Breastfeeding moms often have a love/hate relationship with their breast pumps. While it's amazing to be able to pump and provide feedings for your baby when you have to be apart, the process of pumping can be both messy and uncomfortable. On top of that, it also entails a decent amount of cleaning and organizing. If you're pumping at work, you also have to worry about packing and storage. Luckily, there are a few pumping hygiene tips that can make the whole process a bit easier.
As a mom who pumped exclusively for almost a full year, I can say without a doubt that the clean up was always the worst part. In the beginning it seemed I always had a sink full of things to clean, whether it was bottles to scrub or pump parts to wash and dry. I was doing those things every couple of hours at first, before I realized that I was doing way more work than I needed to be. Luckily, I stumbled upon some tips that made my life so much easier without sacrificing cleanliness or hygiene.
Here are nine tips that will make pumping less of a chore, while also keeping your milk safe.
1You Don't Have To Wash Pump Parts After Every Use
Realizing that I didn't need to wash my pump parts after every single use was a god send for me. According to Low Milk Supply, it's fine to reuse your pump parts multiple times. On the advice of other moms, I stored mine in the fridge between uses, and just did one wash at the end of the day — so much better than spending all day at the sink.
2You Don't Need New Bottles For Every Pump
On a similar note, Low Milk Supply also noted that you can keep pumping into the same bottles instead of using new ones every time. Knowing this was a huge help when I was pumping at work, because I didn't have to stress about packing tons of different bottles. Just make sure you keep an eye on how filled up they are so you don't accidentally over flow.
3Always Have A Hand Towel Ready For Spills
They say you shouldn't cry over spilled milk, but I think you get a pass when it's a hard-earned bottle of breast milk. Unfortunately, spills will happen from time to time, so Baby Center suggested always keeping a hand towel with your pump for emergency clean up.
4Know The Rules Of Pump Sharing
Not all pumps can be safely shared, according to La Leche League International (LLLI). Most retail models are open-system, which means milk can reach the inner-workings of the pump. Sharing an open-system pump with another mother could expose your baby to any viruses she has. It's perfectly OK to share a closed-system pump (i.e., a hospital-grade pump), however, because milk can't get inside it.
5Check For Mold Regularly
It's important to check your pump for mold on a regular basis, according to Medela. Mold can get inside the tubes and even in the pump itself if it's not caught in time, and then it may need to be replaced.
6Invest In Quick Cleaning Supplies
Even if you're reusing your bottles and pump parts, you'll eventually need to clean them. Luckily, there are products that make breast pump maintenance a lot quicker according to Parents. Medela makes steam bags that sanitize bottles in the microwave in a matter of minutes, as well as wipes that let you clean your pump parts when you can't get to a sink.
7Demand A Pumping Space That Isn't A Bathroom
Your employer can't make you pump in a bathroom, according to the Huffington Post. If they're not offering you an appropriate space, let them know that you have a right to a clean, private area. You probably wouldn't prepare your lunch in a bathroom, so there's no reason to settle for making your baby's meal in there either.