After my first daughter was born, I wasn’t able to produce milk. She had a tongue tie which really hindered our ability to get my milk coming in, and my milk supply was never able to get established. It was heartbreaking.
Georgia was born with a tongue tie and was losing a lot of weight in the hospital. I wanted to make sure she wasn’t dehydrated and I wanted to get out of that hospital as fast as possible, so I had them bring me a pump. and now here we are, 3.5 months later, and pumping is now a huge part of our lives.
I use the Medela Pump in Style. It was originally in a big black tote bag but I ordered a smaller case on Etsy and it was one of the best decisions I made. Less of an eye sore and still pretty convenient to grab and go (though any flanges/collectors will need to be carried separately, the only downside).
Prior to this experience, I had no idea what all pumping required. I know that most people have a pump so they can collect milk for time away from baby or maintain supply if baby is away/sleeping through feedings. The occasional use of a pump is not the same as a daily reliance on it, so I thought I’d share what I’ve found essential to keep me going (and give me hope for continuing).
01 // Kindred Bravely sublime hands free pumping bra
HANDS DOWN my #1 essential. I had another hands free bra that I tried to make work and finally decided to splurge on these Kindred Bravely ones. I got two, and I’m planning on investing in another few. When I first got them, I opened one up and laughed because it looked like a tactical vest – SUCH A BEAST. But it has a top layer that can be unclipped to give access for the pumping bra part and then the lower clip can be removed to become a nursing bra. I’m wearing mine and pumping while I work on this blog post. It’s amazing.
02 // A big ol’ water bottle
Not only is water so important for producing milk, producing milk makes you THIRSTY! I got this one from Legendairy Mama because I loved the encouragement of the sticker pack it comes with, but any big ol’ water bottle will do – I love stainless steel because they keep your water nice and cool. Use my link at Legendairy Milk for 10% off your first purchase! They have amazing products to support all breastfeeding journeys.
03 // Earth Mama Nipple balm
This stuff is A-MA-ZING. I cannot begin to tell you how many times it has saved the day and provided me so much relief. Pumping can really do a number on your nipples, making them feel dry and sore. Not only is this balm soothing and promotes healing, but because it is breastfeeding safe, it can be used as lube for your pumps to make them more comfortable. I have a bunch of the smaller sizes tucked away in the diaper bag, by where I pump, in the bathroom, etc. You can use my link to save 20% off almost everything at the Earth Mama site (or code STEPHANIE.MARTIAN22).
04 // Different sized flanges/inserts
Most pumps come with two size flanges – 27mm and 24mm. The first go round, I just used what the pump came with and my supply dried up real quick. This time, I spent so much more energy learning about how to pump and I realized that my flanges were definitely too big! The first time, I was using 27mm flanges and now I have comfortably settled at.. wait for it… 19mm. That’s a LOT of extra space for my tissue to be suctioned in and given a hard time. I ended up buying these Nenesupply ones. I love that they’re one piece instead of the two parts that came with my Medela pump. For anybody doing a substantial amount of pumping, I’d HIGHLY recommend getting sized for your flanges! They can make a huge difference in your output.
05 // Earth Mama Booby Tubes
More Earth Mama! These booby tubes are amazing. Zap in the microwave for 30-40 seconds and you’ve got a nice warm hug for your hard working boobs and as someone pumping, you can put them in your bra right before you pump to encourage your milk to start flowing. To be honest, we don’t have a microwave and there have been times I’ve considered getting one JUST so I can use these more often – as of now, I use them when we’re at our family’s house but I have sent Justen down the street to our church to warm them up for me a few times. Again, this link gets you 20% off almost everything at Earth Mama or you can use my code STEPHANIE.MARTIAN22).