Tips for Making the Most of Your Pumping Session
There are as many different ways and reasons to pump breast milk as there are breastfeeding women. In truth, every woman uses a breast pump differently: for some, it’s a way to continue breastfeeding from the workplace, or a way to increase milk supply; for others, it enables travel, or helps to build up a stash of breastmilk. The list goes on.
Whatever your main reasons for pumping (woot!), there are a few tips that can really help you to make the most of every pumping session. We’ve broken down the top advice from moms who pump into three main categories:
- Storage and Usage
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
1. Gear Up for Pumping
- Make sure you have a good, working pump — Medical insurance companies are required to provide you with a serviceable breast pump, so check your options. Depending on which devices are available to you, how often you anticipate pumping (i.e., multiple times every day vs. once in a while), and where you plan to pump (home, the office, on-the-go, etc.), you may choose to upgrade your pump through your insurance company or pay out of pocket for a premium device.
- Get the right fit — This is so important! Flanges come in only a few sizes, and every woman is different. A breast pump cushion — we love these ones from BeauGen — can not only help make sure you get a great fit with your flange (*especially if you are in between sizes, as many women are), but also make the entire experience waaay more comfortable. The BeauGen cushions are super soft and stretchy and work by both cushioning your breast and reducing friction. Moms are calling them “a real nipple saver.”
2. Pump It Up
3. Store and Use Your Milk
- Use plastic bags for easy storage — Breast milk storage bags are a compact, convenient way to store your breast milk. *Don’t forget to date your bags! Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), freshly pumped breast milk can be safely stored for up to 4 days in the fridge or 6-12 months in the freezer.
- Use your oldest breast milk first — breast milk actually changes as your baby grows and develops to meet your baby’s needs (isn’t that awesome?!), so experts suggest using your oldest milk first. Plus, this way there’s less risk of your milk expiring, and there is *nothing worse than having to throw that liquid gold down the drain!
Last but not least…
Don’t sweat it! — Too many of us already put way too much pressure on ourselves… let’s not add any more. If you don’t pump as much as you thought you would, or you miss a session, or your schedule is thrown off whack, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, know that what you’re doing is already amazing, and parenting is one long misadventure anyway, hah!
Good luck out there — and let us know what strategies you use to make the most of your pumping sessions!