I'm Pregnant with #1 and I will be going back to work after about 14 weeks. I'd like to continue breastfeeding, so I'm registering for pumping gear. Please help! What would you recommend? I'm a little overwhelmed because I'm not sure what I need or all the details of how pumping works.
Here's what I'm thinking:
Sometimes I'll want to pump into a bottle to be put in the fridge and warmed/drank later that day. Sometimes I'll want to pump and freeze. Is this what I'll need? Both of them? What else?
How many bottles should I buy? Is glass okay? I prefer glass and stainless steel to plastic because of the chemicals. Has anyone used these?
This bra looks cool. Is it really possible to pump handsfree?
Finally, what do you use to rewarm refrigerated milk? Something like this?
What am I missing?
Hi, I'm TJ! | NMY Grad | Mama to DD 5/13
The pump you registered for is a good one (LC reccomended) but I had a different one so can't comment much.
I can't help much with the other stuff. Good luck, I gotta run.
Here are my thoughts.
1. A Medela PIS has been a great breastpump for me, but I dont work. I like how portable it is.
2. A hands free pumping bra can totally be made by cutting holes in an old bra. How often are you going to try to do handsfree pumping at work?
3. I wouldnt buy too many of any one kind of bottle. Different babies like different bottles, and you'd hate to have a bunch of one kind and your kid not want them at all. I'd register for one of each kind I thought would be something I'd like to use. I like tommee tippees.
4. I've never known anyone to use a bottle warmer. We used a glass of warm water and put the bottle in there. Do you drink a lot of tea or coffee? Dh and I do drink a fair amount of tea and I like to eat couscous and things that are cooked only by pouring hot water over them. So, we got a percolater and kept it full of hot water all the time. If we needed to heat milk, we just filled a large glass up halfway and stuck the bottle in it. A bottle warmer is ideal if you fear that whoever is watching your kid might put your breastmilk in the microwave.
Holly and David
Adaline (3/20/10), and Charlie (1/26/12- 4/10/12) and our identical twins Callie and Wendy (01/04/13)
Sounds like you have a great start. I pumped from 5weeks until I quit my job at 11months, so here's my thoughts based on my experience:
*I love, love, love my Hygeia pump. It's a closed system, meaning the milk doesn't run through the pump parts and have a chance to get molded. Plus it's the only pump I know of that meets the WHO guidelines. Here's the review that sold me on it: http://breastfeeding.blog.motherwear.com/2011/01/hygeia-enjoye-breast-pump-review.html
*Those are the breastmilk bags I used and they worked great for me. I never used the freezer bottles though, so no experience with them.
*A hands free pumping bra is super important to me, as it makes pumping so much quicker. I personally like the Pumpease bra because it's super quick to put on and small enough not to take up much space in my pump bag. http://www.snugabell.com/
*As for bottles, I'd recommend buying one of 2 or 3 different kinds. My son had a hard time taking the bottle (ironic because I was so afraid I would have trouble bf-ing, and yet this kid didn't even want the bottle) and have since learned that it's common for bfing babies to be picky. We had to try 5 different kinds before we found one he would take. Then you can buy a bunch of that kind.
*I was given a bottle warmer but couldn't use it. I think this one was made for formula bottles, because with breastmilk, the baby will only take 2-4 oz per feeding, whereas formula takes a lot more. Since it was such little milk, it got so super hot very quickly. My DH would just run the bottle under the warm water, and eventually got DS to take a cold bottle.
This website is a true lifesaver and explained 90% of what I needed to know about pumping at work: www.workandpump.com. The other 10% I got from Kellymom.com and here.
Mama Bear , Papa Bear and Baby Bear (8/11)
KISS Pumping =)
Pump yes + lansinoh pumping bags (a million or so) are the best. Freeze them flat in a storage container to save space. Don't bother with the other brands or containers. No point.
A hands free pumping bra is great. Yes, hands free. No need for a bottle warmer. Just heat up some water in the microwave. Milk defrosts in a few minutes.
If you are going to daycare, they have a lot of sucky rules about feeding so freeze milk in smaller portions. If you have a nanny or childcare in your home, just do 4 or 5 oz. Promptly refrigerate unused portion and reuse at the next feeding. Sadly, much easier to be a pumping mom with in home childcare.
Don't spend a lot of money on bottles before you know what kind your baby will prefer, don't buy complicated systems likes Dr. Browns unless you have to (PITA), and don't buy big bottles. EBF bottles should never have more than 5 oz at a time. Go simple like the bottles that come with the pump and the nipple that matches. If that doesn't work then try something new. Medela glass bottles work well and Evenflo are the same size and cheaper. Don't buy the more expensive versions unless you have to and don't use them for pumping. Too heavy on the nips. =)
Invest instead in an extra freezer because it will make your life a 1,000 times easier. Best $100 on baby stuff ever.
Double-pumping is great for supply building and maternity leave pumping. Pump ten, hot shower, pump ten daily at the same time. Do once in the morning and once in night. Yes, a pain, but that awesome freezer stash is how I never supplemented.
I had the Ameda Purely Yours breast pump, another double electric. I think all the high end double electrics are good and what you want if you are going to be pumping while working FT.
Besides the pump, you also want to buy one or two each of replacement tubing and other parts, you don't need these right away, but eventually you will have a part get lost/break/wear out and you want to have a replacement on hand so you aren't scrambling, though you usually can get them at most pharmacies and some baby stores if you are in a pinch! So I recommend registering for them and if you don't get them, buy them before you go back to work and keep them with your pump or keep one set at home and one at work.
For freezer storage, yup the lasinoh bags are great, definitely freeze them flat and then you can store them easily. I usually just put them in a big ziploc bag. I stored in 3-5oz as I wanted as little waste as possible at daycare. I gave them 3 bags for backup and then gave them my fresh pumped milk for the normal daily bottles and then I would cycle through my freezer stash a bag or two at a time on the weekends (thaw out a bag for the first bottle overnight for Monday and freeze the same portion from Friday pumping). You definitely want to get in the habit of supplying what your baby needs in fresh milk, not just because fresh milk has slightly more benefit but also because it will make sure you are keeping your supply up. Think of the freezer stash as emergency to use when you have a low supply day(s) or when there is some really important thing for work that makes you miss a pumping session.
So anyway, for fresh, I just stored in the bottles I used most of the time, so since I used the tall Dr Brown bottles (it was the one she liked and she didn't like bottles much, so I put up with the slightly more annoying system to clean) I bought a cheap soft-side cooler with some ice packs that could accommodate bottles with nipples and caps on (a lot of the coolers meant for six packs will work well for this) and used that for transporting milk to daycare, for storing at work (I put the whole cooler in the fridge as a courtesy to folks who might not want to see my breastmilk and to insure the bottles stayed clean) and for transport home. You don't necessarily need the ice packs depending on your situation, but I liked having them so that if I got stuck in traffic or wanted to run to the store after work I could without worrying about my hard pumped milk going bad. I did use the small bottles and the cooler that came with my pump when I traveled for work as it was more compact, then I would just pour from bottle to bottle at home. I also used them as backups for when I was having an oversupply day (very rare for me!). And I agree with PPs, only buy 1 of a couple bottles to start until you see what your little one will take and start with simple bottles first for easier cleaning. Some babies are very picky, others aren't. I would brush all the little parts well and then put everything in the dishwasher, so get one or two of those mesh dishwasher bags if you want to do that. It does wear stuff faster, but that was worth it to me to save the time of cleaning by hand.
I never tried a hands-free bra or a bra with holes cut. I did try the rubber band trick, but it didn't work for me as I would lose suction on the breasts. What I did usually was hold both bottles to my breasts with one hand/arm (for example, you hold the one on your right breast with your left hand and rest your left arm across the other to keep it tight on your breast) and then would have one hand free so I could type/read e-mail/etc. at my desk since I have a door I can close at work. I could pump completely hands free by getting everything carefully arranged and then leaning just right against my desk with the bottles. I may try a hands-free bra or bra with holes this time, but I dunno, putting on a bra just for pumping seems like a PITA and sometimes I really needed to hold on to them to keep suction. Oh, and for pumping anywhere, I really recommend wearing a stretch tank top under your shirt so that you can pull up the shirt, pull down the tank, open nursing bra and have access with minimal skin exposed. This is nice to feel less exposed and to not get cold while pumping Breastfeeding shirts didn't really work for me and this worked awesomely. I did also have a couple nursing bra tanks that worked well for this too, but there was no need to purchase them if I didn't want to with this method. It will stretch out the tanks some, but I only ever wear tanks like that under other clothes anyway and tanks were less expensive than nursing shirts anyway!
I rarely warmed milk at home, when I did I would use a pot of warm water that I heated on the stove or stuck the bottle under a hot tap. Usually I just gave her milk cold at home as she didn't really care. At daycare they had two small crock pots that they kept water warming in all the time, one was for breastmilk bottles the other for formula. And my providers were really good about trying to not throw any breastmilk out. They would put a bottle back in the fridge for awhile if she didn't drink much, so make sure you talk to your care provider about how breastmilk does not have to be thrown out right away like formula needs to be. Either way, still give them lots of bottles with smaller amounts to reduce waste.
Don't forget to talk to your boss about pumping at work. Not in a may-I-pump? way but in a I'm-going-to-pump-here-is-my-plan kind of way. Most employers are very accommodating, especially if you already figured it all out and all they have to do is sign off.
I would recommend checking out and reading The Milk Memos by Cate Colburn-Smith and Andrea Serrette if you want a good book on the subject. It goes over some good info on working and pumping and also follows several moms with very different stories through their working and pumping experiences. Kellymom is always great of course for everything breastfeeding!
Katie - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13
Oh, and for pumping anywhere, I really recommend wearing a stretch tank top under your shirt so that you can pull up the shirt, pull down the tank, open nursing bra and have access with minimal skin exposed. This is nice to feel less exposed and to not get cold while pumping Breastfeeding shirts didn't really work for me and this worked awesomely. I did also have a couple nursing bra tanks that worked well for this too, but there was no need to purchase them if I didn't want to with this method. It will stretch out the tanks some, but I only ever wear tanks like that under other clothes anyway and tanks were less expensive than nursing shirts anyway!
Good point! I always hated how cold my stomach would get if I happened to be wearing only 1 shirt. :)
Mama Bear , Papa Bear and Baby Bear (8/11)
Also, grab one of theose top rack dishwasher containers (munchkin or whatever brand) the bigger the better. Everything we had went into the dishwasher and there was no handwashing, ever, except for Medela seals. Oh, and if you want to live happily, get extra sets of pump parts so you can take a couple clean sets to work at the begining of the week.