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I Don’t Like to Waste Time Pumping
I love pumping because I know it allows me to feed my son the best milk I can offer him. Day to day, though, pumping feels like a chore. Assembling pump parts multiple times, getting dressed and undressed, HOPING I don’t spill any milk. Pumping is never the highlight of my day.
My goal is to pump as efficiently as possible. I don’t like to waste time, especially if it means I could get held up in the office and not get home in time to put my son to bed. Over time I developed my own specific routine and I encourage any pumping mom to do so.
Develop a Pumping Routine and Pack Your Pump Bag Well
It doesn’t matter what your routine includes – you’ll see I’ve laid mine out in some detail below, but it doesn’t have to be this involved. The point is, if you follow the same set of steps each time you pump, you will be able to pump quickly.
You’ll also want to pack your pump bag carefully each day. Yes, this also feels like a chore sometimes, but it isn’t fun to get set up to pump and realize you’re missing something essential, like milk collection bottles or even the pump itself. You can read about my pump bag essentials here.
My Pumping Routine
So here is the routine I follow – yes, it goes beyond the simple pumping session. As I wrote this I realized my entire day – not just my time in the office when I’m pumping – is centrered around pumping!
Step 1 – Getting Dressed for Work. Wear a nursing bra, button down, and if it’s cold out, a cardigan. Why so specific? Because I don’t want to actually remove my shirt to pump. I unbutton, put my simple wishes hands free pumping bra on, and that’s it. I don’t sit there uncomfortably topless, I save time, and I don’t get cold.
Step 2 – Make Sure you have Everything in your Pump Bag. Sounds simple, but double and triple check. Is the pump there? All pump parts? Milk collection bottles or bags? Hands-free bra?
Step 3 – Getting Ready to Pump. Get everything you need to pump together and head to the room you’ll pump in. Ideally you won’t have to make two trips. Sometimes this means my hands are full with my pump bag, milk cooler, lunchbox, and computer. If you pump at your desk, make sure you have everything you need within arms reach.
Step 4 – Set up the Pump. I always set up the pump first – assemble any parts, plug in the motor, and make sure you have everything there for pumping.
Step 5 – Breast Massage. When I’m all set and know I’ll begin pumping shortly, I briefly massage my breasts. This works as a ‘warmup’ of sorts, and it helps my milk start flowing soon after i begin pumping.
Step 6 – Prepare to Pump. Unbutton shirt, put on hands-free bra, place pump flanges on breasts.
Step 7 – Start Pumping. I always start with the letdown mode (or if the pump I’m using doesn’t have one, I set it to low suction and fast speed)
Step 8 – Watch Videos of My Son. Watching a couple of videos of my son always help my milk start to flow faster than if I’m doing something else when I start pumping.
Step 9 – Adjust Pump Settings. As soon as my milk starts to flow, I adjust the pump settings to high suction and low speed (just as a baby would adjust his pace to drink milk after triggering the letdown reflex).
Step 10 – Pay Attention to Milk Flow & Re-Adjust Pump Settings. As the flow of milk from the let down tapers off, I put the pump back into letdown mode to trigger a second letdown. For me, a pumping session is typically 2-3 letdowns.
Step 11 – Carefully Put Away the Milk. Once I’ve finished pumping, I very carefully remove the pump and cap the milk collection bottles. I do this before getting my clothes back together so I can avoid any accidental spills.
Step 12 – Store Milk. I store my expressed milk in a cooler bag because it isn’t always easy to find space in the fridge.
Step 13 – Store Pump Parts. I don’t wash the pump parts between sessions (only at home at night). I store them in a bag and place them in the fridge instead.
Step 14 – Button Up & Pack Up. Don’t forget to get your clothes back together! Pack everything up and head back to your desk until the next time you have to pump!
At Home After Work
Step 15 – Put Expressed Milk in Fridge or Freezer. Make a habit of doing it right when you get home. You don’t want to find it still sitting on the counter right before bed.
Step 16 – Wash Pump Parts Immediately. Washing the pump parts is never fun. Just do it. Get it out of the way and allow them time to dry before bed so you can pack up your pump bag.
Step 17 – Pack Back Up Your Pump Bag. I like to do this at night if I can because the morning is rushed and I’m more likely to forget something.
What do you Think?
I think my routine is pretty standard, but following it each day makes a difference. I pump so much faster now than in the early days when I would fumble around with parts and do stuff in a different order each time.
Do you follow a specific pumping routine? What works for you? Share in the comments below!
See more pumping tips & what to pack in your bag: