Are you a breastfeeding Mom ready to take your breast pump out on the town? Whether you’re heading back to work, going away on a trip, or have an all day event, you will need to bring along a breast pump. If you’re breastfeeding and plan to leave your baby for longer than a couple of hours, you’re going to want to read my 6 tips for pumping on the go.
Consider a portable electric breast pump.
Once upon a time I traveled around with a hand pump in my purse. Now there are portable electric pumps, run by batteries, that are much easier to use. I have been using a Lansinoh Smartpump 2.0 or the Medela Pump in Style. They are both equally efficient with a battery power option for pumping on the go. Plus, the breast pumps are small, lightweight, and easy to carry around.
Note: My favorite Lactation Consultant recommends the Spectra for anyone exclusively pumping! Also, one pump was gifted and the other was received through insurance.
Pack accessories, cleaning products, and spare parts (if necessary).
I found the most perfect pumping accessories only 8 years after having my first child. My sister introduced me to this cute but functional wet/dry bag and breast pump cooler bag. I carry both small baths in one reusable tote along with cleaning wipes. After I pump I wipe down my parts quickly and store them in the wet/dry bag. If I am going to be pumping all day, I slide a thin ice pack in the wet/dry bag to keep the parts cool. Cooler air = less chance for bacterial growth.
Bonus tip: It can be hugely convenient to keep an extra set of parts in your tote bag in case a flange or valve isn’t working. Here are more details on how to clean your breast pump supplies.
Find a comfortable place to pump.
No Mom should ever feel ashamed for breastfeeding, let alone using a breast pump in public. Make sure you have a place to pump where you will feel comfortable. If you’re pumping at work, your employer has to provide a private space for you to pump with a door. Many public places, like airports and malls, are offering nursing rooms or pods. If you can’t find something secluded, don’t be afraid to use a hands free bra or nursing cover! This nursing/pumping bra is really comfortable and this pumping bra is easy to wear and use.
With that being said, I’ve pumped in a variety of interesting (not always comfortable) places: a museum bathroom floor, the backroom of a barn at an apple orchard, on the floor of a large arena in a convention center of a dance competition.
I have heard some Moms find her milk flows more easily if she thinks about her baby. I used to watch videos of Annabelle when I first started pumping at work and had ‘stage fright.’ I can attest to this statement that it does help! I’ve actually felt a letdown while away from my babies if I look at photos of them!
How To Actually PUMP on the Go
The HOW TO PUMP question comes up a lot. Most pumps have two phases – fast/light followed by slow/strong – to mimic the actual way a baby feeds. If your pump doesn’t have the automatic 2-phase technology, start off fast and quick until you feel your milk letdown. Then transition to slow and strong for 10-15 minutes, or until your breast is empty.
Read more details about how to use a breast pump here.
Know WHEN to Pump while Away from Baby
The best time to pump while away from your baby is whenever the baby is eating. Currently I pump every 2 1/2 to 3 hours, which is how often Arbor eats at 4 1/2 months old. The best thing a Mom can do is try pumping around the time of her baby’s feeding session.
How long should you pump? Typically long enough to empty the breast – time will vary from woman to woman. It takes me ten minutes to empty my breasts.
Store Pumped Breast Milk Appropriately
Once you’ve pumped, it’s important to store the pumped breast milk appropriately. Freshly expressed or pumped milk can be stored at room temperature (77°F or colder) for up to 4 hours or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If I am only pumping once, I store the milk in the containers that come with my breast pump. If I am going to be pumping more than once I use breast milk storage bags. I always label the bag with the date and number of ounces inside (so I carry a Sharpie with me!). Finally, I store the milk in my cooler bag.
Bonus Tip: On rare occasions, I find myself away from the baby on an adult trip where I sometimes enjoy alcoholic drinks over a long period of time (wedding, bachelorette, vacation, etc). In these instances, I pump and dump my milk.
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