I can understand why some mothers love breastfeeding their babies. Even though it can be a painful and challenging experience, it’s also a beautiful time to bond and be still with your baby. I even enjoyed many aspects of it myself. But, while I haven’t asked every mom out there, I’ve never met a mom who loved pumping.
I personally hated pumping with my first baby and think a lot of fellow moms can relate. Most of the time you’re stuck in one spot near an outlet, you’re continuously cleaning pump parts, not to mention the actual breast discomfort. I could go on, but if you’re a mom who has also pumped, you probably have your own list of reasons why you didn’t like it.
While I haven’t asked every mom out there, I’ve never met a mom who loved pumping.
With my first baby I didn’t pump a ton, but when I did it felt like the ultimate chore. When I hear of moms who exclusively pump, I’m in awe of them for sticking with it. It’s truly amazing.
With my second baby on the way, I’m really not sure what’s in store for us. I plan to breastfeed and maybe it will come easy. Or maybe it won’t and I’ll be pumping on a regular basis or we’ll use formula. Only time will tell what our feeding experience will turn out to be, but if it does include pumping, I’m already setting guidelines to make it a less annoying activity.
If you’re a mom who’s currently pumping or plan to, hopefully these ideas will help make it more enjoyable for you as well.
Invest in a pump you like
Pumps have come a long way in recent years and there are a lot of types and styles to choose from. Many insurance companies will cover some or all of the cost of your pump, so make sure to research your options. Consider what elements are important to you and what fits into your budget. If you want to be able to move around, check out wearable options. If those are out of your price range (insurance may not cover these pumps), look into pumps that are battery operated so you can at least move around your house.
Get extra pump parts
One of the more annoying elements of pumping may be all the cleaning it involves. If you have only one set of pump parts, you’ll find yourself constantly cleaning these. You also may find that many pump parts need to be replaced after a few months of use to ensure they are working at their highest level. It’s best to get extra parts from the start so you don’t need to clean each set as soon as you use them, and when cycling through multiple sets you won’t wear them out as quickly.
Delegate the cleaning
And speaking of cleaning, don’t be shy about asking someone else (like your partner) to clean the pump parts. You’re doing a lot of work by pumping and the cleaning aspect is an easy one for your partner to take on. With my first baby and pumping experience, I felt like it was my burden to feed the baby which also included cleaning pump parts and bottles. Eventually, I realized it did not need to all fall on me and my husband was more than happy to help however he could.
Do something you enjoy while pumping
The first time around I often found myself pumping and scrolling Instagram, which eventually got boring and led to a stiff neck. Make a list of activities you enjoy doing that you can do while pumping, like diving into a good book, listening to a podcast, watching a binge-worthy show, or scheduling a phone date with a friend.
Get comfortable pumping-friendly clothes
If you do one thing to make pumping more comfortable, it should be to buy a hands-free pumping bra. Get one that fits well and keeps the pump securely in place. It’s also worth having pumping-friendly tops (front buttons are a plus) and a cozy robe so you can settle in and be comfortable as you pump.
Let go of the pressure
I felt a lot of pressure to pump and have a freezer supply of milk with my first baby. I had friends talk about the hundreds of ounces they had on-hand and saw imagery of packed freezers. It made me feel like I needed to have my own stash. And yes, it’s good to have some milk available if you expect to have some time away from your baby (which as a mom you should take), but I felt a constant nagging that I should be pumping more and building up my freezer stash. In reality, my baby and I were together most of the time and breastfeeding was working just fine. Plus, in a time of need, I felt formula would also be perfectly fine.
While that pressure was mainly self-imposed, I’m going to try to let go of those feelings and take my own path instead of worrying about how my freezer stash stands up to that of other moms.
Doing some or all of these things likely will not make me passionate or excited to pump, but I do expect it will make the process a little bit better this time around.
Read More: 47 Things to Do While You’re Pumping