Get a mobile pump ASAP.
The sooner you get a pump that doesn’t need to be plugged into the wall and that you can walk around with, the better. Lots of mamas can do the dishes, fold laundry and even drive while pumping.
That, however, was not me. I always struggled with low supply, so if I wasn’t semi relaxed and using “hands on pumping” I wouldn’t get nearly the same amount of milk. But having the freedom to sit wherever my baby was playing or get up and get myself more water, made such a huge difference.
Also, don’t put all your hope in completely tubeless pumps such as the Willow, Elvie, or Freemie. When I got my hands on the Willow pump instead of my Medela PISA, I thought, I can do this EP thing! Then when it completely blistered my nipples (omg so painful), I was not so hopeful I could continue EPing. I was so devastated because I thought that a completely tubeless pump like this was my only way to have any freedom to pump outside of the house.
But then, after three months of EPing connected to an outlet, I finally got my hands on the Baby Buddha pump and it was a total game changer. Just as much power as a hospital grade pump, but with all the mobility. @bemybreastfriend has great reviews of it in her Instagram Highlights.
I still tried the Elvie, just to have it as an option if I wanted to pump somewhere more discreetly, but it wasn’t nearly as comfortable as my Baby Buddha with Pumpin Pal flanges, and the worst part was, with the Elvie I pumped significantly less milk. Because I preferred my Baby Buddha pump so much more, I finally got over my fear and became perfectly comfortable pumping under a pumping cover in public. I was so nervous at first, but once you practice a few times it’s really no big deal. Plus, I was EPing all through the Covid lock down, so I wasn’t really going many places anyways.
Most women agree that the completely tubeless mobile pumps are nice to have and use once a day, or out and about, but they are most often not suitable for EPers to use as their primary pump, whereas the Baby Buddha is strong enough to be your primary pump and completely mobile.
Use the Fridge Hack.
Omg all that cleaning of pump parts for those first few months until I discovered this ultimate time saving hack. @bemybreastfriend also has a great highlight on how to do it.
Get a pumping bra that you can wear 24/7
Who else hates putting on and taking off a bra once or twice a day?🙋♀️ Now try 8x a day when exclusively pumping 😳. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I lived 24/7 in a set of three Kindred Bravely bras for 7 months and was completely comfortable in them.
Know how and when to drop a pumping session
HERE is a great guide of when and how to drop pumping sessions.
I used the above as a guide, however my biggest advice is to drop just one pumping session whenever you feel EPing is getting too hard, and see how you feel and if you want to keep going.
I never had one year as a goal for my Eping journey, I always said I was just see how it was going, and that’s exactly what I did. Anytime I felt EPing was getting too hard, I would drop a pump session and just that little bit of gained time and freedom stabilized me again, and I was able to continue on that new schedule for a few more months until I felt I needed to drop another.
Here is a quick summary of why I personally did.
Months 1-2: 8-10x/ day
Month 3: 7x/day
I felt I needed to drop one because we were traveling internationally to visit family during the lock down since they couldn’t get into the EU to meet their grand baby.
Month 4: 6x/day
I needed to drop another because we were still traveling and I couldn’t keep up. Going down to 6x a day was when I finally felt like I had a second to breathe and knew I could make it longer EPing after getting through the first three months which are by far the hardest.
Months 5-6: 5x/day
Months 7-8: 4x/day
We moved back come to the US so I needed more time for the move.
Month 9: 3x/day
Month 10: 2x/day
Month 11: 1x/day
Then I just felt I was done. I was at peace with stopping. After that last pumping session I stayed in bed most of the day. My body felt so physically and emotionally done.
Buy a second pair of all pump parts.
Pump parts work a lot better when they are dry, so by having a second pair of parts it always ensures you have clean dry parts to use.
Create a pumping station with everything you need
Having everything you need in one place to get your pump set up saves so much time and headspace. Search pumping stations on Pinterest for some creative ideas.
All the answers to your questions are most likely either on Exclusive Pumping’s website or facebook group.