DIY: Hands Free Pumping Bra

Going back to work and knowing I would be pumping multiple times a day, I knew I would need a hands free pumping bra.  The idea of pumping one side at a time so that I could have use of one hand or holding both flanges to my body just sounded like a miserable nightmare.  A hands free pumping bra is one of the items we didn’t get from our registry and once Madeline got here, was something I kept forgetting to purchase, it was just so far from my mind.  That is, until the week before I was supposed to go back to the office! Suddenly, I realized, even with Amazon Prime, the magical bra wouldn’t make it before my first day – and that just wasn’t going to work.  Making the trip to a maternity store or Buy Buy Baby also just seemed to be too daunting of a task when I just wanted to spend my last few days at home snuggled up with my baby.

On Pinterest there are tons of tutorials on how to make your own hands free bra, most of them include hair ties and making loops for your nursing bras.  None of them, to be honest, really seemed like they would work.  They also were not easy to figure out.  Then, I came across what is probably the easiest, best and most convenient idea ever!  Are you ready for how easy this is? You’ll probably do what I did when you’re done, laugh that you didn’t think of this sooner!

Here’s what you need:
Old Sports Bra
Breast Pump Flanges
Scissors

Put the sports bra on. Once it’s on comfortably, figure out where your nipples are in relation to the bra. Pull the fabric away from your body (this is important, you don’t want to cut yourself!) and make a cut where your nipples are.  Keep in mind you just want to snip this, don’t cut a big hole yet.  Take the bra off and get dressed again.

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Now that you have the bra in front of you, push your breast pump flange through the hole you made as though you were wearing it -shield side in. This will help you know how big to make the hole you already cut.  Use your scissors to make the hole wider, but not too wide, you want to ensure the flanges are held snugly to your body.  Once you’re satisfied with the size of the holes and how the flanges fit – you’re done! Seriously, it’s that easy.  Throw it on and get pumping!

While they are many things contributing to my success of pumping at work, my Sarah Wells Bag, my Kiinde System and Cooler Bag – this bra is by far the most important piece of it all (next to the pump!).  It’s really great to have my hands free.  It takes me about 7-10 minutes to pump each session, so to be able to multitask by checking emails, getting the bags ready for the milk I’m pumping, or just rearranging everything in my bag, I really can save a lot of time.  Time saving is key here, because even though I need to stop working to pump, I still need to get out of work at the same time to pick up Madeline. I love this DIY hands free pumping bra and the best part is –  it was free to make!  I will be making more than one to eliminate having to wash this one every other day. Plus it was a huge money saver over the ones that you can purchase for $50! I can’t stress enough how important it is to have one of these for your pumping bag!

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Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bag

Products We Love: Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bag

One of the items that I am glad I registered for was my Sarah Wells breast pump bag!  It seemed extravagant to me to spend over $100 on yet another bag, I already had two designer diaper bags on my registry, but this one had a completely different purpose. Let me tell you, this is one of the best investments you can make if you’re a working mom who will be breastfeeding/pumping.

I’m blessed to work for a company that is very mommy friendly.  Each of the buildings in our office complex have a nursing room that has soft lights and locks for a dedicated space for mom’s to pump and/or nurse if their child is with them.  In addition, they also offer a nursing mother’s support group.  Even though we have dedicated rooms for nursing moms, we don’t have a dedicated refrigerator. I knew that going back to work I would be putting my milk and pump parts in a shared fridge with multiple departments in our break room in between pumping sessions.  That thought made me a little more than uncomfortable – then I found this great bag!

The one thing that I love most about this bag is how beautiful it is!

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Despite the fact that it holds a breast pump, flanges, membranes, milk bags, bottles, cleaning wipes, and sanitizing bags, you would never know that by looking at the outside. This is a bag that I would normally use as a work bag or even a big purse! But it’s better – it has zippered compartments on the bottom that hold my pump, plug and battery backup. The other side is insulated and holds an ice pack and the bags of milk after each pumping session.  This way, even if someone were to open the top of the bag, or if I carry my wallet and other important items, I don’t have to be worried about anyone seeing my pump or pump parts.

This little bag, however, is the lifesaver of the whole set.

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Did you know that if you put pump parts, such as flanges, membranes, etc. in the fridge between sessions, you won’t have to wash them each and every time? As someone who will have to pump three to four times a day at work, this is a life saver.  Not to mention, I’d have to wash the parts in the same communal break room – awkward!  Instead, I put all of the parts in this bag, and then this bag goes into the refrigerator. It’s pretty and looks just like a lunch box.  No one will know that it belongs to my breast pump! At the end of the day it just comes home with me, where I wash everything and sterilize the parts for the next day!

This bag will help me to pump when I’m back at work – and feeling good about pumping at work or on the go I think is half the battle. I was at a wedding recently and took the bag out for its first trial run- it was perfect! I was comfortable knowing no one knew what it was and I didn’t have to worry. Stress has an effect on milk supply and this bag will help us get to our goal of one year of breastfeeding – so worth the money! If you’d like to purchase this bag or one similar check them out on Amazon!

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Kiinde Bottle System 

Today I want to give a shout out to the Kiinde bottle system. When we began our registry I knew we would need a bottle system that I could use for pumping when I go back to work. I have two mom friends that both recommended the Kiinde bottle system to me and am so glad they did!

The basic idea behind this system is that everything is done in pouches: milk, formula and even food! You have the option to pump directly into the pouches via an adapter or pour into them as I am doing right now (I am portioning my milk since I typically pump more than baby girl will eat in a single feeding).

These pouches fit into a bottle casing and the nipple, of which there are three speeds, twists right on. This is great for two reasons: the messy part is disposable so it makes clean up a breeze and it’s quick and easy. Kiinde also has a bottle warmer and a special cleaning tool for washing the nipples. This system is very helpful for daycare or late night feedings when you’re half asleep!

It has a very small footprint, which is helpful in our tiny house. We are able to just have the casing and nipples – no need for having to store multiple bottles. For those of us who are short on space this is a lifesaver!

What I love most about this system though is the versatility – as baby grows the system grows with them.  Pouches can be purchased to hold up to 6 oz and then up to 8 oz when they start eating more. These same pouches can then be used to store homemade baby food. These pouches are great for on-the-go feedings. There is a spoon attachment that just twists on and the pouches are not bulky for carrying in the diaper bag!

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Kiinde can be purchased at all major retailers or online (Target, Amazon, Buy Buy Baby, etc.). If you like their Facebook page you will be able to see when they are running good sales! Have you tried Kiinde? What did you think?

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A Journey in Breastfeeding: My love/hate with the Breast Pump

When I thought about Breastfeeding Madeline I knew there would come a time when I had to return to work and that meant I would need to pump.  I never imagined I would need to use my breast pump much in the months leading up to that though. Yet again I’ve realized everything you think you will know about being a parent, you don’t. It seems like every day I find something I was sure about ends up turning out differently for me. Pumping was no exception.

There’s something about the act of pumping that just makes me feel like a dairy cow. While I’m so grateful that when Madeline is fussy at 3:30am, Mike can feed her, it doesn’t mean my pump and I are best friends.  I did a lot of research on pumps prior to ordering mine and decided a Medela Pump In Style would be the best for me. From what I’ve read they are the most durable and convenient. I knew I would want a double pump for convenience but at this point haven’t used both sides at the same time.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to feeling “full” but it is not what I was thinking! So after two days of breastfeeding, I broke out the pump. Pumping is first and foremost painful. It’s a sensation that is much stronger than breastfeeding and even on a low power setting it is uncomfortable. Lanolin is your best friend, trust me. Pumping is also time consuming, watching the milk drop into a bottle drip by drip is excruciating! But the reward at the end of an ounce or two of milk is like liquid gold!  On top of that there are so many parts that need to be washed and sanitized and put away after each pumping session.  I am so glad that it turned out we only needed to pump once or twice for the first few days until we got our groove settled.

Part of the problem I realized later on was that the shields/flanges that come with the breast pump were too small for my larger breasts/nipples! Once my sister pointed this out I ordered new ones and pumping became much easier and less painful. Also I got twice as much milk! It really does make a difference so if you’re not sure if they’re the right size, google what a proper pump latch should look like or see a lactation consultant – it’s very helpful!

I know that soon enough I will need to start pumping on a regular basis to prepare for when I return to work. I am not looking forward to it but we tackle it one step at a time!

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