Hi Everyone! Today, I am going to be talking specifically about (ready for it…) ‘pumping’. I will be sharing with you my top essential items needed for pumping at home AND on the go! This post is a continuation of my previous topic, Breastfeeding Essentials for the New Mom. Don’t worry, if you missed it, you can catch up here.
When it comes to the idea of pumping, many people are misinformed or automatically get scared away by the thought of it. Why would I want to be hooked up to some device- it’s so unnatural? Well, you’re not the only one to think this. I am here to tell you that it is NOT as bad as you are thinking. In fact, it’s the most unnatural, natural, thing- and… it’s really kind of easy.
When Landon was first born, I didn’t plan to start pumping until we were around a month into our breastfeeding routine. I wanted to get a hand of breastfeeding first and then worry about pumping later. I did know however, that I wanted to start pumping early on- in order to secure a hefty ‘back up’ supply of milk for my freezer stash. To my surprise however, I actually started pumping on the first day Landon came home from the hospital.
No one forewarned me what ‘getting your milk supply in’ really meant…
I mean, maybe I should have had an idea of what would happen- but to be honest, my mind was in so many other places that I wasn’t waiting looking at the clock for my colostrum to turn into real breast milk. I woke up the second morning after being home, to find my breasts fully engorged (I’m talking— HUGE) and leaking all over my shirt [TMI? Sorry- this is a breastfeeding post hehe]. I wasn’t sure what to do. It was my first time going through all of this ‘first time momma’ stuff. Because Landon had recently eaten and it wasn’t time to feed him again, TJ suggested that I try pumping. Way to go hubby! Good suggestion.
After some trial and error, here are my recommendations for pumping AT HOME…
- A trustworthy pump. I use the Medela in Style Advanced Pump and have been very happy with it. Check with your insurance and see what hands-free pump they will cover, so that you don’t have to pay a dime. Yes, finally something free.
- Pumping phalanges. Any good pump will come with all of the things that you need. With your pump you should receive phalanges, tubing, at least 2 bottles for milk collection, and a wall adapter for charging.
- A good handsfree pumping bra. I could never sit there manually pumping one side at time. Make it easy and get one of these.
- Milk supply bags for easy, fast, freezer storage. I have been through 3 different milk storage brands and my favorite is definitely the Up and Up bags from Target. They have a double zip and most importantly can freeze flat.
Now, let’s talk about pumping ON THE GO…
One of my all time favorite pumping items EVER is my hands-free Freemie pump. I still thank the nurse who recommended these to me. They are lifesavers for the working mom! With your Freemie you can pump in public- without anyone knowing! Yes, I am serious. Because I am a full-time Registered Nurse, it has always been challenging finding the time to pump. With this hands-free pump it is SO EASY. All I do is insert the cups into my bra and hook up the tubing to my Medela pump and pump away! I use it, conveniently, when I am charting at work. I have so many co-workers tell me that they had no idea I was pumping. It’s so quiet and you can maneuver the tubing to go under your shirt, so you literally don’t see a thing. The best part about the Freemie is that you can keep your shirt on and remain completely covered and concealed while pumping.
What Essentials you will need…
1. Freemie Collection Cups. You can purchase the entire kit and caboodle (cups and pump together) or the cups individually. Just make sure the freemie is compatible with your current pump.
2. Car adapter & portable (battery-operated) charger. If you chose to pump in the car on your way to work, you will need the car adapter to be able to run your pump while driving. I also purchased the battery operated charger in case the electricity goes out or I have to pump in a place where I don’t have easy access to an outlet.
3. Pumping bag- preferably one with a shoulder strap. I keep my pumping supplies in this black bag. It looks like a normal pocketbook and is lightweight and fits my pump perfectly. I have the Medela bag, found here.
4. Nursing scarf. I keep mine in my purse so it is handy for any time I may need it. I usually only end up using it when baby is with me and needs to eat, but it gives you some privacy for anytime you feel appropriate.
5. Insulated Cooler Bag. You can find a similar version here. I like this on the go bag, because I can store my pumped milk in the fridge at work- without anyone having to see it (or freaking out all of the men at work). It keeps the milk cold and is perfect if you transfer the milk into bottles or bags, for easy storage.
I hope that you all found this post to be helpful. I wish I had an article like this before I started out. Feel free to leave me any comments or questions below. I would love to hear your thoughts! PS- Feel free to share this post with any Momma that you think may need this advice!
As Mother’s Day approaches, I cannot help but reflect on the past six months. Being a mom to Landon has been one of the biggest pleasures and joys of my life. I never knew that I could love someone this much. He has grown from a little baby who would sleep most of the day and drink momma’s milk when he was hungry, to now being able to sit up on his own, hold his own bottle and eat real food! He is my independent, happy, always smiling, blonde hair, blue-eyed baby.
When I am away from him, I miss him, and constantly think about him. He is my best friend and I cherish every moment that we spend together. His smile can light up a room. I am so privileged to be called his mommy and a part of his world. I love watching him grow and become his own person each and every day.
I am so grateful to be celebrating my first Mother’s Day this coming Sunday. I can now say that I truly understand what it is like to be a mom.
Being a mom is…
Being there for the little moments, being up at 3am when he is crying and hungry, being the one to rock you back to sleep, being there to sing ‘you are my sunshine’ when you get your shots at the Doctors, and being there to cheer you on as you roll over onto your belly for the first time. Being a mom is simply AMAZING and I wouldn’t change my title for anything in the world. In fact, it is THE BEST JOB I could ever have. I love you so much Landon. You never cease to amaze me!
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Today actually marks six months since I started breastfeeding L. I can’t believe we made it and that I am sitting here on my couch typing up this post! I don’t know why, but in the beginning I wasn’t 100% confident that I would be able to breastfeed at all, but I knew how badly that I wanted to make it work. Over the past several months I have had a bunch of ‘mommy-to-be’ friends message me and ask about my breastfeeding journey and what has worked for me. Because breastfeeding is a subject that I actually enjoy talking about, I am happy to share the things I have learned so far with you all! I wish I had someone ‘lay it all out there’ for me before I started. I think if I had that, I would have been a lot less worried and more prepared for what was to come.
Back in September, a month before Landon was born, I was on Pinterest everyday pinning articles and looking up tips on ‘how to’s’ and best ways to breastfeed, because I honestly had NO CLUE how it all works. I would read about the ‘best way to get baby to latch’ or look through numerous pictures showing the ‘best positions to hold baby’, but none of it actually made much sense until I had L physically in my hands. I talk more about my experience of the few first weeks starting to breastfeed in a previous post found here.
But today I want to talk with you about the items that helped me so much starting out breastfeeding and what I recommend that you keep handy. I would not have been as successful as I have been breastfeeding without them.
My top essentials include:
- You may be asking yourself, “Why would I need a breast pump if I am going to be exclusively breastfeeding?” Good question… Having a reliable pump is essential because you never know how your baby is going to latch or if nursing is going to be easy (or not). You always want to have a back up, so you can always have a way to provide breast milk to your baby. You can purchase a manual breast pump, but most insurances now will cover electric. Pumps are a great tool to help you maintain your milk supply and provide consistency. Initially, when I came home from the hospital I did not plan to use my pump for the first few weeks, however I ended up using it the second day home when my milk supply came in and I needed a way to relieve my engorgement.
- A nursing cover is great to have in case you plan to breastfeed ‘on the go’ or if your baby is hungry when you are out at church or in public. A scarf is a good way to provide privacy, while still getting the job done. My scarf is multi-purpose and also works as a carseat/shopping cart cover.
- Lanolin cream is great and is a big help with sore or crackled nipples. I carried it all the time with me, just in case I needed it. At the hospital I got a few sample tubes, so make sure to ask your nurse for a few extras!
- Medela Soft Shells were a lifesaver. I won’t go into too much detail about them here, but you can read about them in my previous post found here.
- A good nursing bra is another must have! Nurisng bras come with straps that snap on and off, making it easy for fast access for baby. You can buy the same bra I used as a multi-pack here.
- This app is great! I used this free app called ‘BabyNursing’ everyday. It helps you track every time you are feeding baby, what side you last fed on and for how long baby nursed.
- This is obvious. You need to keep a burp cloth handy in case any mess comes (up) your way 😉
- It is SO important to stay hydrated while breastfeeding. Speaking from experience, every time I feed Landon, I get soooo thirsty. I mean- the thirstiest I have EVER been. You will soon know what I mean. Can any of you moms relate? Snag a cute water bottle to pack in your hospital bag.
- Protein bars. Did you know that breastfeeding burns an extra 500 calories a day? You will need to eat more to supplement your caloric intake and give you more fuel/energy for your busy days being a mom.
- Breastfeeding pillow (not listed above in picture). I personally tried a few different pillows and none really worked great for me and baby, however I still use a normal pillow from my couch, which seems to work great! It provides some head support for L and gives my arm a break!
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Did you find this post helpful? Please leave me a comment below!
In my next upcoming posts I will be talking about pumping and the hands-free pump that I use and love, as well as how to build and maintain a supply/decent freezer stash. Feel free to email me with any questions that you have or topics that you want me to cover!