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November 15, 2017
You’re a super mom and you’re pumping – You are AWESOME! Now let’s make your life a little easier with some hacks for that good ol’ pump and your supplies. One of my favorite fun hacks is the idea of using breast milk storage bags for frozen drinks at the beach. Ha! In all seriousness, check out our list below and let us know what you would add from your experience!
You’re back at work, you’re in the pumping room, you’ve got your flanges on, and … Nothing. The mysterious let-down is letting you down, and the milk isn’t coming. We have some suggestions.
Research shows that being relaxed (whether it be mental or physical) is incredibly important for the let-down phase. So make sure to find a favorite spot, meditate, listen to music – or whatever else works for you to get you in that place. Consider picking a TV show, video, or book that you only partake in for pumping time. Another hack? Keep something near you that smells like baby, and don’t hesitate to look at all those cute pictures.
Another suggestion, just as sensory as the smell of baby is, so is warmth. According to Gina Ciagne, a certified lactation consultant and senior director at Lansinoh, a warm breast expresses more milk. If you can warm up your breast (and the pump flanges on it) enough to simulate the warmth of a baby’s mouth (think 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit), you may be able to increase your pumping output and efficiency.
So you’ve pumped – now how are you going to store that liquid gold? Try using post-it stamps to date the breast milk you pumped before it hits the work fridge. Sticky-notes are easy to keep handy, write on and then peel off without leaving a sticky residue on the bottles. In-between feedings in the office, keep two plastic bags with you, one for clean parts and one to store the wet ones when you don’t have a chance to immediately rinse them. You can also try our handy wet/dry bags from Sarah Wells and Bebe Au Last as a stylish alternative to plastic bags!
Once you’re home, transfer and store pumped milk in smaller portions so that nothing is wasted if baby doesn’t drink a whole 8 ounces. It may require more storage bags or bottles, but it hurts a lot less to defrost more milk than it does to pour milk down the drain. Another great tip is to freeze those bags of milk as flat as possible. This way they’ll turn into smooth bricks that can be stacked for easy storage. The Kind Storage Bag Organizer is great for this!
Now you’re headed to the airport. Don’t be unprepared, mama! Pull your pump out of your carry-on bag and place it in a separate bin before it goes through the x-ray machine. Tell the agent that the item is a breast pump. Remember to have your breast pump in a carry-on bag and not to check it as a bag. The last thing you need is to be separated from your breast pump because of a delay!
If you’re returning from a trip and are carrying breastmilk, place the milk in a separate bin and alert the agents that the liquid is breastmilk. Breastmilk is not subject to the three-ounce limitation. If you’re told otherwise, ask to speak to a supervisor. As part of the Bottles and Breastfeeding Equipment Screening (BABES) Act, you have the right to travel with your milk. Don’t forget to keep it cold and sealed!
Are there any hacks you would add to this list? Let us know!
Information provided in blogs should not be used as a substitute for medical care or consultation.
I am 23 years old and happily married to a man I have been with for eight years. I am the sixth generation in my family to live on my family's land located in West Asheville. I went to Mars Hill University for my undergraduate degree in English and creative writing and fully plan to obtain my doctorate someday.
Learn more about Megan!