How a New Mother Can Use Her Breast Pump With Less Time and Bother
Many times a new mother is surprised at how time consuming feeding an infant can be. Add to the regular breast feeding schedule the time to use a breast pump and mothers are even more pressed. Timesavers can be found in making wise clothing choices, multi-tasking while pumping, and organizing the breast pumping routine better.
Dress for Successful Breast Pumping.
Wear two-piece outfits with easy access to your breasts. A loose top that can be pulled up from the bottom makes breast feeding and breast pumping more convenient. Another choice would be a dress or shirt that buttons all the way down the front. Buttons that go down only to the waist are not usually sufficient for double pumping because you need to be able to open the shirt wide. Also you could buy nursing tops or dresses with discreet slits at the breast for convenience when nursing or pumping.
Use a pumping bra for hands-free pumping or Medela’s Pumping-Free Attachment Kit. The strapless variety of pumping bra makes it convenient to put on and take off only while pumping in a two-piece outfit if you prefer your ordinary nursing brassieres for most of the day. Some women have made their own pumping bras by cutting slits in an old bra. You could also try the old rubber band trick.
While you are making clothing choices, note that prints will not show wetness as easily as solids, and breast milk will stain your silk blouses. Other wise (or unwise) fabric choices may come to mind. Leaning forward slightly while pumping will help to keep the milk going into the bottles and not running out on your clothes. Some users tuck a towel under their breasts.
Multi-tasking while Breast Pumping.
If you would rather not buy hands-free pumping bras, you can have at least one hand free while double pumping with the following technique. Sit at a desk or a table. Use the edge of the table and one arm to hold your funnels in place. That gives you a free hand to read something that will lay flat on the table or eat a snack. Some users put the breast pump motor on the floor and operate the controls with a toe. With the Avent Isis IQ Duo Breast Pump, the controls are in one button on the part that is near the breast and the user’s hand. Another option for multi-tasking is the hands-free breast pump by Whisper Wear, the self-contained breast pump worn inside your bra. Although not absolutely silent and it makes one’s chest look larger than usual, this breast pump may still be an option for many mothers.
Some women multitask by pumping one breast while nursing the baby on the other breast. Some babies are bothered by the noise of an electric pump so their mothers have more success with a quality one-handed manual pump like the Medela Harmony, Ameda One-Hand, or Avent Isis breast pumps. A good time to try this technique is early in the morning when milk supply and the prolactin hormone is the greatest. Baby will usually be sated with the one side at this time of day – no need to switch sides unless you feel lopsided. Women who have difficulty getting their milk to let-down when pumping alone can often fill a bottle with their baby helping to stimulate their let-down.
Organize Your Breast Pumping Routine Better.
Follow a set routine: assemble your equipment the same way each time. Disassemble and wash the parts the same way each time. Like the pit crew for a race car, you will get faster and more efficient each time.
If you use your breast pump more than once a day, you could try the following. Instead of washing your parts after every session, just give the breast shield assembly a quick rinse and seal it in a clean plastic bag in the refrigerator between uses. Do give the parts a thorough hot, soapy wash at least once daily and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for sterilizing when needed.
Some users advise buying extra breast pump parts as a convenience. Have a couple of sets of the washable parts and you can wash only half as often. Some women buy three sets if they are pumping three times daily while at work. They bag the parts without washing them and bring them home for one washing. It saves time at work, and you can take advantage of your home dishwasher. Some women assign the task of parts-washing to another family member so they can have more time nursing and re-bonding with their baby in the evening. Another advantage to owning at least one extra set of parts is as a little insurance in case you lose something essential. If you are not lucky enough to have a retailer in your area that sells all the parts individually, you need to call the manufacturer and have one shipped to you. It can take days for your part to arrive. That can be a real inconvenience for mothers who must pump every day.
Finally, if you are breast pumping several times a day, buy or rent an efficient, high-quality breast pump. A double electric pump will finish the job in sometimes less than half the time, usually ten minutes when you become experienced. A pump that is slow is not only inconvenient, but some users find them uncomfortable too. A breast pump that wastes your time will cause you aggravation you do not need.
About the Author: Matia Bryson is the mother of seven previously breast fed children and wants to help other mothers to breast feed their children as long as they desire to do so.
The “old rubber band trick” can be found at the Hands-Free Breast Pumping Page. For information on how to get more out of one’s breast pump, read the Breast Pump Articles at the Baby Loves Your Milk website. For tips on buying a new breast pump on eBay, go to EBay Breast Pump Watch.