5 Tips for Moms Who Need to Pump on the Go
When you’re a pumping mom, sometimes necessity dictates that you must pump in an environment away from home. While your ideal spot to pump may be your baby’s nursery or curled up on your couch, that may not always happen. Here are some tips to help you prepare to pump on the go – when you’re at work, out and about shopping, or in a different environment.
Invest in a portable, electric breast pump
For the occasional trip out of the house, a manual breast pump may be enough to get you through, but if you plan to be out and about more than every once in a while, you'll want a reliable and efficient breast pump with alternative power options so you don't have to hunt down an outlet. Decide what works best for you. Do you want to move around while pumping with the flexibility of a hands free breast pump, or will you often have a consistent place to sit or stand? Will your pump sessions be active or maybe you'll want the option of powering the pump from your car? Nowadays, there are options for every lifestyle, so do some research before making your choice.
Find a private place to pump
You're doing something natural and amazing for your baby, and you do not, by any means, need to hide, but some moms may be more comfortable and able to relax in a private, quiet space. If you’re pumping in the workplace, talk to your employer to ensure they provide an appropriate place for you to pump (NOT a bathroom), with a door that closes. If you’re out shopping, it may be more of a challenge to find a dedicated space to pump on the go, but in a pinch you can always use a clothing changing room. Many malls and even airports are now offering rooms or “pods” specifically for breastfeeding or pumping moms, too!
Stimulate your senses
To encourage let-down while pumping, carry a picture of your little one, or pack a piece of clothing or a blanket that smells like them. Recording and playing their hunger cries or coos on your phone can also help with output during your pumping session.
Keep accessories, cleaning products, and extra parts on hand to help
Convenience is key if you need to pump on the go. If you’re pumping at work with your laptop and want to finish up an email, find a pumping bustier to go hands-free! To be prepared for getting caught in a not-so-sanitary pumping space, having cleaning wipes and sanitizer spray can help until you’re able to get home and steam clean your breast pump parts. It can also be hugely convenient for a busy mama to keep an extra set of parts at work or in your car. Finally, keeping disposable nursing pads on hand – whether thin pads work for you, or you need something a bit thicker and more absorbent for heavier milk flows – can help protect your clothing from unexpected leakage while out and about, between pumping sessions, or until you can find a suitable place to pump on the go.
Plan for breast milk storage
It would be a travesty if you were to lose the liquid gold you worked so hard to pump for your little one, so make sure you know current breast milk storage guidelines. Scope out refrigeration options at your destination ahead of time, or keep an insulated cooler and ice pack with you to store your pumped breast milk until you’re able to put it in the fridge or freezer once you’re home.
Pumping while away from home takes a bit more effort and planning, but it is worth it to give yourself a change of scenery while continuing to give your baby all the amazing benefits of your breast milk.