Always keep extra pumping supplies in your car or at your workplace.
We’ve all left the house with only one earring in or no diapers in the diaper bag. But not having bags to pump in or forgetting your pump entirely? That could add unnecessary pain and stress to your workday. To help alleviate the panic of forgetting your pumping necessities, keep extra supplies in your car or at work.
Here are some great things to keep extras of just in case: milk storage bags or bottles, towels, sanitizing wipes, ice packs, sticker labels, a permanent marker, and a pumping bra (keep an eye out for something new from Kindred Bravely later this month!). It’s also a great idea to have an AC/DC adapter or battery power source (in case you need to pump in the car or don’t have access to an outlet) and a hand pump (in case you forget your double electric pump).
Label your milk.
If you note the date on your milk right away, it will be one less thing you have to remember at the end of a long day back at work. Whether you apply dissolvable sticker labels to your storage containers (I do this with glass mason jars) or use a marker or pen to write directly on your milk bags, marking the date will help you know how long your milk can be stored. I also like to write how much milk is in the container so I can be sure to defrost the appropriate amount when needed.
Keep your milk cool.
Keeping your milk cool throughout the day is essential. You can store your freshly pumped milk in a shared break room refrigerator (don’t forget to label it!), a dorm-sized fridge in your office or even a cooler bag with ice packs. If you’re storing it in a fridge that sees a lot of activity, make sure to put it towards the back; items in the door or at the front of the fridge won’t stay as cold. Just be sure to take it home with you at the end of the day!
Utilize breast massage, hand compression, and hand expression.
Studies show that women who use hands-on pumping techniques have increased output and are better able to maintain their supply upon returning to the workforce or while exclusively pumping. One productive technique is to massage your breasts before pumping. You can also use massage during pumping.
To do hands-on pumping, massage around your breasts and use your fingers to gently push milk down from the axillary area towards the areola.
Hand compression also helps you pump more. While holding your flanges in a “C” shape around your breast, gently compress your breasts every few seconds. Additionally, many moms find hand expressing, for even a few minutes immediately following a pumping session, helps them maintain and improve supply.
Wash your pump parts at the end of the day.
Have a busy day at work? Instead of washing your pump parts after each pumping session, place your used parts (flanges, bottles, and membranes -- not the tubing) into a large Ziploc bag and stick it in your fridge or cooler bag with ice packs. This will help keep your parts from growing nasty bacteria throughout the day. Then, save time and energy by washing all the parts when you are home with a full-size sink and drying rack.
Whether you are going back to work, pumping exclusively, or just occasionally pumping, my dream is that these tips will help you feel ready to tackle your pumping sessions -- and reach and exceed your breastfeeding goals!
Be you bravely,