Friday, July 2, 2010

Hands Free Pumping

If you haven't figured it out already, being a working mom means perfecting the art of multi-tasking.  If you're working full time, you may find yourself spending up to an hour a day strapped to your pump - a huge amount of time when you've got things to do (like some work, perhaps?). Thankfully, when it comes to pumping, there is a solution:

Choose to go hands free.

There are a number of options for hands free pumping, but what it ultimately comes down to is the ability to use your hands for typing, holding a book, writing notes, making phone calls, or in my case, driving my car.  Yes, really - it's less distracting than using a cell phone in the car, I promise.

There are several options for pumping hands free - I've listed a few, but I'd love to hear about what has worked for you!

Pumping bras and bands:  These can be worn in lieu of or over top your normal nursing bra.  They hold the horns securely against the breast while supporting the collection bottle.  Several brands are listed below with links to  Search around for the best deals if you're planning to buy. 

    The Elastic Band Method: If you want to save money, it is possible to use 4 elastic bands to hook your pumping horns directly to your nursing bra.  Here is a great set of visuals that illustrate how to make this work.  I've tried this and it works in a pinch, but doesn't offer the security and stability that a quality pumping bra will provide.

    Tips and Recommendations:  I pump hands free twice a day and love it.  It takes an extra minute to get set up, but the pay off is worth it.  Currently I use the Simple Wishes Bustier (size XS-M) and would recommend it.  It's endlessly adjustable and has seen me from  my post-partum 44 inch, DDD cup size all the way down to my my current 36 inch, C/D cup and still has plenty of room to adjust smaller.  I suggest you buy just one pumping bra and wear it over top of your regular nursing bra just when you're pumping (you can unhook and pull the flaps of your regular nursing bra down and out of the way).  That way it doesn't need to be washed as frequently, and you can just fold it up and store it in your pumping bag between uses.

    A final warning - it is easy to lose focus on the the fact that you are actually pumping.  I once was careless enough that one of my collections bottles was tilted at enough of an angle that allowed for a large amount of milk to get backed up and sucked up into the tubing of my pump.  A HUGE mess ensued, with milk spraying out of the pump face plate - yuck!  I ended up needing to buy brand new tubing - a costly mistake for a momentary lapse in attention.  So, pay attention to your posture and be sure to check that you haven't filled up your bottle to the brim!

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