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Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Look ma! No hands!"

Pumping breastmilk  for some women is an arduous task.  Besides actually getting the milk to flowing (something I've always struggled with), there is the time it takes- time that is totally taken up with pumping as you can't do anything else while hanging onto the various parts....  Or so you thought!! 

I love this article on PhD in Parenting- "Hands Free Pumping"- lots of great ideas for hands free pumping and descriptions of various products that are offered commercially to help free up mom's hands while pumping their breastmilk.

Hands-free pumping options for breastfeeding moms

by phdinparenting on September 13, 2010
If you are a breastfeeding mom who has to pump regularly, whether you are pumping at work, exclusively pumping (by choice or necessity), trying to increase your supply, breastfeeding multiples or donating to a human milk bank, you probably don’t want to spend all of your pumping time holding the horns. There is good news: You don’t have to! There are a variety of different options for using your double electric breastpump hands-free, ranging from almost free to sophisticated comfort.

Hair Elastic Technique

Certainly the cheapest, but not the sturdiest method of hands-free pumping is the hair elastic technique. All you need is four hair elastics and a nursing bra you are ready to go. There are detailed instructions for using the hair elastic hands-free pumping technique on the kellymom website.
This is the method that I used pumping with my second child. With my first baby, I don’t think I would have found the hair elastic technique to be sturdy enough. Instead I used the now discontinued Medela hands-free breastpumping kit, which also used elastics, but was sturdier. However, it only worked with Medela nursing bras, which were not my favourites. Once I felt more confident and comfortable with my pump, I was able to use the hair elastic technique and found it to be both convenient and easy. I had to hold on to the flanges at the beginning of a pumping session, but once the suction kicked in, I didn’t need to hold them anymore. It certainly is the cheapest method, doesn’t require you to wear a specific nursing bra (pretty much any brand will do), and doesn’t require a lot of set-up time.
While it is intended for use with a nursing bra that has hooks that you can hook the elastic into, I was also able to use it with some nursing bras with snaps or with a non-nursing tank top with shelf bra by looping the hair elastic around the part of the bra where the strap meets the cup.

La Leche League Hands Free Pumping & Nursing Softcup Bra #4105

DIY Hands-Free Pumping Bra

If you are a DIY type, you may be interested in instructions on how to turn a regular bra into a hands-free pumping bra. This approach is probably quite economical if you know what you are doing, but I don’t like the idea of either having to change bras each time I want to pump or wearing two bras (the hands-free pumping one and a nursing bra).
Another really easy option, used by Marcy from Life is Good, Bonnie from Life As I Know It and Katy from Along Came a Hippo is to cut holes into an old sports bra.

HERE to read the entire article on PhD in Parenting