I spend such a large portion of my day nursing and/or pumping that it’s practically a part-time job. I actually read somewhere recently that the amount of time mothers spend nursing, pumping, and cleaning averages 40 hours a week. (#momsaresuperheros) I’m lucky that my supply is abundant, and I can both nurse and pump effectively. In the early weeks I was producing an enormous amount (pumping multiple times a day for a total of around 30oz in addition to nursing full time). Now that my supply has regulated, I pump just once in the morning, freeze that extra 10oz, then nurse the rest of the day. I have an enormous freezer stash and have tried a variety of pumps. Here is what I’ve found to be helpful:
My number one goal of pumping is to get the most milk in the least amount of time. I do this mostly with the Medela Sonata. It is similar to the Spectra, which is more widely available through insurance, but from my experience, the Sonata is a better pump, meaning I can get 10oz of milk in 4 minutes. Everyone is different! This is just what works (amazingly) well for me. I’m guessing the personal fit flex shields also help with how effective this pump is. It’s a workhorse and I use it daily.
Now. If you work outside the home, or pump multiple times a day and want to still be able to do other things, meet Elvie, a completely wireless, nearly silent, fits-in-your-bra, pump. Brand new and recently available in the US, it’s a game changer. There is only one other brand of pump similar to this, but it requires disposable bags, which are crazy expensive (nearly fifty cents each time you pump). The Elvie comes with reusable bottles, so there’s no further expense after purchase. If you’d like to pump literally anywhere while doing other things, like on a plane, on a hike, in the middle of nowhere, this is your pump! So glad something like this is finally available.
These storage bags are the best because they stand up. (Tip: when freezing, lat flat over a waffle box or other flat surface, to help get the bags into a thin shape to save space when freezing, or use this. I have so much frozen milk this time that we also bought a deep freezer for extra storage.
A few things here. Hands free pump bras are an absolute must if you plan to pump frequently and want to be able to use your hands to do other things. Two that you can take on and off: here and here (only for Medela). If you don’t want to change, there are a few makers of hands-free pump bras that you can wear all day, making pumping while at work so much more convenient. The Dairy Fairy makes a whole line, I like the Ayla and the Noa 2.0 styles (pictured). If you’re looking for a sports bra style this is my favorite.
The website kellymom.com was recommended to me over and over by the lactation consultants I saw with Trey. It has lots of evidence-based resources on all things nursing and I often refer back to it for things like storage guidelines, or other useful information.
Happy nursing/pumping. And remember, fed is best! However you feed your baby is the right way for you. Nursing/pumping doesn’t work for some moms and babies for a variety of reasons and the good news is it’s all ok. (My aunt was raised in the era of “sweetened condensed milk” and is now a nutritionist so I try to remind myself that at least we’re all doing better than that.)
Shared in partnership with a variety of companies listed. All opinions are my own.