Exclusive Pumping Part 1: Must-Haves
I'm going to start this post with an apology. I am sorry this post has taken me so long to put together. I know some of my OG followers who followed my most recent pumping journey have asked for this. I’m going to make this a two-parter. This first post is all of my must-haves to make your exclusive pumping journey a success. Part 2 will be my tips and tricks.
I am a loud and proud exclusive pumper. While I truly believe that every mom's breastfeeding journey is her own and she should make no excuses or apologies for how it goes down, I will share that I chose the EP path. With Dom, I tried breastfeeding and quickly discovered that I didn't love it. I didn't know exclusive pumping was totally a thing because it gets a bad rep in most breastfeeding circles. It is seen as not actually breastfeeding or taking the easy way out. I'll stop right here and say that there is NO easy way out when it comes to taking care of a newborn. I live by the philosophies that fed is best and that a happy mama equals a happy baby.
By the time my second was born, I was more prepared to enter exclusive pumping. I knew the life I was signing up for and I did so willingly. In fact, this time I was an overproducer so I got the added previlage of donating breastmilk to a family. This adorable family had adopted a beautiful baby girl who was right around the same age as P, and they wanted to provide her with breastmilk so she would have some antibodies. Notice I didn't say they wanted to provide her with "the best" - because again, fed is best.
After a combined 13 months of exclusive pumping I'm pleased to have done the leg work so you don't have to. I give you my exclusive pumping must haves.
(The follow does contain affiliate links so ya girl can make some dollas.)
A Trusty Electric Handsfree Pump - I used the Spectra S9. It was covered by my insurance but if it isn't for you I highly suggest buying this one. It's a handsfree, chargeable electric pump which means you do not have to stay put in one place. This is key as an exclusive pumper because you will be pumping A LOT and may not always have the luxury of sitting uninterrupted in one place for 20+ minutes 8 times a day. This pump also did a fabulous job at emptying the girls in good time.
Manual Pump - I LOVE manual pumps. They work well for a quick, on-the-go pump, pumping while you're wearing your newborn or, my favorite, getting out clugs. I used the Medela Manual Pump and loved it.
Handsfree Pumping Bra - Your hands have way better things to do than hold pumps parts to your boobs. I love this one off amazon. I would buy 2-3 so you always have one when the others need a wash. I also liked keeping one in my pump bag at all times so I never end up at work without one.
Pumping/Nursing Bra - This is different from the handsfree pumping bra in that this is a bra you'll wear all the time. It snaps down for easy boob access. My fave are these from Hofish ones off Amazon. I have been told that these can also work as pumping bras but I was never able to get them to work well without spilling.
Nursing Cami - You don't NEED these but I like them for extra support. These from Target were (and still are) my jam.
Pumping Bag - If you're returning to work and still pumping a good pump bag is a must. This is different from your diaper bag. This is more like a mom bag. I treated myself to this Sarah Wells bag and regret nothing. It was large enough for both my work and pump items plus it's cute.
Extra Pump Parts - If you're going to be an exclusive pumper you are going to need more than one set of pump parts. You will not have time to be washing pump parts all the dang time. Sometimes you'll simply be too tired. That's when having 2-3 extra sets comes in hand. Here is the set I bought from Amazon.
Water Bottle - Breastfeeding makes you one thirsty B. So I traveled everywhere with a water bottle. Here are two of my favorites:
Nipple Butter - It should go without saying that squeezing milk out of your nipples via a funnel looking device leaves your nips a little chapped. In the early days I lathered my girls with nipple butter after every pump. This one by Earth Mama is my fave.
Nursing Pads - In the early days while you are establishing your supply, your nipples will leak quite a bit. These Medela and Lansinoh disposable ones never did me wrong.
Freezer Bags - If you're pumping and want to either donate or establish a stock pile for whenever your journey is over you will need freezer bags. These target brand ones as well as these by Lansinoh worked really well. They were easy to open and stacked well for storage.
Nursing Cover - As an exclusive pumper you will find yourself pumping A LOT, and unless you always plan on shutting yourself away to do so, get yourself a nursing cover. I would use mine for car pumping, pumping at parties or restaurants and even during a work meeting. I used one similar to this one.
Bottles - This should probably go right along with extra pump parts but I would buy a good amount of bottles to pump into and then I would buy matching nipples to feed your baby right out of those same bottle to cut down on bottle washing. I love the Medela bottles, but beware - if you are using the Spectra S9 pump you will need these adapters.
Milk Cooler - For the working, exclusive pumper, you might need this. I bought this Medela pack to keep my milk fresh if I needed to go extended hours without access to my baby or a fridge after pumping.
I know there is a TON here, but do not get overwhelmed. You've got this mama and if you have questions, feel free to slide right on into my DM's.