My baby, who is now 15 months, has always been exclusively breastfed as he is allergic to dairy. Although I was initially self-conscious and even took efforts to hide my need to pump in public, I suffered the consequences of not listening to my body. In conjunction with 27 January being World Breast Pumping Day, I want to share my story and tips to help you be overcome your fear of pumping on-the-go!
Like many women, when I started breast pumping with my first child 5 years ago, I was shy and would make an effort to hide what I was doing. Stuck in a meeting for 6 hours, I held on and didn’t pump and ended up getting mastitis — the result of a blocked milk duct that hadn’t cleared. The inflammation and pain was so bad I had to be put on antibiotics which ultimately caused my supply to drop.
This was a HUGE wake up call.
Since then I’ve learnt my baby’s milk comes first and to never put my baby’s health (and even my own) at risk because of how I think others may perceive me. I wanted to share my story so other mothers don’t make the same mistakes I did.
Tips For Breast Pumping On-The-Go
1. Pump as you work
The office is the perfect place for me to pump as I don’t need to move around much and can get work done efficiently at the same time. With a nursing cover on, even my male colleagues don’t know I’m pumping.
2. Get a good nursing cover
I’m constantly on the go as my job requires me to travel a lot, and I’m usually also stuck in long meetings. Between meetings, I pump on-to-go using my hand-free pump while driving (especially if I’m late for my next meeting!)
In public areas like at restaurants (I’ll pick a quiet corner) or on the plane I’ll pump with my trusted nursing cover. All I have to do is cover up and I’m good to go. I share my experience of pumping on my 48 hour trip to Delhi on this episode of Let’sCHAT!
3. Get a good cooler bag
I carry mine around everywhere I go. My ice blocks can keep my milk chilled for up to 8 hours and this is essential on days I’m out for a full day of meetings or travels.
4. When you can’t wash your pump…
Time doesn’t always permit for you to be able to wash your pump after each session. But that’s okay. What you can do is wrap your breast pumps in a towel or zip lock bag and put it in the fridge or a cooler bag. When you get home at the end of the day, then you can wash and sterilise your pump to use next. This will be a lifesaver at work especially if you don’t have the luxury of time.
**The key to using & reusing unwashed chilled pump parts is to NOT exceed 24 hours from your first pumping session.
5. Plan, plan, plan!
Plan your schedule and slot in your pumping sessions. It may seem unnecessary, but I always plan my day ahead, especially when I’m out for meetings and slot in a pumping session before every meeting. Hope my story and these tips help you pump on-the-go. Happy World Breast Pumping Day to all you pumping mamas!