I pumped breast milk for a year and a half for my son, so I’ve come up with some amazing time saving hacks for pumping. I am sharing my #1 time saving tip (and sanity-saving!) with you here.
So many moms give up pumping for many reasons, such as going back to work or just not having enough time to be attached to the pump several times a day while trying to take care of a newborn.
It’s hard. The only reason I pumped for so damn long was because my son had trouble gaining weight,had a milk allergy, and we had a hard time getting him to transition from breast milk to formula. My son also didn’t really start eating until 2 years old (read our story and why I started this blog about overcoming picky eating), so I had no choice but to keep pumping.
Luckily, a friend gave me this tip pretty early on, and it is the only way I managed to stay sane with pumping for so long.
If you’re thinking about quitting pumping, please give this a try first to see if it makes pumping more manageable.
#1 time saving tip for pumping
If you have a healthy baby who is not a brand new newborn, you don’t have to wash or sterilize all the pump parts or bottles after every pumping session! Just store all the parts in a clean zip lock bag in the fridge for ~1-3 days.
That’s right. The whole part that gets screwed onto a bottle can go in the zip lock bag. No need to disassemble it. Don’t even rinse it. Just put it right into a zip lock bag after pumping.
You can reuse that same one zip-lock bag for those days. You can use a washable reusable zip lock bag if you want to be a little more environmentally friendly.
This cuts down on pump cleaning so much!!
But doesn’t the milk go bad?
Freshly pumped breastmilk can last in the fridge for up to 4 days. The exact number of days can vary depending on:
- The temperature of your fridge
- Whether any bacteria were introduced
- Your own breastmilk… I’ve had my breast milk last for over 5 days most times, and some got funky after ~3-4 days
The residual milk on all your pump parts will last for about 4 days refrigerated just like the breast milk in a bottle, if you placed it in the fridge immediately after pumping.
Of course, this means that if you use the same pump parts for 2 days without washing, your countdown to 4 days starts at 2 days for the freshly pumped milk. But as long as you use the pumped milk or freeze it within the additional 2 days, you’re good.
Store the bottles too!
I would combine milk from several pumping sessions and store the empty bottles capped in the fridge. Of course, I had to keep track of how long the bottles have been in there (again if I combined fresh milk with 2-day old milk, the whole bottle now can be considered 2 days old), but it wasn’t that complicated since my son was drinking lots of milk.
We were going through the milk fairly quickly, and if I had any doubt about how exactly how old the milk was, I would just freeze it.
I had a nice stash of frozen milk, and that had to be used up too before it got too old anyway. Freezing newer milk and thawing older frozen milk was all part of the process anyway.
Cleaning the pump parts
To clean the pump parts, I would fill the zip lock bag with warm water and a squirt of dish soap, then zip it back up. Give it a shake, and let it soak for a little bit, or until I am ready to thoroughly clean everything.
Which brings me to…..
#2 time saving tip for pumping
The other thing that is a MUST-HAVE if you’re going to pump long term is to have 2-3 sets of ALL the pump parts that come into contact with breast milk: the parts that go on your breasts, the valves, the flaps, and whatnot. This way I don’t have to immediately wash the pump parts after I am done using them. I can grab another set when it’s time to do so and wash everything later that day. Or leave them for my husband to wash. 😉
It is SUCH A RELIEF not to have to worry about washing the pump parts in between every pumping session, or even every day. Let it sit in soapy water. It will be OK.
I really believe these time-saving tips really make the difference between sticking it out with pumping and giving up.
Of course, only do this if you have a healthy baby who is a few weeks old. If your pediatrician advises that you sterilize the pump parts, then this might not be ideal for you.
We rarely sterilized the pump parts, bottles, or pacifiers after that first time that you have to sterilize when you buy all that baby gear. Our son was fine. Obviously, if he had any stomach issues or diarrhea, I would have stopped this fridge-storage of pump parts. But he was fine, and I was glad not to have to wash pump parts 5x a day.
What do you think? Are you willing to try this?? I hope these tips make it easier for you to keep pumping and encourage you to not give up!
Looking for more helpful mom tips?
- The 3 Diaper Change Hacks I wish I knew before my son was born
- Which baby feeding products are worth it?? Save time and money by only buying what you actually need
- Questions to ask when choosing a pediatrician – a thorough list of questions to help you see if the pediatrician AND office staff are right for you, and a FREE printable list of questions so you don’t have to write them all down
- How to make high calorie baby food
- Banana pineapple and spinach baby food recipe
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