The word "mom" is basically just a synonym for "expert multi-tasker." Cooking dinner while nursing baby in a sling? No problem. Making an important business call while comforting a wailing toddler? Been there, done that. But if you want to take your multitasking skills to new heights, try breastfeeding your baby on one side and pumping on the other. It sounds risky, right? Let me tell you, it's not for the faint of heart. No matter your level of multitasking expertise, if you're planning to attempt the impossible, a few hacks for breastfeeding and pumping at the same time will no doubt come in handy.
The reasons moms may pump and nurse simultaneously are many. If you want to try to increase your supply without disrupting your normal nursing schedule, the method may be for you. Similarly, if you're trying to build up a stockpile of expressed milk, it can be a great way to kill two sessions with one stone.
I have — successfully, mind you — pumped and nursed at the same time with both of my daughters and although it takes a bit of planning and deep breathing, with practice and a few hacks any mom can get the hang of this time saving method.
1. Go Hands Free
Investing in a hands-free pumping bra, like this Gilligan & O'Malley hands-free bra ($23) is a great way to ensure you have one less thing to hold while nursing/pumping. You can simply pull down the side you're nursing on and place your pump inside your bra on the other side.
2. Use A Trick Or Two So You Don't Forget Which Side Is Which
If you tend to forget which side you nursed/pumped on last, Very Well has a few tricks up their sleeves to help you remember. You can wear a bracelet on one side to designate the "nursing" or "pumping" side, then switch it after each session. Or, to make things even simpler, use a safety pin attached to your bra to signify the same thing, switching after each session.
3. Give Your Baby A Distraction
Many moms swear by nursing necklaces, like these beautiful Kangaroo Care pieces ($29) to stave off curious babies from pulling at your pump (or other things) while you're trying to nurse/pump.
4. Pump When Your Baby Is Getting Sleepy
Pumping while nursing a sleeping baby is much easier than trying to pump with a squirmy, active baby. Start off just nursing your baby, and once they've gotten sleepy, attach your pump and do the rest.
5. Wait Till Letdown To Start Pumping
If you have a hard time getting a good letdown from your pump, let your baby do the hard work and once your milk lets down, attach your pump while it's flowing.
6. Hold Your Baby In The Football Hold
According to Kids Health, the football hold for nursing can be useful for breastfeeding twins (which is essentially what your body thinks you're doing when you pump and nurse at the same time.) To practice this hold, cradle your baby facing you with the same arm on the side that you'll nurse on. Hold your baby off to your side and latch them on from there. It will give you enough space to pump as well without your baby kicking or grabbing at the pump.