Ode to a Breast Pump

It’s the end of an era…

breastpump

My faithful pump that has served me for nearly 3 years of breastfeeding has been cleaned and sterilized for the last time and is on its way to another mama.

No, I really didn’t ‘enjoy’ pumping, but it did offer me a reprieve from being my baby’s only source of nourishment 24/7 and the freedom to be able to stay away for more than a few hours at a time. It allowed others to feed and bond with both of my babies and enjoy those close quiet snuggles.

But pumping is no picnic – it takes time and energy at at a period in your life when you sometimes feel short on both. Here’s how I made pumping work for me:

  • I bought a double electric pump. It is faster and you typically get more volume when you use a double pump
  • I brought it with me every time I was away and kept pumping at my regular nursing times (if I was in a hotel I brought a cooler bag with me or asked for a room with a fridge)
  • Once my babies dropped a night feeding I pumped at that time for a while to build a freezer stash
  • I kept my pump plugged in and ready to go right beside where I usually nursed and kept the pump parts in the fridge (if pumping multiple times a day instead of needing to wash and sterilize every time)*
  • I used microwave steam cleaning bags for easy weekly sterilization
  • I regularly replaced the membranes so the pump was as efficient as possible
  • I laid freezer storage bags flat in the freezer so they thawed quickly and were easy to store
  • I froze milk in 4oz portions as it was enough to fill up my babies and not have any left over

 

Now, double electric pumps can be pricey. Here are a few ways to help with the cost:

  • Some extended health benefits will cover up to $200 for a breast pump – you will likely just need a prescription from your health care practitioner
  • Shop around – I purchased mine off Amazon.com. It was much cheaper than the Canadian site – even with the exchange
  • You don’t need the fancy brand name milk storage bags – generic store brand work just as well for a fraction of the price
  • Check out mom’s buy and sell groups on Facebook. There are often brand new in the box pumps available (make sure you check them out in person)
  • You can buy used pumps and replace the breast shields, valves, membranes, and bottles (the only parts that touch your skin or milk) for around $30
  • Think carefully about your needs – hand pumps are extremely efficient and perfectly fine for occasional pumping and many hospitals and pharmacies will rent pumps too. You might want to try these options first if you are unsure about pumping

 

For reference – I used the Medela Pump In Style and I loved it. It met all my needs. The tote bag style was convenient to carry all the required paraphernalia and I loved the included battery pack and cooler.

Pumping isn’t for everyone, neither is breastfeeding. That’s ok. It has to work for you and your family. It worked for me which is why I share my story.

If you’d like some more info on pumping – or maybe even just some words of encouragement to keep pumping longer – send me a message! I’d love to chat.

 

*if your baby is premature or has other complications you should speak to your healthcare practitioner before doing this.

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