15 Breast Pumping Hacks for Exclusive Pumping Moms

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The holidays are rollin’ in fast, so today we’re bringing you 15 of the BEST pumping hacks to help our exclusive pumping moms get through the season!

I don’t know about you, but I love the holidays. Gatherings with family and building memories with the kiddos.

However, for some moms, it can be a bit more stressful than enjoyable — and if you’ve ever breastfed a baby or are breastfeeding, you know I’m talking to you!

Instead of trying to tell you why you should just let it go and look past the struggles, I’m going to share some practical pumping hacks you use to ENJOY the holiday season this year!

Ready? Let’s dive in!

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Importance of using the BEST breast pump for exclusive pumpers

Before getting into the hacks, I want to emphasize how important it is to use a good breast pump.

The GOOD news is almost any mom with insurance can get a pump for free!

Many insurance companies have stepped up with the pump options they offer for breastfeeding moms too, some including pumps like:

When considering which pump to select, you want to be mindful of a few specifications about the pump, including:

  • Suction Strength/Options — you want a pump with a nice variety of suction levels because you don’t know what will be the most efficient for you. For instance, a Spectra S1/S2 breast pump goes up to 270mm/Hg while Lansinoh goes up to 280mm/Hg.

  • Open or Closed System? —  Closed systems are nice because you know guck and nastiness can’t back up into your pump system, however, open system pumps have lots of precautions in place to also make sure that doesn’t happen.

  • Flange & Part Options — This is important because having a varied selection of flange sizes is key to ensuring you get the BEST fit when pumping. I cannot tell you how many pumps I looked at that only offered 3 flange sizes and weren’t compatible with off-brand accessories for a personal fit.

Key takeaway: finding a pump that will help you empty efficiently is the most important step for exclusive pumping moms.

This couldn’t be any more true during holidays & events!

Efficiently pumping & emptying your breasts will not only help you keep your milk stash growing, but also help to prevent things like plugged milk ducts and mastitis — two very uncomfortable things nobody should have to deal with ever (especially during the holidays!).

Now that you know how to pick out a solid pump, let’s dig into those hacks!

Breast Pumping Hacks To Survive The Holidays

Hands Free Pumping

This is my top pumping hack because being able to pump 100% hands-free is a total GAME CHANGER.

Imagine making filling your plate with holiday food while pumping? Think of not having to isolate yourself into a room & missing out on the memories?

The kicker — hands-free pumps can be expensive. Sometimes, you can get your insurance to cover them, so call them up and find out what the scoop is.

If you can’t afford a hands-free pump, you can try looking into the Freemie Hands-Free Pumping Cups!

These cups tuck into your bra so all you have to do is hide the tubing under your clothes and slip your portable breast pump into your pockets. Not 100% hands-free, but girl is it better than being attached to a big ol’ loud breast pump!

Pump on the go

If you’re not one to be comfortable pumping at a family member’s house, no worries, I totally get it.

Instead, try pumping in the car!

Simply get yourself a handy car adapter, plug it in, and you just made yourself a portable breast pump!

Use heat to help you empty

I know you know that breastfeeding is based on a supply & demand principle.

So, if you’re planning to pump before you head out for some festive fun, it’s important to empty yourself efficiently.

I’ve found one of the best ways to do this, is to apply heat!

The warmth allows your milk ducts to open up more allowing your milk to flow more smoothly (thing of the same way heat opens up your pores and such).

You can use one of these nifty (and portable) heating packs for breastfeeding & simply place them on your breasts before and during your pump session!

Carry breast pump cleaning wipes

There’s nothing more daunting than the AFTER pump clean up.

I mean, who enjoys taking their pumps apart and scrubbing all the little pieces?

Plus, during a holiday celebration? No thank you!

Instead, save yourself some time by using these sanity-saving Quick Clean Wipes by Medela!

I LOVE these wipes and used them quite often whenever I pumped on the go.

Although they aren’t a replacement for good ol’ soap and water, they can help you keep your parts clean and usable when you’re on the go.

Use a comfortable hands-free pumping bra

I cannot tell you how big a difference using a comfortable pumping bra will make.

Especially when you’re at a Christmas or Thanksgiving celebration, nobody wants any bra mishaps, let alone feeling uncomfortable.

If you want to keep comfortable while pumping throughout the holidays, I highly suggest Kindred Bravely’s Sublime Pumping Bra!

Soft stretchy material for support & great design to make pumping convenient — I promise, you can’t go wrong with this beauty!

Keep spare pump parts handy

I’ll never forget the one time I was pumping on the go and looked down to see I had no milk in the bottles.

I knew I was full and needed to pump, but nothing was flowing. After stopping to evaluate my pump, I noticed my tubing had a tiny little hole. Needless to say, I didn’t have any backup parts so I ended up hand expressing the milk out.

If I had the spare pump parts in my bag — it would’ve been amazing. So, here’s a friendly reminder to keep at least one set of replacement parts in your pump bag wherever you go!

Have a manual pump on standby

Continuing from the story above — if you don’t like keeping backup pump supplies you don’t have to.

The alternative I’d suggest is to bring yourself a manual handheld pump like the Medela Harmony or the Haakaa Silicone Pump.

I’ve used em’ both so whichever one you opt to use, you’ll be in good hands!

Use breast milk collecting shells

Breast milk collecting shells are AMAZING!

Not only do they help prevent you from ending up with breast milk stains on your shirt (because who wants to show up to the party covered in breast milk?), but they also collect the milk so you can stash it away!

Yup, no more wasting milk to the party mama!

Pack some extra nursing pads

Ok, I get it, pumping is more than enough. We all don’t need to store our milk leakage.

If storing the leaked milk isn’t your thing, just be sure to pack some extra nursing pads in the event you leak more than expected.

You can get really soft, reusable nursing pads or you can grab some disposable ones too. Totally your preference here.

Massage, Massage, Massage

We talked earlier about how efficiently emptying your breasts during a pump session is important.

Another great way to help you get all that milk out is by massaging!

Simply use your thumb, fingers, or a handheld massager to start at the base of your breast and massage down toward your nipple.

Before you know it, you’ll probably even have 1-2 more letdowns than usual just by applying this simple little trick!

Cover up the bottle

This is a hack I have yet to try, but many moms, including a lactation consultant, said that covering the bottle as they pump helps them relax & have multiple letdowns!

The idea behind this is that when we stare at the bottle and see little milk, we can stress ourselves out that we’re not pumping enough which hinders our body’s letdown response.

So, grab yourself a baby sock, slip it onto the bottle the next time you pump, and see if you ended up pumping more than usual — the results may be shocking!

Bring a cooler

Stressing about how you will transport your pumped milk from grandma’s house back home is a problem no mom needs to struggle with.

Be sure to bring yourself something like a small cooler, a travel-friendly mini fridge, or even an insulated lunch bag to safely keep your milk cold on the drive home!

Use travel-friendly sterilizing bags

When you’re on the go one of the most important aspects of being a pumping mama, is making sure your pump stays clean.

One way to do this is to use Medela’s Quick Clean Sanitizing Bags.

These bags conveniently allow you to sanitize your pump parts via microwave — making them the perfect solution for on the go life!

They come in handy for moms who pump at work, during the holidays, moms who travel, and much more!

Double bag your milk

If you know you’ll be transporting milk in bags, do yourself a favor and double up on the bags!

The last thing ANY pumping mom needs is to lose her precious pumped milk thanks to a hole or leak in the bag during travel.

I’ve read too many horror stories of bags tearing or not sealing all the way so the solution is to double bag and be double safe!

Leave out the bottle and pump straight to the bag

This hack is pretty cool, you can completely bypass pumping into a bottle and instead pump straight into a bag! How?

With the Kiinde Twist Starter Kit! This nifty little kit comes with various adapters that will connect to your pump so that you can pump straight into the Kiinde bags!

The benefit of bypassing the bottle means fewer parts to clean and the ability to put your milk straight into the freezer after collected.

Hopefully, these hacks will help you alleviate some of the stress you’ve had leading into the holiday season.

Like I always say, failing to plan is like planning to fail — so which one of the breast pumping hacks will be most helpful for you?

Be sure to pin this article for later below!

Woman in pink stripe shirt pumping breastmilk with electric breast pump

Contribution by Karissa Whitman from FitMommyStrong.com

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