FOR THE LACTATING WORKING MOTHER

Men can breastfeed.

Ok, I was joking.  Well, technically I wasn’t because it’s kind of true, but I meant that men breastfeeding wasn’t the point of the post.  Can we start over?

We can?

Great!

If you’re going to be leaving your baby in the (in)capable arms of another person while you’re off winning bread and believe in the benefits of breast milk (or are a cheap-ass like me), you’re probably going to want to get a breast pump.  If so, read on.  If not, file this away in the back of your mind should you ever need the info.

As always, I’m only here to try and help.

So…headed back to work and needing a breast pump.  You’ll want to get a fancy double electric pump for work.  Why?  Because it’s faster and more efficient than manual or single pumping.  Also, if your work is anything like mine, you won’t be the only one there vying for use of the “quiet room.”  Faster is better.

You say, “But Alicia, those pumps are expensive as hell.  I don’t have $300”

I reply, “What in the hell makes you think I do?  I am not the 1%; damn $300!”

Although the hospital, and Medela, and Ameda, and people who do have $300 will tell you not to buy a used pump, know that you can TOTALLY buy a used pump.  Most of the parts that would skeeve you out about being reused are supposed to be sterilized anyway.  In fact, they’re supposed to be sterilized after every use.  If you’re that bent out of shape about it, buy new parts.  If you bought a pump brand new, you’ll be buying extra parts anyway.  Trust me.

**if you read the warning literature, it will say that there haven’t been any actual cases of breast milk being tainted through use of a used pump, but they don’t want you to be the first it happens to…because then you wouldn’t buy a brand new one.**

Head to craigslist (or ebay if you can’t find anything locally) and search.  More than likely you’ll find a hoard of reasonably priced, (barely) used pumps for sale.  Look for anything that says Medela Pump-in-Style or Ameda Purely Yours.  Both work great, so don’t get hung up on getting the “right” one.  It’s a milk machine.  What brand you get really doesn’t matter.

If you’re lucky and come across a listing that features extra parts (carrying cases/bags, coolers, and extra boob assemblies come to mind), GO FOR IT.  Set up a meeting immediately (if not, sooner).  Check out the motor and make sure it works.  Look at the spare parts (i.e. the things that go on your boobs).  If they look usable, great.  If they look dirty, remember that you’re going to boil the shit out of them later.  Ignore the tubing.  Always get new tubing.

Is everything good?  If so, BUY IT.  I got an older version of this $360 Medela set up with a few extras for $120.

Pump procured, it’s time to head to Target or Amazon.com.  Buy new tubing and an extra set of parts (more connect to the boob things) if you need them – you want at least two sets to rotate.  If you don’t have a kitchen at work to wash your parts in between pumping sessions, you may want to get more.  Buy one of these (you will NEED it).  Buy these (because we like quick sterilization).  You’ll also likely need bags or more bottles to pump into.  Bottles are easier, but you need to either have a lot of them on hand (along with bottle caps) or wash them frequently.  Bags can be awkward and are a tad wasteful, but they don’t take up as much space.  Your call.

I prefer the bottles.  I pump twice a day and we have 12 bottles total.  I bring 4 to work every day, 4 are in the fridge, and 4 are waiting to be taken to work the next day.

**a note on bottles: don’t be swayed by claims of reduced colic.  Buy the $3 3-pack, hold the bottle on a diagonal, and burp your baby.  Often.  Reduced colic.  BOO-YAH** 

Once you have that settled, get your pump out, open the manual, read it cover to cover.  Next, wash and sterilize the hell out of your pump parts.  After that, practice putting it together a few times.  It looks way more overwhelming than it actually is.

Try to actually pump a couple of times before you go back to work to get used to the sensation of wearing a milk machine.  Pumping looks and feels very strange.

Got it?  You’re golden!  Now, go forth and lactate!