I have mixed feelings towards pumping.
On the one hand, it’s really time consuming, boring, and generally a major pain in the ass.
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But, of course we’re going to continue to do it for our darling little offspring that needs the nourishment which happens to include all of our antibodies. That last part is so they don’t stay sick for very long-if they happen to get sick. You, however, get sick and STAY sick because that adorable little bundle (or big toddler) is taking all of your little sick fighters. (Can you tell I’m bitter because I’m recovering from a cold?)
But again, we’re still going to do it.
I like to consider myself something of an expert, (not really something to brag about…) I pumped for a bit over a year for my daughter 6-8 times every day. That included waking up in the middle of the night once or twice. I could have chosen not to. I could have used formula (which is a valid option.) But as a stay at home mom, I felt I had the time and supply to give her breast milk for at least awhile.
Here are some my tips on pumping and storing breast milk that I had to learn the hard way.
1. Get a good pump.
Depending on how often you need to pump depends on what type of pump you should get. Do you pump once a day? A single pump would probably be fine. Do you pump four or more times a day? Get a double pump, unless you want to spend every waking moment pumping. You can see my pump reviews here.
2. Find a storing option that works best for you.
When I first started, I was pumping in bottles, then freezing them. After awhile, I would run out of bottles, and space, in my freezer. If you’re going through most of your milk daily, then bottles may work for you. But since I was pumping so much, with a high supply, I needed a more efficient way to freeze my milk. I started getting Lansinoh milk storage bags and I have never looked back.
3. Freeze your bags lying down. After you pump, make sure the bag is sealed tight, then put it in the freezer laying down. When it’s frozen, you can stack them upright in the back of your freezer. Sure, freezing them upright still preserves the milk, but it can be a little bit awkward storing a few bags. Another bonus for freezing the milk while laying it down, is it thaws a lot faster. Trust me, I know.
4. Label your milk bags, (or bottles). I was so diligent for so long! But near the end of pumping for my daughter, I started to slack.
I was at my parents’ house when my son was a few months old and we found a milk bag in their freezer. Not labeled. Was it a new one, within the last few weeks? Or was it from two years ago? Not willing to risk it, it went in the trash. Any of you pumping mama’s out there know how painful that can be.
5. Clear out a spot in your freezer.
If your supply is really high, and you need to store a lot of it, make sure you have the space for it . I’m lucky because we have a freezer right outside my bedroom that I was able to use solely for breast milk. At one point, I had over 1,000 ounces in it.
6. Consider donating it.
That is, if you have a lot of it, and you don’t think your kiddo will get through all of it in time. There are a lot of mamas out there that would love nothing more than to give their baby breastmilk, but they either can’t produce enough, or can’t produce at all. There are plenty of milk sharing sites on Facebook. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet some great friends! Either way, you will be giving another baby, and their parents, a wonderful gift.
These are just a few tips that I wish I had known when I got started.
Pumping can definitely be a pain, but it’s worth it. And as for being boring? That’s why we have smart phones.
Do you have any tips you’d like to add?
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