Pumping is great for a lot of things, but not when it comes to giving you time to do other things. No matter why you're pumping — whether it's to maintain your milk supply, build a freezer stash, or have milk for your kiddo to drink while you're gone — it can be a total time suck. Worth it? Sure. But everyone could use some breast pumping hacks so you can effectively multitask.
I'll never forget the first time I was able to pump hands-free and actually accomplish a few things while I was sitting at my dining room table. I could write, answer emails, finish all those thank you cards (finally) — the world was my oyster. It was like when my baby and I finally figured out breastfeeding and I could read a book while she nursed or actually eat a sandwich without dropping tomato all over her head. It was a serious game changer.
These seven breast pumping hacks can help you, too. Pumping is great and it's a huge help for a lot of women, but it can also be really restrictive. You're already stuck to wherever you're plugged in, so why not utilize some of these hacks so you can make the most of your time and effectively multitask.
1. Fit In Quick Pump Sessions When You Can
It's not always possible to fit in a 20 minute pumping session, so sometimes, squeezing in quick moments to pump works best. Lori Isenstadt, International Board Certified lactation consultant and owner of All About Breastfeeding, tells Romper that having a car adapter for your pump can make fitting in those sessions easier. "One thing that can help is to think in terms of quick pumping sessions rather than waiting for a time that you can devote 20 whole minutes to pumping," Isenstadt says. She suggests a hands-free bra as well so that you can even pump while you're commuting back and forth to work.
2. Buy An Extra Pumping Kit
Cleaning the parts, hauling them back and forth between work and home, and making sure you keep up with all the pieces can be a total pain. Isenstadt recommends having an extra pumping kit so you can eliminate some of that time. "Purchase an extra pumping kit so that you don’t have to worry about cleaning your parts in between pumps," she tells Romper. This way, you can quickly pump throughout the day and not waste a minute of your time.
3. Massage Your Breasts While Pumping
International Board Certified lactation consultant Nadine Fournier of KW Breastfeeding tells Romper that just hooking up your pump isn't always efficient enough — sometimes you need to help yourself out. If you notice one breast isn't releasing as much milk as the other or that your supply seems low, Fournier recommends using a hands free bra so you can pump and massage your breasts at the same time to help your milk flow. She also notes that hand expressing after pumping can increase your volumes, too.
4. You Don't Have To Pump On A Schedule
Many moms worry if they don't pump at the same time every day, but life happens, especially if you're in the workplace and trying to pump. International Board Certified lactation consultant and owner of Oasis Lactation Services, Danielle Downs Spradlin, noted on her website that just like your baby doesn't feed on a set schedule, you don't have to pump on a set schedule. So do what you need to do while you're working and know that your pump is ready when you are.
5. Replace Your Pump Parts
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it's not a solution most pumping moms think of. Spradlin tells Romper that replacing your pump parts can sometimes make your pump work more efficiently. She recommends that if your output isn't as high as you'd like it to be, you should check the fit of your pump flanges and you should also make sure your tubing and membranes are in working order. "There are a lot more broken and ill-fitting pumps than broken mommies," Spradlin says.
6. Invest In A Hands Free Bra
Whether you're pumping to build up a stash or because you're away from your little one each day, a hands free bra is the ultimate tool in multitasking and pumping. If you don't have a hands free bra, Kelly Mom has a great tutorial to create a hands free bra so that you can pump and have your hands free to work or take care of other business. Game changer.
7. Store Your Pump Parts In The Fridge
You know what messes up your multitasking? Having to stop what you're doing to clean those pump parts. According to The Leaky Boob, you can store your pump parts in the fridge in between pumping sessions rather than cleaning them immediately after. If you have to pump again before you clean them, some simply clean off the breast shields for the next session.