I recently received an email from a woman named Jill who had read my post “5 pumping tips for the back-to-work mom” and she had some more questions. They were so good that I actually got the same questions from a couple of other mommies (and mommy-to-be’s).
My name is Jill and I just discovered your blog and I love it! I’m expecting my first baby in less than 8 weeks and can’t read enough about other moms’ experiences and advice. Had a quick question about your post on pumping (super helpful, by the way!). You mentioned you pump directly into bags and then refrigerate so you don’t have to clean all the parts each time. What pump and bags do you use? I was planning to get the Pump in Style Advanced, but I heard that it can be really tricky to pump directly into the Medela bags because as they get heavier with milk they can fall off the pump and you lose all your hard work! OR that it’s more difficult to see how many OZ you pumped when the bag is sort of filling up. Let me know if you have any tips!
Thanks so much!
First off, let me just say JILL YOU HAVE GOT IT TOGETHER! WAY TO GO! You know so much already! Thank you so much for writing and getting me thinking about how I can help other moms!
Here’s what I do. I am a no-fuss kind of gal so this is the best way I can think of to pump quickly and effectively.
1. The pump you use matters a lot. I use the Medela Pump in Style Advanced. It is a popular and good quality product. There certainly are more expensive pumps out there, and maybe ones that work better. But after the research I did, (a lot) I went with this one.
2. If you can afford it (or you are lucky enough to be able to get a hand-me-down) get doubles!
I have a second pump that I got it off of a neighborhood Facebook page and it saves me so much time! I leave one at home and take one with me to work. It saves me a lot of hassle because I don’t have to pack up my pump over and over. One stays next to my couch at home and one is for when I am on-the-go packed with all the goodies I need. I have doubles of those too. I don’t love cleaning pump parts all of the time so I bought extra shields, membranes, and valves
. It is not expensive, less than $15 and worth every single penny.
3: Pump directly into bags that really work!
Jill was right about what she was reading. Those Medela bags aren’t great. BUT they aren’t as terrible as people might lead you to believe. Medela bags aren’t huge and I found that their zipper could be a little faulty and the last that I want is a bag that leaked milk all over my cooler. I was looking for larger bags than the Medela ones and a great sturdy zipper. I, like many moms before me, turned to the trusted brand Lansinoh.
The quality the Lansinoh bag is medical grade, they are way bigger than Medela, and there is a double zipper to ensure that all of those precious ounces stay in the bag. Just awesome. One problem that I found with them, though, is that unlike the Medela bags, they don’t have a way of attaching to your breast pump. That’s where the hack comes in.
What was handy about Medela bags is that they had holes in them so that a pump adapter could hold them in place. I bought adapters here.
They happened to come with the bags, so I used those until they were gone. Then, when I needed more bags I switched to Lansinoh and cut holes myself. Here are some photos for help.
These are the bags as they come.
You have to make a cut. I drew a line on the bag where I cut, but in real life I just fold the bag in half and scissor cut a small line in the middle.
Here is a shot of how the adapter connects to the pump shield.
And finally, how the bag fits with the adapter.
You could also just skip that whole part by pumping into bottles and then pouring into storage bags. If you hate dishes as much as I do, the snipping is worth it… I can get about 7 oz in each bag by the end of the work day and then when I get home, I just portion out the milk into one more bag to freeze so that I have 3 total. I find that it isn’t difficult to know how many ounces are on the bag because the indicator lines are good as long as you set the bag on a flat surface and record that amount.
Thanks Jill for writing in. And thanks for the support.
Here are a couple of extra hints about pumping that can help you feel better about it!
I always mark the bag “sick” if I or the baby is sick. I was told to do this by a midwife who rocks. She said that when I (or my baby) is fighting a cold or something, the milk is specially tailored to treat the illness. I keep that extra milk if my baby doesn’t use it all and keep it so that later down the line, when baby is getting something I can pull from the “sick stash” to treat her quickly.
Freeze your bags flat. Not everyone does this because they want to use fewer bags. They will fill the bags to the brim and freeze them that way. I don’t like to do that. I like to fill the bag, label it, and lay it flat in the freezer. This way I can store more and keep it better organized.
Don’t pump too much too quickly. I know a lot of women ogle a big stash that they see online. I commend those women for their hard work, but it is really important to make an amount of milk that is good for your baby. If you pump so often that you are getting 20 oz a pump, for example, this is no way your baby would ever be able to drink all of that. Milk comes out in two stages; foremilk and hindmilk. If you are feeding your baby until baby is full but pumping so much, there’s no way baby is getting any of that good fat in the hindmilk. Ain’t no way that is a good thing! Now I am sure there is a way you can mix it all up if you are exclusively pumping, but if you are bottle feeding and pumping, be careful not to be so greedy about the stash that the baby is like “the heck is up with this skim milk?”
Happy feeding ladies!