For something so natural, nursing is damn complicated: the latch, the letdown, the clogged ducts, the pumping. And as soon as you’ve got it all down, boom, maternity leave is over, and you find yourself staring at the business trip (or, hey, vacation!) on your calendar. Herewith, Cricket’s guide to pumping on the go.
Tip 1: Milk It
Medela’s Double Electric pump has a rechargeable battery that lasts about 6-8 pumping sessions, so in a pinch, you can get the job done in a car (pumping while driving or in the back of a taxi takes multitasking to the next level), in a bathroom stall, even in public with a cover. If you travel abroad do not forget a converter, or you’ll be in big trouble (literally).
Tip 2: Call Ahead
Headed to your company’s HQ? Call HR about securing time in the lactation room, otherwise, request a room with a door, a seat and a surface. And don’t be embarrassed: your company (even a small company) is obligated to find a spot for you.
Tip 3: Get Down To It
Travel with as many sets of parts as the number of times you’re going to pump before returning home. Keep one plastic zip baggie for the clean parts and another for the dirty ones. Pack extra breastmilk bags – they take up no room.
Tip 4: Look Ma, No Hands!
The hands-free pumping bra is a game changer. Do yourself a favor and invest in two.
Tip 5: Squeaky Clean
You’ll get some interesting looks if you wash breast pump parts in the office kitchen sink. Try these special sanitizing wipes instead.
Tip 6: Bag, You’re It
Tip 7: Unspoiled Milk
Two necessities: first, the cooler and ice pack that come with the Medela pump, so you can store what you pump on a flight. Second, a flat freezer bag (which some grocery stores pack your frozen purchases in), which you can pack with ice packs so it doesn’t spoil on the way home. If your destination is a hotel, the best case scenario is that the staff obliges your request to deep-freeze the milk in their freezer.
Tip 8: More, More, More
A change of pace – or time change – can affect your supply, but there’s a few things you can do. First, make sure you’re eating enough and drinking plenty of water. Try sipping nursing tea and start popping Fenugreek pills, an herbal remedy thought to increase milk supply. (FYI, some people swear by them, others only enjoy the side effects of smelling like BO and maple syrup.)
Pumping On The Go Checklist
• A Double Electric pump, charger
• A converter (if headed overseas)
• Nursing cover
• 2-3 large zip baggies for pump parts per day
• A small cloth or paper towels for dribbles
• 2 breastmilk storage bags for every session + some spares
• Hands-free pumping bra
• Sanitizing wipes
• Cooler, ice pack and freezer bag