Today I’m sharing my top 5 pumping essentials with you, to make your “pumping” journey successful AND enjoyable.
After just two babies, I came to a clear conclusion that every child is sooo different from one another. Every child is unique; therefore every breastfeeding experience is unique. I’ve tried breastfeeding my oldest from the day she was born, but due to some latching problems I’ve never managed to be successful. I’ve pumped for her day and night for about 3 months and had to stop due to gallbladder issues I had. In addition, low supply, severe mastitis, sleep deprivation and her frenulum tie, got me thinking that formula is a better choice for her, because she will have plenty of food and a sane mother.
With my second, I’ve had higher goals and ambitions. I’ve read more, learned more and wanted to apply all the knowledge this time around. I’ve breastfed him from day one just like I did my first, but for whatever reason, he would latch fine, 5 minutes later unlatch, cry and that was it. Afterwards, I was never able to get him back on the breast to eat more than just 5 minutes (he had silent reflux, so that may have been the culprit). In order not to lose supply, I would need to pump the rest of the milk out and give him in a bottle, which he’d take and eat.
I must say, of course without any long experience with exclusively breastfeeding, pumping is twice the work. I mean literally. You don’t just feed at the breast, you have to get all your accessories together (making sure you don’t forget a single thing if you’re out of the house) pump, get the bottle ready and only then you feed. And YES, the baby has to somehow be entertained while he or she waits for their precious food. After you’ve fed them, you need to wash all the bottles and pumping accessories, make sure leftover breast milk is labeled, frozen or stored properly and then you continue with your life. It’s very time consuming. I did this 4 times a day and luckily at night, my son would eat at the breast okay enough for me not to pump. Night pumping is brutal!
I’ve stopped breastfeeding and pumping half a year ago now and I’ve been wanting to share some items that I’ve found myself using every time, as well as some tips and tricks to making your breastfeeding/pumping life a bit more organized, successful and pleasant.
So fellow pumpers, read on!
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
1. Medela Pump In Style Starter Kit
Number ONE of course! With my oldest, I’ve had the Medela Pump In Style On The Go Tote that my sister-in-law let me borrow, but I’ve found it too clunky if I ever needed to go out somewhere. Seems like it should be the opposite considering the “tote” feature, but with all the other baby gear and diaper bags you have to typically carry, it was too much. With baby number two, I’ve had the Pump In Style Advanced Breast pump Start Kit, which was a lot smaller and convenient for taking along. I’ve gotten this one for free through the OB/GYN office and I’m sure you can ask your doctor about it too! This kit comes with two breast shields and 2 bottles with lids. Make sure your breast shields are the correct size, to prevent irritations and ineffective pumping. You may also want to get some extra Medela accessories to have on hand in case you lose any. This happened to me before and I needed to rush to the store to get some!
I loved the Munchkin Latch bottles. Before buying, I’ve done a great deal of research as to which baby bottle is the best and imitates the breast the most. I’ve read great reviews about these, so I decided to get some. They have now invented many more advanced bottles, like are also great for breastfeeding/bottle fed babies like Baby Air-Free, Comotomo Natural Feel and Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow.
I preferred these bags because of their thickness of the bag and durability. I’ve had to freeze a few ounces a day, which was a blessing and I’ve used these bags every time.
- Use a sharpie to write the date of when the milk was pumped.
- Write how many ounces there are.
- Lay flat in the freezer to get flat storage bags, which will save you room in the freezer.
By far the best brush I’ve used. This one is all made as one past, durable and reaches the bottom of any bottle very nicely. I’ve had other bottle brushes, which would break easily after a couple weeks.
100% Natural Lanolin cream. I’ve tried to use this daily to prevent discomfort and found very effective and helpful.
- Make sure you’re drinking around 40 ounces of water a day
- Think ahead and prepare breast shields, bottles and pump before hand and have a designated pumping area.
- Have a snack and water at your pumping station.
- Start with low speed for about 3-5 minutes, then increase.
- Have a small towel or washcloth nearby for any spilled milk
- Use a rocker, swing or bouncer to keep the baby entertained long enough for you to pump fully.
- Wash bottles and accessories right away. I loved Dapple and Seventh Generation Dish Soap.
- Use a baby bottle dryer rack, like the Boon Grass Dryer Rack to dry the bottles.
I hope my list of essentials will help you succeed and enjoy your breastfeeding/pumping journey. Believe me, all your patience, effort and time will be worth it at the end. Continue being a super mom!