Are you struggling with managing your bottles and milk when you pump? Here are a few tips and tricks that can save you time, effort, and spilled breast milk.
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Below are some common issues and questions new parents have when it comes to managing bottles when they pump.
I keep spilling bottles when I’m cleaning up after pumping. Is there a way to avoid this?
One option is to keep a coffee cup or two at your pumping station. You can put your bottles into them as you disconnect from your pump, reducing the chance that you’ll knock the bottles over.
I keep spilling milk when transferring it from the bottles I pump into. Is there an easier way to do this?
If you need to transfer the milk into another bottle or breast milk bag, you may be able to use your breast shield as a funnel (if your breast shield is a separate piece).
This can help reduce spills.
You may also be able to pump directly into the bottle or bag that you would be transferring to. If your baby won’t take the bottles that you pump into, see if there is an adapter that you can use to pump into those bottles – it will save you so much time and effort. (This chart might be helpful in seeing if this will work for you.)
I have oversupply and my bottles overflow when I pump. What should I do?
It’s fine to start and stop again if you need to in order to switch out the bottles.
Some people worry that stopping pumping in the middle of a letdown will affect their milk flow.
However, think about it this way – if you were nursing your baby, and your toddler woke up from a nap, you’d have to stop and tend to your older child for a few minutes. Parents have been doing this for thousands of years, so it’s fine – your body doesn’t need perfectly regimented pumping schedules.
If you need to stop for a few minutes, stop, switch the bottles, and then pick back up where you left off.
Another option is to pump into larger bottles. If you’re currently pumping into 5 oz bottles, for example, 8oz Medela bottles might work better.
After you finish pumping, can you combine milk from both bottles into one?
Yes – there are no issues with doing this.
Can you pump into the same bottle all day?
Unfortunately, there are a few recommendations around breast milk storage and cleaning pump parts that are at odds with doing this. These include:
- Don’t add warm milk to milk that’s already chilled. This is because the warm milk will raise the temperature of the chilled milk. Breast milk is normally stored in the fridge or freezer to slow the growth of bacteria, allowing us to keep it for longer. When you raise the temperature of milk that’s been chilled, it allows bacteria to grow more quickly, and the milk to go off faster.
- Wash breast pump parts after each use. The CDC recommends that you wash all of your pumping gear after each use.
I hope these tips for managing bottles and milk when you’re pumping are helpful! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.