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Breast Pumping Fails And Valuable Lessons I’ve Learned

Breastfeeding baby

Given the longevity of postpartum and its high importance, I’m bringing awareness in hopes to better equip new, struggling and expecting mothers.  This post is meant to serve as a guide to avoiding my breast pumping fails and pass along the valuable lessons that have come from them.  I hope to share this valuable information and help someone avoid frustrating situations and pass along tips for a more enjoyable experience.

I learned valuable lessons and I wish to pass it on to those of you who breast pump and continue to breast pump while working.  There is so much effort that goes into breast pumping, your body is always busy making milk and you’re busy trying to keep up with your body and life.  When we go back to work life keeps moving forward.  If you’re not lucky enough to buy a spare pump to keep at work and have to carry one back and forth (like myself) then I recommend doing what you can to make it easier for yourself.  Stressful little situations happen with breast pumping: little tiny pieces fall and roll away under furniture, you go home or to work and your missing a part, the tiny rubber piece of the breast pump sometimes tears and renders itself useless.  It’s the silliest thing ever, but it causes so much stress when a tiny rubber piece of the breast pump rips or gets lost and your pump doesn’t work.

As a fail safe I knew I had Lily, whom I could breastfeed, but after a certain point she was too used to the bottle and I stopped breastfeeding and had to exclusively breast pump since she wouldn’t take the breast anymore.  My backup plan, breastfeeding Lily, was no longer a back up plan if I couldn’t pump.  When you need to pump and can’t- it is no joke.  When it’s time to breast pump and your pump isn’t working, this causes stress since you don’t want your milk ducts to get clogged or to have issues with your breast milk.  You need to take the breast milk out.  It can’t sit inside too long unless you want to deal with the pain of full clogged ducts in the breasts with lumps or the dreaded mastitis.

To avoid these stressful situations, I’m sharing what I’ve learn from painful lessons.  I hope my fails can keep someone else from living through these stressful scenarios.

Breast pumping fails and what to do:

  1.  The biggest lesson I learned is buy and keep spare parts!  I can not begin to tell you the most stressful situations I’ve been in because a piece of the pump wasn’t working.  I’ve had to buy spare parts on a number of occasions.  For me particularly the part that often was causing issues were the valves.  They kept ripping, most the time during cleaning and I didn’t notice the tears until I was trying to use the pump.  My recommendation is to buy a spare parts set, if you can buy two or buy the parts that seem to cause you the most issues and keep one at work and one at home.
  2. Don’t forget your breast milk storage bags.  I carried a bag with my electric breast pump, milk storage bags for the week, a cloth and spare parts.  Seems like a lot right?  Well once I forgot to replenish the breast milk bags.  I ended up putting the milk in a sandwich ziplock bag from my spare lunch supplies in my desk as an emergency storage and it didn’t even work.  It leaked all over spilling my hard work inside the frig.  Lesson learned, keep extra storage bags in your pump bag.
  3. I didn’t know for the longest time that my electric breast pump didn’t necessarily need an outlet (the cord isn’t very long) so this is not the most convenient method.  It has a compartment in the base at the bottom for batteries!  Not sure if this applies to all electric breast pumps, but it applies to the model I use.  Note, though if you bring it without the electrical cord then you’ll need enough batteries to have juice for however long your pump session(s) is/are.  You might need two sets of batteries to cover the time you’re out.  In this case maybe the electrical outlet is more efficient since you don’t want your pump to die before you finish.
  4. Easier said than done, I’ve learned that being as prepare as possible by forward thinking is the best way to manage breast pumping.  Unexpected situations happen and sometimes you’ll need to improvise, but you’ll be grateful for all the work you do for yourself ahead of time.  After some of my hard lessons, I better prepared and there have been situations where I was thanking myself afterwards.

Do you have any breast pumping fails and tips?

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