Whether it’s your first time breastfeeding or your seventh, breastfeeding and pumping tips can help you keep your sanity during what can be a difficult time. Arming yourself with helpful information, the right supplies, and a manageable schedule will make all the difference.
Choosing a Breast Pump: 6 Tips to Consider
Whether you plan on returning to work, or you are a stay at home mom who would like a night or two out, every breastfeeding mama should arm herself with some sort of pump. There are two main types of pumps to choose from—manual and electric.
Consider if a manual pump is a good fit for your lifestyle.
Manual pumps are a great option for many women. These pumps require manual force to suction the breast, and many moms find they mimic the suction of their baby more naturally since they can control the speed of suction. Typically they are for one breast at a time and use two hands to operate, however, there are double manual pumps available.
This pump could be a good fit for you if:
- You do not plan on going back to work
- You do not plan to pump regularly (less than once per day)
- You are uninsured and on a budget (however, one of my favorite breastfeeding and pumping tips is that in the United States your health insurance is required to provide you with a pump)
- You often travel or are out and about where plugs are not readily available
- You would prefer something lightweight and easily portable
Even if you never plan on letting your baby’s lips touch the artificial silicone of a bottle tip, it’s a good idea to keep a pump on hand in case some unforeseen incident, such as an illness, prevents you from breastfeeding.
Is an electric pump better?
Like most things, choosing a pump is a matter of personal preference and opinion. However, there are several situations where it makes sense to have an electric pump, like if:
- You are returning to work
- You will be pumping more than one time per day
- You would like to keep your hands free
- Your breasts are a bit more sensitive and you’d like a gentle latch
Furthermore, if you select an electric pump, you will need to decide which features you need in a pump.
If you anticipate needing to pump cord-free, choose an electric pump with a rechargeable battery. Likewise, many models come with a car adaptorso you can charge your pump while in your car—why not make the most of rush hour?
Additionally, consider what you’d like to pump into. While there are adaptors available for many pumps, you might like one that pumpsdirectly into a certain type of bag or bottle.
When in all doubt, ask a girlfriend if you find yourself at a complete loss for what type of pump to get. Chances are, she will have a strong opinion!
16 Breast Pumps and Accessories We Love
What good is breastfeeding and pumping tips without telling you exactly what you should buy? This list will save you hours of annoying research—everything on this list is available on Amazon and has high ratings.
Best Electric Pumps
As stated above, there is a wide range of pumps available to become your new bestie—after all, you and your pump will probably be spending a good amount of quality time together! Some of our favorites include:
- Spectra S2 – this pump has a cult following by moms who swear it works just as well as a hospital grade pump. It even comes in this super cute breast pump set that includes a carrying case for your pump, bottles, breast milk bag, an ice pack and more.
- Spectra S1 pump – this pump is everything you love about the S2, except with a rechargeable battery to use on the go.
- Double electric breast pump – this pump is an inexpensive pump with three modes with a touchable LED screen and a USB charging spot.
- Lansinoh electric double pump – the Lansinoh smart pump connects to their online app to help you track pumps, set up reminders and more.
Best Manual Pumps
If you opt for a manual pump, here are three great options:
- Haakkaa Manual Pump – this is one pump every mama should keep in their bag. It’s a basic manual pump, but it also can be used hands-free to catch any milk that is let down on the breast opposite the one your baby is nursing from, rather than just letting it go to waste. At just over $10 it’s a steal!
- Madela Harmony Manual Pump – this pump has an ergonomic handle (trust me, your hands will get tired eventually!) and comes with a stand and two breast milk storage bottles.
- Lansinoh Manual Pump – this pump has two modes allowing you to switch between stimulation and expression. This pump also comes with a bottle and two of the most common flanges for a comfortable fit.
Recommended Breastfeeding Accessories
Out of all the breastfeeding and pumping tips I have ever received, I have found that accessories can make all the difference in keeping up a pumping routine.
- Breastmilk storage – there are three popular varieties of bags to take a look at: Lansinoh, Madela, and Kinde. I also like the Madela breastmilk storage set as it comes with bags, bottles and small 80 mL bottles that are perfect for pumping in the early days of colostrum.
- Stay dry nursing pads – these disposable pads are a lifesaver for stopping embarrassing leaks.
- My brest friend breastfeeding pillow – there are several breastfeeding pillows available, but this one snaps around the waist to stay in place and is wide enough to use while tandem feeding
- Breastpump and diaper bag – this bag is 2-in-1 and holds more than just your pump—it will also hold diapers and other baby-related items you may need.
- Bottle warmer and sanitizer – this tool will sanitize your bottles and warm breastmilk. Additionally, you can heat baby food and even steam eggs and make yogurt later on!
- Nipple butter – time for an uncomfortable truth…during breastfeeding, your nipples may become sore or dry. This organic nipple butter is soothing, and unlike other nipple creams, does not need to be washed off before your baby nurses. In fact, you can even use it as chapstick or lotion for you or your little one.
3 Pumping Hacks that Will Change Your Life
Trust me, when you are sleep deprived and nursing in the middle of the night, even a few extra minutes saved are worth every penny. Here are some breastfeeding and pumping tips that may literally change your life.
Get a free pump: did you know that in the United States healthcare providers are required to give a breast pump to pregnant women for free thanks to the Affordable Care Act? Simply contact your provider for more information
The easiest way to sanitize: when you have to sanitize your pump at the office or quickly at home, grab these quick clean steam bags. These bags are the easiest way to quickly sanitize bottles, nipples and pumping parts! Each one is good for five uses—simply wash the parts and then add them all to the bag with water and microwave to sanitize parts and remove 99% of germs. Easy peasy.
Buy a handsfree pumping bra: perhaps the biggest change you can make to your pumping regime is to free up your hands while you pump. This will allow you to double pumping time as you time! Whether you choose to read, knit or simply scroll, your hands are all yours.
11 Ways to Increase Your Milk Supply
One easy way to try to increase your milk supply is to rent a hospital grade pump. These machines are stronger than consumer grade versions and can be rented for short periods of time until you get your supply back up.
Another great way to increase supply is to work with a lactation consultant. Talk to your pediatrician to see if they have one on staff, or can recommend anyone for you to work with.
Make sure you are using the correct sized flanges. Using flanges too large will not suction properly and too small flanges will pinch. This helpful post shows you how to measure your nipples for the correct size.
Pumping (or nursing) more frequently can help bring your supply up as well. Some women even have a “nurse-in” where they spend the entirety of a day or weekend in bed relaxing and feeding their baby or pumping as frequently as possible.
Try over the counter remedies. Like anything, read up on any risks and clear any concerns with your doctor. Some popular options mamas use include:
- Lactation tea
- Lactation cookies
- Liquid breastmilk herbs
- Lactation pills and herbs
Lastly, remember that there are sometimes medical reasons supply drops, including thyroid problems or a lip tie on your baby. If you have tried everything and still are having no luck, don’t feel bad if you call it quits and switch to totally or partially using formula. Many babies are raised on formula and are thriving!
4 Ways to Get on a Pumping Schedule
Another one of the breastfeeding and pumping tips that can be life-changing is to get yourself onto a pumping schedule. How your schedule looks will depend on if you are a mom who works outside the office or a stay at home mom, and whether you both pump and nurse or are exclusively pumping. Either way, here are some tips to get on a pumping schedule
- Decide how many pumps per day you would like to do, then divide those pumps into sessions.
- Realistically consider how many hours a night you will be able to sleep. If your baby is sleeping through the night, try to do the same. If they aren’t, you should plan on pumping while they are up.
- Ask for help. If you are exclusively pumping, it will help enormously to have your partner on board, especially during night feeds.
- Try different schedules and see what works for you. If something doesn’t feel right, adjust accordingly.
Sample Pumping Schedule for Stay-At-Home Moms
If you would like an idea of what a pumping schedule for a stay at home mom might look like, here is a helpful post broken down with schedules by the baby’s age.
Sample Pumping Schedule for Working Moms
Working moms may have a few more logistics to contend with such as daycare drop-offs and rescheduling their pumping schedules around meetings. This post has some great ideas!