If you’re trying to establish your milk supply you will need to pump 8 to 12 times a day. Finding the time to do that can be difficult, but not impossible.
Here are ways that you can save time or even find time to pump. These tips will be helpful to any mom who is pumping breastmilk.
I consider my breast-feeding journey to be similar to that of moms who exclusively pump but I also was pumping to relactate.
If you want to know more about getting your milk supply back after it’s dried up, read more about my relactation journey. Here’s how I was able to fit those sessions in as a working mom.
TIP: Want to learn how to pump more efficiently? Try this easy, step by step pumping class to reach your breastfeeding goals.
1. Set up pumping stations
With this many pumping sessions, you likely won’t be pumping in the same place every day. To make it easier on yourself, create a pumping station with things you’ll need to be able to access quickly.
Suggestions for items in your pumping station:
Extra pump parts
You can keep all of these items in cute storage bins or even a rolling cart. This way you can have them in different rooms of your home, in the car or even at your workplace.
2. Go hands free
One of the most important ways to save time breast pumping is to go hands free. If you don’t have a portable breast pump, learn more about my trick to making any breast pump work on the go. Once you’re not tied to a wall or outlet, you can multitask while you pump.
3. Multiple pump parts
Since the CDC recommends that pump parts are cleaned after each session, the workaround to this is for you to have multiple pump parts. Did you know you can purchase 3rd party pump parts that work with your pump? Buying the original branded accessories can cost a lot, but buying generic parts can save you money. My favorite place to buy cheaper pump supplies is NENESUPPLY or Maymom.
Related: How to Save Money When You’re Exclusively Pumping
4. Car charger
If you spend any solid chunk of time commuting in your car during the day, why not use that time to pump? Get a power adapter like this one that can plug into your car’s power outlet.
5. Get reminders
As a busy mom, do you ever feel like the day just goes so fast? Between work, home and family, the day can easily just zoom by. Try adding 8 pumping times into the mix and its easy to forget that it’s time to pump.
You can try and remember your last pumping session, but without consistent reminders you will forget. Try using an app to track your pumping and get reminders to pump again. My favorite app is Pump Log because it keeps track of the timing and your milk production.
6. Help from family and friends
Breastfeeding takes a lot of time and work, especially when you’re pumping. If your spouse is home while you’re pumping then have him watch the baby while you pump. If a family member or friend offers to take your baby while you pump then take them up on it! Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
7. Customize your schedule to go 3 hour stretches
Sometimes I would wait two hours between pumps, so I could get a majority of them done during my work day. When I’m off the clock and I have family obligations in the evening hours, I would stretch my pump sessions into every 3 hours. That extra hour can give you time to get other household or caregiver responsibilities done.
8. Pump while nursing or bottle feeding
Although this can be an awkward set up to get used to a first, you’ll master it after doing it for a while. Pump milk while your baby lays on a nursing pillow.
9. Pump while baby sleeps
You can also pump while the baby is sleeping for a distraction free pumping session. If you’re still in the early sleep deprived stages, this is hard, I know. When I wanted to motivate myself to pump in the middle of the night while baby was sleeping, I often hopped into one of my breastfeeding groups on social media. It can be helpful to just see that someone else, somewhere is up pumping too in the middle of the night! Just be sure to go to sleep after you’re done! Don’t get trapped in your phone.
10. Pump while baby is eating
Many exclusive pumpers stay on this journey past 6 months. If your baby is eating solid food, take advantage of that time to pump as well! This worked very well for me because I would put my baby in her high chair and I was able to pump while feeding her. While she was in her chair I could use my traditional Spectra Pump set up with a pumping bra or even the portable Baby Budda.
11. Play with baby while pumping
You could lay baby on an activity gym and let them get their kicks out and explore a little bit while you pump. For older babies, I recommend using a cord free pump during playtime. You can still read a book, play with toys and entertain baby while you’re pumping.
Pumping while having all of these other obligations can be tricky, but it’s very possible. I hope you found these time saving tips and tricks helpful for your pumping and breastfeeding schedule. Remember that all this effort is for a good cause and your baby is getting the benefits!