I wish I knew these vital breastfeeding pumping tips to save time when I first returned to work. How time-consuming is pumping exactly? I did the math. Astoundingly, I spent 18.4 days in total setting up, pumping, and cleaning up in just one year of motherhood. And, I’m not an anomaly. Just a regular breastfeeding mom with a fairly average supply.
Without question, the scheduling demands of pumping is enough to make any mom want to call it quits. Knowing the tremendous physical, cognitive, and social/emotional benefits that breastmilk provides, this creates a stressful predicament. Perhaps you are nearing this breaking point. Or maybe you are in it for the long haul but are desperate to add a few extra hours to your week.
I’m going to share five amazing pumping products that can save you serious time. You could spend this time building a nurturing connection with your little one or taking care of yourself! In using these products, I added over five hours back into my weekly routine. On average, I pumped 10x at work as well as 7x at home each week.
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Breastfeeding & Pumping: Now Mutually Exclusive
According to the 2019 Mamava “Breast, Bottle, Pump” survey, 95% of breastfeeding moms also pump. They may do so for a variety of reasons: To return to work, increase milk supply, and/or provide an opportunity for their partner to feed baby. Many moms take on the heroic feat of exclusive pumping as well. No matter your purpose, pumping affects us all in one profound way: So. Much. Time.
Why do pumping moms fall short on time?
Pumping can be one of the most intimidating tasks for a new mom and rightfully so. For most of us, it’s at least a 10-step process:
- Get out all of your supplies
- Change into a pumping bra
- Position the flanges
- Attach bottles & connect the tubing
- Adjust your pump to the proper settings
- Sit and wait 20 minutes (often stressing about if you are going to produce enough, that co-worker might walk in, or perhaps your child may get into something dangerous while you’re tied down)
- Seal and store your milk under the proper temperature
- Pack up your pump
- Change back into your regular nursing bra and clothes
- Decide what to do with all of your parts. (Wash them now? Or add them to the mountain of dirty bottles to wash later?)
Think you’re finally done? Oh, wait… in a few hours, it will be time to do this all over again!
Like most aspects of motherhood, I will tell you that even pumping gets easier with experience. However, it’s critical to find the right products to fine-tune your process and use your time more efficiently. So, let’s get right into the five essential breastfeeding pumping tips and products that saved me five hours a week!
5 Breastfeeding Pumping Tips to Save Time: The 5 Best Products of 2023
#1 Spectra S1 Plus Breast Pump
The most essential of all breastfeeding pumping tips is to choose a pump that will save you time. The Spectra S1 Plus Breast Pump is one of the most popular pumps in 2023 and for great reason. It has three key features that make it a time-saving standout:
- Rechargeable Battery: The S1 Plus is one of few pumps that can get you up and moving. Its rechargeable battery lasts about 3 hours. This freedom is vital for keeping eyes and hands on your little one when pumping from home. The S1 Plus has accompanied me on several long road trips. It’s ridiculously convenient to pump in the car while your baby sleeps!
- Backflow Protectors: Known as a “closed system”, the S1 Plus’ backflow protectors keep your milk from coming in direct contact with your pump or tubing. Most importantly, it prevents harmful bacteria from contaminating your milk. You will never have to worry about the time-consuming nightmare of cleaning milk out of your tubing.
- Suction: The S1 Plus has adjustable suction levels mimicking natural flow patterns. This helps moms to pump efficiently. While higher is not necessarily best, it’s worth noting that the S1 Plus does have an optional maximum suction power of 270 mmHg, one of the highest around.
Cons? Alright, the Spectra S1 Plus Pump is not technically 100% hands-free. If you’re up and moving, you will still need to carry around the pump itself. Fortunately, it’s lightweight and has a convenient handle!
Time Saved = 2+ hours
The Spectra S1 Plus Pump saved me at least 2 hours a week during my at-home pumping sessions. Thanks to its rechargeable battery, I could move around, while simultaneously fulfilling other responsibilities. Not only was I pumping, but I was getting ready for work, folding laundry, or playing with my son. Given the suction and efficiency of the S1 Plus, I likely saved even more time compared to other pumps on the market!
Where can I get my Spectra S1 Plus Breast Pump?
You can save even more time (and a headache!) by ordering your pump through Aeroflow Breast Pumps. Just provide your insurance information, upload your physician’s prescription, and choose your pump. They will take care of the rest. No insurance? No problem. Aeroflow can also walk you through an out-of-pocket breast pump purchase and even provides monthly payment options.
Alternative: Elvie Double Electric Breast Pump (costly, but truly hands-free)
Although a bit pricey at $499.00 (before insurance), the Elvie Pump is the ultimate time-saver by allowing moms to pump 100% hands-free. Just place the Elvie pumps inside of your nursing bra. Then, pump while you go about your daily routine! No tubes, cords, or base to tote around with you. And bonus, the Elvie Pump comes with a free app to monitor your real-time milk volume and pumping totals!
#2 Kindred Bravely Sublime Hands-Free Pumping & Nursing Bra
If you find it quite annoying to completely change your shirt and bra before and after each pumping session you are not alone. My pumping life changed forever after a friend alerted me to the Sublime Hands-Free Pumping AND Nursing Bra by Kindred Bravely. It’s honestly one of the greatest mom inventions I’ve come across!
The Sublime bra design has two layers to fulfill two completely different needs:
- Nursing: Completely unhinge both layers of the bra to nurse baby.
- Pumping: Unhinge only one layer of the bra to use the pumping feature. Both sides of the bra contain a small, reinforced opening to secure your pumping flanges.
The Sublime bra provides both comfort and quality. They have remained a staple in my wardrobe even though my pumping journey has ended!
Cons? You may have already stocked up on a complete set of nursing bras. Although the Sublime bras are a worthy investment, I have included an alternative below that you can use with your existing nursing bras.
Time Saved = 1 hour
I know it sounds crazy to think a bra can add a whole hour to your week, but it did for me! Two minutes to change my shirt and bra before and after my 17 pumping sessions quickly added up to 68 minutes saved each week.
How to 20% on Your First Kindred Bravely Sublime Hands-Free Nursing & Pumping Bra!
It usually retails for around $50; however, as a Such a Little While reader you can save 20% off your entire first Kindred Bravely purchase using my link below (discount applied at checkout, some exclusions apply)!
Alternative: BRAVADO! DESIGNS Women’s Maternity Clip and Pump Hands-Free Nursing Bra Accessory (more bang for your buck, but slightly less time-saving)
Already stocked up on nursing bras or looking for a more cost-effective option? Look no further than the Women’s Maternity Clip and Pump Hands-Free Nursing Bra Accessory by BRAVADO! DESIGNS. This handy little invention clips directly onto your existing nursing bras to cut down on changing time and keeps you pumping hands-free. Since you have to go through the step of attaching it, this accessory will save slightly less time than Kindred Bravely’s Sublime bra. You can get it on Amazon for around $30.
#3 Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags
One of my favorite breastfeeding pumping tips: You don’t have to pump into the bottles that come with your pump! I made this mistake early on. As a result, I would waste valuable time after work transferring the milk into storage bags and washing the unused bottles. It breaks my heart to think I could have instead spent this time cuddling my baby!
One day, it dawned on me that I could pump directly into my Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags. What a game-changer! They fit perfectly onto my Spectra S1 Plus Pump flanges. So why don’t they tell you this on the box? Oh wait, they do! 🙂
Lansinoh makes highly reputable storage bags that are both BPA and BPS-free, come pre-sterilized, and lie flat in your freezer for easy storage. Additionally, they provide a convenient area for labeling and have an easy-pour design.
Cons? I safely pumped directly into the Lansinoh bags during my 10 weekly sessions at work, while seated at my desk. In all honestly, when up and moving or near my son at home, I simply felt more at ease pumping into bottles that were screwed on. I don’t know about you, but the thought of crying over spilled, hard-earned milk makes me a bit anxious!
Time Saved = 1 hour
This small workweek change added an impressive 60 minutes back into my week! Goodbye nightly milk transfers and washing a mountain of unnecessary bottles.
Where can I get my Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags?
You can buy a 100-pack on Amazon for around $13. Looking to save more? You can subscribe and save through Amazon to purchase your storage bags at an even lower price.
Alternative: Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags *with* Pump Adapters (if the bags do not fit your pump)
If the traditional Lansinoh storage bags do not fasten securely on your pump, don’t sweat it. Lansinoh also sells an option with pump adapters to help you achieve the perfect fit. A box of 50 breastmilk storage bags with a set of adapters retails on Amazon for around $11.
#4 Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags
When it comes to breastfeeding pumping tips, we must of course take into account the health and safety of our little ones! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tightened the reigns on breast pump cleaning and sterilization guidelines in recent years. The CDC states that for “extra germ removal” parents should sterilize pump parts at least once a day. They note this is especially important for babies under three months and for preemies. Even for older babies, it is always wise to make a regular habit of sterilizing parts.
I hate to admit it, but I fell short of the CDC’s recommendations. Who has time to stand around tending to a pot of boiling water with an infant? I sure didn’t. Thankfully, I freed myself of that dreaded “mom guilt” when I discovered Medela’s Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags. Just pop your pump parts into the bag with water and microwave for three minutes. It couldn’t be easier, yet this BPA-free steam cleaning option manages to kill 99.9% of common bacteria and germs.
Cons? Condensation can occur through micro-steaming. The bag may become a regular visitor on your countertop as you wait for it to dry out.
Time Saved = 30 minutes
Once out of the fourth trimester, I micro-steamed my pump parts twice a week, saving me a solid half-hour compared to traditional sanitizing methods.
Where can I get my Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags?
You can purchase 20 bags for around $20 on Amazon. This will last you a good while. Each bag can be used up to 20 times!
Alternative: Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer (friendly to the earth and your wallet, but bulky)
Looking for a reusable, microwavable sterilization option? You might consider the Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer to cut down on waste as well as expenses. It’s BPA-free, kills 99.9% of harmful bacteria in just two minutes, and you can get it on Amazon for around $16. The downside? It’s another bulky baby item you’ll need to find a home for.
#5 Haakaa Manual Breast Pump
Can nursing moms pump a little less often and still increase their milk stash? Surprisingly, yes! The Haakaa Manual Breast Pump is another life-changing product for nursing moms. Don’t let the name fool you, there’s no real “pumping” involved.
When nursing baby, simply attach the silicone Haakaa to your opposite breast. Sit back and watch a true miracle unfold. The Haakaa will save several ounces of your liquid gold by catching your letdowns. The Haakaa can help build up a nice little stash of breastmilk without relying solely on your electric pump.
Cons? The Haakaa is super easy to use with small babies who lie somewhat still during feedings. Unfortunately, as your baby becomes bigger and more mobile, you increase your chances of a spill!
Time Saved = 30 minutes
By using the Haakaa just three times a week, I collected enough milk to replace an entire electric pumping session. Whoo-hoo! If you struggle with supply issues, I do advise you to consult with an IBCLC before cutting out a pumping session, just to be safe.
Where can I get my Haakaa Manual Breast Pump?
A 4oz Haakaa Manual Breast Pump retails for around $13 on Amazon.
Alternative: NatureBond Manual Breast Pump Silicone Breastfeeding Milk Saver Nursing Pump, All-in-1 (includes a spill-preventing strap)
The NatureBond Manual Silicone Breast Pump is a worthy competitor to the Haakaa. Get the complete package on Amazon for around $14, which includes a stopper, carry pouch, cover lid, and most importantly a pump strap to prevent spills! Regardless of the brand-name, a silicone manual pump is a top-time-saver for nursing moms.
Common Questions/FAQ About Breastfeeding Pumping Tips
How long should my pumping sessions last?
According to KellyMom, 15-20 minutes is the sweet spot for pumping duration. Go lower than 15 minutes, and you can risk losing your supply. Looking to increase your supply? Continue pumping for five minutes after your milk stops flowing.
How often should I pump?
Aim to pump at the same frequency that your baby feeds. This will help to ensure you have pumped enough for baby and also maintain your supply. For young infants, this generally means pumping every two to three hours.
How much time do I have to pump at work?
According to Section 7(r) of the Fair Labor Standards Act – Break Time for Nursing Mothers Provision, employers must grant “a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk”. Most moms will pump for around 20 minutes, in addition to setup and cleanup. Therefore, 30 minutes is generally accepted as “reasonable”.
The Final Breastfeeding Pumping Tip You Need To Know
Whether you’ve pumped one time or 1,000, know that you are an amazing provider. Your time is a heroic sacrifice for the greater good. Take comfort and pride in knowing your child will reap the rewards of your hard work now and for years to come! I hope you have identified a few products to make your journey a bit easier.
Now, once you’ve done everything you can to fine-tune your process, I urge you to stop watching the clock. When pumping, aim to free your mind of stress and worry. If you cannot be physically present with your baby while pumping, listen to calm music. Or look at a favorite picture of your little one. Research shows these small steps can increase a mother’s milk output!
Alright mama, go ahead and make life a bit easier with these key breastfeeding pumping tips and products. Give yourself the gift of time. You deserve it! Spend it playing with your little one. Or take a few minutes extra minutes to care for yourself.
You got this! Remember, they are only little for such a little while 🙂
Have additional time-saving strategies to improve your pumping game?
Please leave a comment below and share your wisdom with the Such a Little While circle of support!