like raw meat, should ideally be consumed within 24 hours of defrost.

·      For daily storage, Medela offers ample solutions, including lids with dials to indicate the date of pump. These are helpful for working moms who are trying to stay one day ahead: Friday’s pump = Monday’s bottles. Get bottles in various sizes to accommodate for increasing needs.

When/How to Start Pumping:

·      Going back to work post-baby:

o   I suggest you start the practice of pumping 2 weeks postpartum.

o   Pump right after you’ve fed the baby. This will tell your body to increase supply and help to build your stash right away. This also works whether you are doing timed or demand-based feedings.

o   Use some of this stash to start introducing the bottle after the first month so that your babe will be well versed in bottle feeding by the time you are forced, after a quick 3-month maternity leave, to drop her off at daycare.

·      Staying at home with baby:

o   You can start as early as you want, but you likely won’t feel any real pressure to build a stash right away.

o   Do some intermittent pumping after the first month. This will allow you to build up a modest amount that can be pulled out of the freezer in the event that you get the flu or want to go see a movie.

o   For the more social mommy who wants to resume date nights and regular doctor’s visits, I suggest routinely pumping post-feedings starting after the first month. 

Written by: Alice