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I’m No Expert
This post has been 5 months in the making. That’s about how long I’ve been pumping on a regular basis. I’ve already written a post about how to make pumping less of a chore, but I realized that there are really some basic things I wish I had a clue about before I became acquainted with my pal, the breast pump. After all, I pump about 15 times a week on average. I try to squeeze in an extra time here and there to add to my freezer stash, but that doesn’t happen too frequently these days. I’ve come to really admire the moms who pump exclusively. Heck, I get sick of pumping a few times a day during the work week and they do it every day, multiple times a day! They are heroes in my book.
Anyway, I’m definitely no expert, and believe me, I would love to be able to not pump, except to build a freezer stash. Alas, it’s currently my reality, just like it is for many working moms out there, and I gotta do what I gotta do. I have learned a few really helpful things about pumping over the last few months though. Things I didn’t know about until after I started pumping. Things I wish someone told me about before I started. So, if you are a mom who will need to pump, whether it be one time or a million times, here are 5 things you need to know about pumping before you start!
There are cushions for your breast pump!! Mind blown, right?! Where were these things when I first started to pump?! I had never heard of them. I had the chance to try out some nipple cushions from Beaugen and OMG, what a difference?! Your boobs will be sore when you first start to nurse. Even if you have a great latch, your boobs have never experienced something like this before, and don’t even get me started about cluster feedings! So, the last thing you will want to do is subject them to yet another powerful sucking machine. Here is where these little guys come in handy. They create a cushiony barrier between your already sore boobs and the hard plastic of a breast pump. It’s amazing. Makes it a lot more comfortable and you deserve to be comfortable!!
Replace Your Parts
I had no idea you needed to replace certain parts of your pump! This mostly applies to moms who use their pumps on a regular basis, because it is the constant use that requires you to have to change some parts. Here are the basics:
Membranes: Every 4-6 Weeks
Duckbills: Every 4-6 Weeks
Valves/Tubing: Only if you see mold on them or you are using a previously owned pump
Also, it can’t hurt to have an extra of each part in your pump bag if you pump away from home because you never know when something will break or malfunction. Better to be safe than sorry!
You Don’t Need to Wash Your Parts Every Time
I would have gone crazy if I had to wash my parts after every use for the entirety of my pumping days. I HATE washing my pump parts and I only have to do it once each day now, thanks to a pumping hack I learned pretty early on. If you keep your parts in a wet bag (love this one!) you can simply keep it in the fridge between pump sessions! Now, if only I could remember to get my parts from said fridge before sitting down to pump every time. I also keep these pump wipes in my bag for times when I can’t get to a fridge for some reason.
It took a few awkward times of me realllly hoping that nobody would decide to bust through the door that doesn’t lock where I pump to realize that some clothes just aren’t made for pumping! For some reason it didn’t occur to me that something that I couldn’t nurse in, like a shirt with a high neck, or certain dresses, wouldn’t work for pumping either. The lesson here- easy access, just like with nursing! Hopefully you aren’t like me and you have a room with a locking door to pump in, but you can’t ever be too prepared!
Join a Group
Please, please, please join some type of breastfeeding/pumping support group! It doesn’t even have to be one where you go to meetings physically! Virtually works! Believe me, I know how hard it is to do actually get out of the house and do stuff with a newborn around, but your phone or computer are never far away! I found out that even though I couldn’t go to my local chapter’s La Leche League meetings, they had a Facebook group where all kinds of questions and topics where discussed. I’ve learned a ton just by reading other peoples’ questions and comments. They discuss a whole range of issues dealing with breastfeeding, including a lot of pumping questions. So, do a quick search on Facebook and you’ll find a TON of support. It really does take a village and I’m learning that there are so many ladies out there who are either going through the same thing currently or who have already and want to help! This is probably the most important lesson learned because no doubt there will come a time when you have a question about pumping or your supply or breastfeeding or whatever!
It’s So Worth It
So, there you have it. Hopefully these tips will help you even a little bit in your own pumping journey. It probably won’t be an easy or enjoyable one, but will be oh SO worth it to give your baby what they need! You are doing something truly amazing for your baby and will never regret it, so make the most of it!
Have a question about pumping? Comment below and I’ll try my best to answer it or send you in the right direction!
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