9 Product That are a MUST for PUMPING (And 5 That Are A Waste)
Let's talk pumping. Whether you are having to start pumping so, you can go back to work or pumping is what you prefer it's an overwhelming process. There are lots of helpful products that will add ease to your pumping journey and other product you'll have wish you passed on. It is very hard to figure out what you will need and what you don't need to pump breast milk for your baby successfully. As you start looking at pumping products, you'll quickly realize that there are so many different pumping items on the market. Each different product will have a slew of different brands to choose from.
If you are having a tough time figuring out what you need your best bet is to ask an expert. Read reviews and do your research on every product you are thinking about purchasing. Having a baby is already expensive. Like any momma bear, you'll want to make sure you are spending money wisely and not on products that won't get put to use. Sometimes spending a couple of extra dollars to get something that will last you longer is worth every penny. Turn to other mamas who have recently been through the grueling processing of finding the perfect pump kit. Though it might be a struggle at first to figure out the products that suit your needs, in the end, being able to provide that liquid gold to your precious baby will be worth it.
Electric Pump #musthave
Obviously, you'll need a pump if you plan on pumping breastmilk for your little one. The buying process of this can be overwhelming especially if you've never breastfed before. You'll come across a lot of different options and a variety of price points. When you are looking for the right pump, you'll want to make sure that the kit comes with a few different size shields. The wrong size shield can make your pumping experience turn into a nightmare.
You'll want a bump that has a few different speed settings and one that has a stronger suction; this will mimic a baby nursing the closest for the best pumping results. Buying a pump will likely be a more significant purchase so make sure to do your research. Reading reviews is a great way to get some honest opinions. Ask your mommy friends who have recently been through this pump buying process.
Extra Pump Parts #musthave
Extra parts will be a must if you plan on traveling or pumping at work, these will be very helpful. Sometimes parts of your pump will get lost or break. You will want to make sure you have extras of all the tubes, shields, and cords. Often times there is an option to buy just the pump or the full kit, the kit has enormous value. If the pump you choose has an add-on for a car adapter, this will come in handy when traveling.
Aside from having extra parts if you lose a piece having spare parts provides added convenience if you don't get around to doing dishes, which let's be honest with a little one dishes don't always get done when they are supposed to. Extra pump parts will be a necessity when you are out for an entire day and can't wash all the parts correctly between your pumping sessions.
Nipple Cream #musthave
You might be surprised how handy nipple cream will come in handy when you are pumping. Pumping can lead to painful nipples. You can still experience cracked, dry, and blistered nipples even if you are exclusively pumping. This was my favorite brand!
If you do experience pain when pumping, there are a few things you should double check to make sure you aren't continuing with pain during your pumping process. You'll want to make sure that your pump shield isn't too small, your nipple should be able to move freely. When you turn your pump on try starting at a lower speed and work up to the stronger suction gradually. If you have continued pain, you will want to rule out Thrush, Mastitis, & Clogged ducts.
Storage Bottles & Bags #musthave
You will want to have plenty of storage bottles on hand. These bottles will be what you are pumping the milk into. Depending on how much you are pumping a day and at what volume you are likely to have a stash of these in use at all times. From the bottles, if you have extra milk you will want to place the breastmilk in freezer storage bags to allow for longer shelf life.
Even though you can technically freeze most of the pumping storage bottles, it's better to transfer to the bags as you can clearly label them and quickly get your bottles back into your pumping bag. Most freezer bags have room to mark time/date, how many ounces, as well as the baby's name. Using the freezer bags for storages also will allow you to leverage more room in your freezer for snacks.
Bottles The Baby Likes #musthave
You would think buying bottles would be a carefree process. Go to the isle, find a bottle, buy it, and feed your baby, NOT! You won't expect it to be so much trial and error. All babies are different, and so are the bottles. It might take some time to find a bottle your baby takes and likes. The first bottle you use probably won't be the brand you stick with.
Some bottles are specially designed to transition breastfeeding baby's onto a bottle for a more seamless experience. Other bottles aren't. It'll all depend on what your baby takes a liking to the most. It's best to have one bottle in a few different brands on hand so if something isn't working you can try something else. Don't buy that pack of three just yet. Wait until you know what brand you little one likes then go buy in bulk.
Pumping Bra #musthave
While you can pump without a special pumping bra this purchase will make your life easier. A suitable pumping bra will allow you to go hands-free while pumping to allow time for other things. There is nothing worse than having to sit there the entire time you are pumping and hold the shields up. A hands-free pumping bra will allow you the freedom to multi-task, which you know is everything when you are a mom.
There are also ways you can create your own pumping bra out of an old sports bra if you are a DIY mama this might be perfect for you. If you want to buy one you'll want to make sure you try it on or pay close attention to sizing guides, and your measurements as fit will be everything, you will want it to be comfortable to wear all day.
Cooler & Ice Packs #musthave
Though breast milk is okay to leave at room temperature for quite some time, you'll want to make sure you have a cooler that can fit your day's worth of pumped breast milk along with a few ice packs. Having a cooler and ice packs will provide you with comfort knowing that your breast milk is at a safe temperature and didn't get overheated or go to long without being refrigerated.
The cooler system is also great if you are a pumping mom and don't want to put that liquid gold into a share co-worker refrigerator. This will ensure your breastmilk goes untampered with, and you know it won't get tossed for any reason.
Baggies For Storing & Sanitizing #musthave
As a pumping mom, you will want to keep your breast milk organized. Because breast milk will go bad after a certain amount of time in the freezer (6 months or 12 in a deep freezer), you will want to label all your storage containers clearly. To up your organization game, even more, you can divide your milk up by the month into big freezer bags. Doing so will keep everything super organized, and you won't have to worry about losing a bag in the depths of your freezer and having breast milk go to waste.
Sanitizing bags are fabulous of pumping parts. You can get just throw them in and microwave with some water. It makes maintaining germ-free pump parts a breeze. You will want to double check your pump brand is compatible with whatever sanitizing bag you choose. You can also stick your pump parts in the refrigerator to keep the germs out between washings.
Nursing Cover #neutral
Nursing cover for pumping? Yes. You might be thinking, but I don't even wear it for breastfeeding. Well, that may be the case but when you are having to pump in front of someone you might want the added privacy of not showing how far your nipples can stretch. If you're okay with pumping without a cover more that's power to you. It's all based on your personal preference. Do what you feel most comfortable with and what feels right to you.
Covers can be fun they come in all kinds of different colors and styles. You can grab a few for different outfits. They even have special ones that fit right over the carseat that will keep strangers away from touching those adorable baby toes and fingers while doubling as a nursing/pumping cover when that time comes around.
Disposable Pads #musthave
Leaky boobs happen. When you miss a pumping session, start one a little late, or even hear another baby crying your milk can leak or let down. (so fun right) If you happen to experience leaky boobs as a side effect of pumping or breastfeeding using breast pads will help keep your shirt dry throughout the day and night. However; if you are going through them fast ditch the disposable pads and invest in some comfy reusable ones.
The disposable pads can often lead to irritation of your boobs and often get sweaty. Reusable pads are way more comfortable as well as way better for the environment. There are many different brands and shapes to the reusable breast pads. You'll want to find something that looks seamless under your shirts. Reading reviews or asking other pumping moms their favorites can be helpful in your purchasing process.
Manual Pump #eh
Even though a manual pump can come in handy, you'll likely not use it unless something happens and you were to lose power. It's better to invest your money into a pump that has a wireless battery pack option so you can charge up and use without electricity. Now if you are going to be without power for an extended period due to a natural disaster or other you'll want a manual pump on hand.
Manual pumps, because they are done by hand, don't have as strong of suction as a powered pump; therefore, you won't likely be able to pump as much breast milk as you would with a powered device. Make sure to research to see if a manual pump would benefit you on your pumping journey. It can't hurt to have one but usually, tend to be a waste of money.
Special Pump Bag #nogo
For as much money as you spend on your entire pump you can get a designer pumping bag. Bad move. Pumping bags while are pretty to look at they aren't something that will be needed for a good pumping experience.
Unless you have unlimited funds to play with this tends to be a waste of money. You pump, and parts will fit perfectly in any big purse or extra diaper bag. Your breast pump doesn't need a unique bag. If you are lost on what to carry and transport your pumping kit try finding a dual compartment insulated cooler bag, these work great. You'll want something that's easy to clean up as well. Pumping isn't always the cleanest process. Expect some split milk, and yes it's okay to cry over this type of split milk, we've all been there.
Fancy Lactation Bars and Supplements #nogo
Everyone out there has some sort of magic pill, cookie, or bar that is supposed to boost your supply. If you find yourself needing to up your supply, you'll first want to take a look at how much water you are intaking. Breastfeeding and pumping moms will need to drink more water than an average person. Dehydration can cause a dip in your breast milk supply.
Instead of spending tons of money for every magic lactation bar or pill you see, research what types of food and herbs can boost your supply and things you can do at home. Take a step back and see if you can figure out why your supply dropped, the more in tune you can be with your body the better. Power pumping can also a great way to get your breast milk supply up.
App For Pumping #nogo
There's an app for that? There's an app for everything, or so it seems. If you want you can over complicate your breast milk pumping schedule if you wish to by putting all your info, pumping time, ounces, etc. into an app or you can just set alarms on your phone every few hours for when you want to pump.
The downfall with apps is if you have your phone set to do not disturb or have the sound turned down is you aren't going to get the alert until the next time you check your phone. Setting alarms on your phone itself without doing it through an app will make sure they go off even if you have your ringer turned down. Doing this tends to be way more efficient especially if you are setting alarms for the middle of the night to pump.
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