Want to make pumping breast milk easier? You need to set up a “breast pumping station” with all of your pumping gear – pump, hands-free bra, pump parts, phone charger, and everything else you need all in one place and ready to go when it’s time to pump.
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Even though it’s likely that you have a de facto pumping station already (given that you currently are spending what feels like 70% of your life attached to your breast pump), it’s worth thinking about whether or not it’s set up the way you’d like it to be, or if there is anything that can do to make yourself more comfortable.
The benefit to having a pumping station set up is that everything is all in one place and ready to go whenever you need to pump. You don’t need to find and move your pump and gear, and you don’t sit down and hook yourself up only to realize that you left the nipple cream on the other side of the house and you can’t reach the remote control.
Where should your pumping station be?
The first thing to think about is where you will be most comfortable pumping most of the time.
Do you want to be near the TV? In a room where all the action is so that you don’t miss anything while you’re pumping? Or would you rather be tucked away in a quiet part of the house so that you can relax and have some time to yourself? Will you be taking care of your baby while you pump (and therefore need to be able to put a bouncy seat or play gym by your pumping station)?
It’s also possible to have a mobile pumping station! You can put all of your stuff on a rolling cart and move it to where you want, if that works best for you. Here’s an example:
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How do you want to sit while you pump?
This kind of depends on what you want to do while you pump. If you plan on working or studying while pumping, setting up your pumping station at a desk might work well. Or you might prefer an easy chair with a stool to put your feet up. Think about how you’d sit in your ideal world and then figure out if there’s anywhere in the house that you can make that happen.
No matter how you decide to sit, one thing that I’ve found to be really helpful when I pump is a side table to put my pump bottles on before and after pumping. I have learned to try not to put other stuff on it (like drinks, remote controls, etc.), because then I reach for them and inevitably knock my pumped milk over and get very sad. (I obviously failed at keeping this resolution when taking the picture above.)
What do you need at your breast pumping station?
Everyone’s list of what they need will be different, but here’s mine:
- Pump – Obviously, you need your pump. It’s good if you can set up your pumping station near an outlet; even if you have a battery pack, there will always be that time that your pump is dead and you’d need to move all of your stuff. It’s ideal if you can have a place nearby to “tuck” it away (behind your chair, under your desk, etc.). This way it’s easy to access but not always out and in the way, especially once your baby gets mobile and curious.
- Hands-free bra – I try to keep a clean one in my pumping bag.
- Baby Blanket – I always put one in my lap before I get hooked up to catch drips (especially when unhooking) and limiting the damage when there is a spill.
- Entertainment – I keep an extra-long phone charger and a laptop at my pumping station. I also leave my remote control there (my husband and I have his and hers remotes).
- Lanolin – I also keep this in my pump bag.
- Breast pads – I’m not great at changing them, but I keep clean breast pads there as a reminder.
- Extra Pump Parts and Clean caps for bottles – I keep a bunch of them at my pumping station because I often forget them. Plus, putting caps on immediately after unhooking reduces the chances I will knock a bottle over and spill it.
Other ideas might be hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes/a towel to wipe yourself off, Medela quick-clean wipes for your pump, and a bag to put your pump parts in when you’re done pumping, like a Pumparoo with a staging mat (see review here).
Do you have a pumping station? Where is it and what do you have there?