Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing. But it can also be exhausting and even painful sometimes, especially during those first few weeks. When you add all this to the fact that a lot of women also have to deal with breast milk supply issues, it is easy to see why more and more women today are choosing to either supplement breastfeeding with pumping or opting to pump exclusively.
Pumping is advantageous for many reasons. It is very flexible because you can do it on your own schedule. You also get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your baby has all the milk she needs every day. Building a stockpile of backup milk also frees you up to enjoy a glass of wine or two every once in a while without having to worry about your baby getting some of it. Finally, it allows you not to have to deal with a lot of common breastfeeding problems like pain and discomfort.
That said, pumping is definitely not as cheap as breastfeeding. Before you can start pumping for your little one, there are a number of things that you have to buy. Here are some of them:
1. Electric Breast Pump
Invest in an efficient and powerful electric breast pump. The best ones have a suckling motion built into their design, making for a more comfortable pumping experience. Go for one that has rechargeable batteries and can easily be moved around. This way, you will not be limited when it comes to where you can be when you need to pump. As long as you keep it fully charged, you can even pump as you drive to work!
Example: Spectra Dual S Electric Breast Pump
2. Breast Pumping Cups
Breast pumping cups are a great hands-free alternative to breast pumps that can fit comfortably in any bra. They can also be used with most standard breast pumps to make milk collection easier and more convenient. The best part is that breast pumping cups can be refrigerated, allowing you to stockpile that extra breast milk.
3. Manual Breast Pump
If you do not want to splurge on an electric breast pump, a manual breast pump is the next best thing. Manual breast pumps are excellent alternatives to electric breast pumps because they work without a power source. They are handheld, and their manual operation means that you can use them in all kinds of conditions. All you have to do is position the cup on your breast using a pumping bra and start pumping.
All that precious breast milk needs to go somewhere, right? Consider investing in a few breast milk storage bags to start. They are conspicuous and take up very little space in the freezer, so it will be difficult to confuse them with anything else. You can also buy bags that are designed to allow you to pump directly into them using standard pumps. Alternatively, you can use baby bottles to store the milk. These work just as well as storage bags.
Example: Medela Breast Milk Storage Bags
5. Nursing Bra
Nursing bras come in various designs and styles depending on your needs. Get a pumping bra, which is a type of nursing bra that is designed for pumping. With it, you can comfortably pump hands-free while doing something else with your hands.
6. Milk cooler
Breast milk can only be left at room temperature for so long. Because of this, a milk cooler is a must-have item especially if you are planning to go out and about with your little one. You’ll also need a cooler if you are planning to pump at work and bring the milk home.
Example: Momcozy Breastmilk Cooler Bag
7. Hand wipes
Proper hygiene is extremely important when dealing with anything baby-related. Your little one’s immune system is still developing and you do not want to stress it unnecessarily. Therefore, you need to wash your hands and ensure your pumping environment is as clean as possible before you can start pumping. The best way to do this is by using hand wipes. Wipe any equipment you use down with the wipes. You should also clean your breasts with hand wipes before attaching the breast pump.
If you want to have the best pumping experience, it is important to prepare for it adequately. With the pumping essentials outlined here, you will be able to pump adequately and get enough breast milk every time to ensure that your little one is always well-sated even when you are not close to her.