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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My DD is almost 2, and this spring I will need to be away from home for longer periods for work. I have a Medela Freestyle breast pump, which has worked ok for the last 5 years. I don't pump very often--with my older DD, I pumped once or twice a day when she was a baby, and otherwise I have only pumped when traveling away from one of the girls, typically not for more than 3 days. My experience with the Freestyle breast pump with my older DD when she was over 1 was that by day 3 of traveling, I could hardly get any milk out using the pump. I really felt that using the pump while away significantly reduced my milk supply permanently.

I assumed that I would be able to rent a hospital-grade pump and take that with me for these upcoming conferences, and that this would improve my ability to pump successfully. However, calling the local store (the Upper Breast Side in Manhattan), I was told that I can't take their breast pumps out of the state and that I can't take them on an airplane. They say that the rule about staying in the state is Medela's rule and will be true wherever I rent the pump. They suggested that I look for a hospital-grade pump in each local place where I will be traveling. However, I won't have a car--I will be taking a taxi from the airport to the conference hotel and back, and furthermore the idea of having to coordinate with a new place each time, and trying to get a model that will be compatible with whatever tubing, etc that I buy each time from each new place just seems overwhelming.

I'm also wondering about whether any breast pump would feel effective for me at all. With the freestyle pump, I have never been able to use it above level 3-4 (out of 9). At higher levels it is extremely uncomfortable. I basically find that using it at all hurts. I have the correct size breast shields, and the nipple isn't rubbing the inside of the shields as I pump--it is the stretching of the nipple that hurts. So I'm not sure that a hospital grade pump would be any better because simply having a higher suction would just hurt more, no? Is there some way that hospital grade pumps are better at removing milk, aside from simply sucking harder (which would just hurt more)? It may be that my nipples are especially sensitive because both of my girls have had tongue tie issues--having that treated made it possible for me to breastfeed in the first place, but it didn't ever completely remove the pain associated with breastfeeding--I always get vasospasms when breastfeeding or using the pump.

I'm hoping someone might have advice about how I can keep my milk supply going while traveling. Is it really worth renting a hospital grade pump in each location? Is there something else I can do with my existing pump that would help (and that would not be overridden by the fact that I only run my pump at low suction levels because of the pain)? I plan to take herbs to boost supply while traveling and the first week back, but I don't think that will be enough by itself to keep my supply going... Are there any other recommendations?

I really don't want my DD to wean earlier than necessary just because I have to travel for work!

Thanks for taking the time to read my post!
 

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I was away for 5 days with a 2,5 year old and didn't pump at all, I just hand milked a drop or two when my breasts hurt. The first day back she didn't want to nurse but started up the following night. I had not lost my supply, I could hear her swallowing. With an older child it is almost fully about someone sucking or not so it might not be necessary to pump at all.
 

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Thanks for the response, elliha. I just wanted to come back to post my experience, in case it helps someone else. I ended up renting a symphony pump for my trip. I had to find a different rental place, since the one I had used in the past didn't allow one to travel with it. I just packed the pump in my carry-on suitcase, padded with clothes. I took fenugreek, blessed thistle, and and goat's rue just for the duration of the conference, and I was able to keep my milk supply going just fine. I had to buy a new set of valves, to fit the symphony, but the bottles and breast shields from my freestyle pump worked fine with it otherwise. This was over a period of 5-6 days of travel.
 

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I was going to suggest the herbs on top of any kind of fairly frequent pumping. In case anyone else is reading this, I had similar concerns and have found that for an older nurser, it is less the amount you pump while away than the fact of pumping regularly and encouraging the milk flow to continue. Your LO will bring that supply right back again once the child is regularly nursing. Unless you had milk supply issues to start with, in which case I think the added herbs would certainly help a lot. I have relactated several times with an older nurseling and am still nursing and older child now.

I am glad it worked out for you!! :)
 

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Thanks for the response, elliha. I just wanted to come back to post my experience, in case it helps someone else. I ended up renting a symphony pump for my trip. I had to find a different rental place, since the one I had used in the past didn't allow one to travel with it. I just packed the pump in my carry-on suitcase, padded with clothes. I took fenugreek, blessed thistle, and and goat's rue just for the duration of the conference, and I was able to keep my milk supply going just fine. I had to buy a new set of valves, to fit the symphony, but the bottles and breast shields from my freestyle pump worked fine with it otherwise. This was over a period of 5-6 days of travel.
I just checked this thread and found useful insights. This is great! :) Good for you.
 
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