This post is dedicated to my friend, M.M., who called me a few weeks before I returned to work after having my son. Thank goodness for great friends. Had she not given me the low-down on what it’s like to be a working [outside the home] mom, a pumping mom, and a working, pumping, TEACHER, I surely would not have survived those first weeks before I really got a hang of things. Breastfeeding advice is easy to find; pumping advice…not so much. I am so grateful for that phone call.
Here’s what you need to know: PUMPING SUCKS.
I’m just bein’ straight with ya, yo. There is nothing fun nor beautiful about pumping. It’s you, your pump, your breasts, your brain, and some empty bottles to fill. GO AT IT. God help you if there is a classroom-full of humans banging on your door. Or the substitute-teacher coordinator thinks you’re gone, unlocks the door without knocking, as you yell, “Please come back later!!!!!,” then homeboy and a random man you’ve never met start walking toward your desk, all the while you’re saying, “I’m pumping. I’M PUMPING. I.AM.PUMPING. PLEASE LEAVE. PLEASE LEAVE,” while simultaneously ducking behind your desk as the sound of your pump errrr-errrrr-errrrr’s in the background. Quite a special memory for me.
But I digress.
Shockingly, despite how much I abhorred the task of pumping, I was able to successfully pump through an entire school year. There were some items that made the pumping scenario much easier, and once I figured out the best combination, the routine was easier.
By the way, if you’re a teacher who has to pump, I have a post just for you: Pumping in Your Classroom.
Here are the pumping accessories that helped ease my mind on the daily:
I know so many women who felt unsuccessful with pumping because their pump failed them. Some options are: renting from a hospital, putting a pump on your baby registry (that’s how I got mine!), or *BEST YET* contacting your insurance company to see what they will cover. Breast pumps are now covered by insurance, so follow these steps:
1.Call your doctor for a prescription for a breast pump.
2.Call your insurance company and find the DME (Durable Medical Equipment) provider near you and get their fax number.
3.Fax the prescription directly to the DME supplier.
4.Pick up the pump!
For more information and questions to ask, visit this info page on the Hygeia website.
–Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking this is a bra. No way would I wear this thing other than for pumping. But it works wonders when you need to have two veritable suction cups slurping at your nerples. Wear a regular nursing bra (see my favorite, below), unstrap it, slap this Bad-Boy Simple Wishes around yourself, and get to pumpin’. *THIS* should be called The Miracle Bra.
–This one’s not completely necessary, but it made me feel better to know where my milk was at all times. I worked in a place where people would steal yogurt from your zippered lunch container. I wasn’t taking a chance with my precious liquid gold. Though maybe I should have made some homemade yogurt with breastmilk and put it in the shared staff fridge…
Two for you to put water in (and drink throughout the day) and one to store your breastmilk. Here’s how I did it:
1. Attach 9 oz bottles to your pump (9 oz! Not 5 oz! Nothing is worse than filling 5 oz and realizing “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”)
2. Keep your pumping bottles attached to the pump parts all day. Don’t change to new bottles. This may sound gross, but it’s perfectly fine. Don’t bother washing your pump parts, either. In the beginning, I used to run to the staff microwave and zap my pump parts in a steam-cleaing bag, but that was unnecessary. Just wash everything when you get home.
3. Once you’ve filled the small bottles, empty them into the bigger bottle.
4. When you get home, wash your pump parts, the bottles you pumped into, and give your caregiver your ONE bottle of milk and a feeding bottle for the day. BOOM. DONE.
— You’re gonna have a spill. Or you’ll have drops of milk on your desk/lap/blouse. Or your breasts will be damp from pumping. In any case, keep at least two in your pumping bag at all times. They’re great for wiping off the pump parts, too.
–My absolute favorite nursing bras were those made by Hot Milk. Comfortable, pretty, and they held up to constant wear. Just make sure you’re getting the right size. For reference: I’m the kind of girl who can get by with a camisole on a regular day. When I had nursing boobs, though? Um, my correct size was a 30DD. Make sure you measure yourself and buy appropriately.
So what did I miss? Are there any essentials you’d add?
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