By: Melissa Portunato, IBCLC
The holidays with a new baby are exciting, scary, and magical all rolled into one. Planning, entertaining, traveling, and shopping come with the season’s craziness, but how will pumping fit in? We’re sharing our top holiday tips for managing your pumping schedule stress-free during the holidays.
Plans can often deviate from what we thought or intended, so plan for what you CAN control. Before traveling, check out potential pumping locations, and don’t be afraid to ask the staff at airports, train stations, or other places along the way. Give yourself time to allow for pump breaks to avoid unnecessary stress from rushing. If you’re going through security at the airport, it can take longer when breastmilk and pumps are involved.
*For more information on TSA’s policies regarding air travel with breastmilk, click here https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/breast-milk
Whether on the road or staying home this holiday season, load up on extra accessories like duckbills valves and backflow protectors. It can definitely be stressful if you stop to pump and you notice a rip or tear – especially if you’re on the go. Your accessories should be changed routinely every 6-8 weeks depending on how often you are pumping.
It’s OK if you miss a pumping alarm or skip one here and there. Overall it shouldn’t dramatically affect your milk supply. Try not to go more than 3-4 hours without pumping. Mothers that exclusively pump often find that by pumping for 120 minutes per day, they can establish and maintain their milk supply. That’s 6x per day for 20 min each pumping session. If you notice a dip in your milk output, it’s likely temporary. Once you have the time, try Power Pumping – 1x a day for 3 days to give your supply a boost.
If your pump has a rechargeable battery, like the Spectra S1 and 9+, be sure the battery is fully charged before your guests arrive or are ready to hit the road. Consider purchasing a compatible car charger for road trips.
It’s so easy to get caught up with crossing tasks off your to-do list and not make the time to stop to take it all in. Remember to enjoy every moment you can – even pumping time. Sometimes, pumping can be lonely especially if you feel the need to move to another room to pump. If you like more privacy, consider pumping with a nursing cover and staying in the conversation. If you want some quiet time, sneak away to another room with your new baby. Keep your baby close to you during your pumping session. Single pumping while holding your baby skin to skin can be a great way to bond, recharge, and relax.
Breast Milk Storage & Cleaning
According to the CDC, breastmilk is optimal for 4 hours at room temp, four days in the fridge, and 4-6 months in the freezer. If you are traveling with your breastmilk it’s best to keep it fresh rather than trying to keep it frozen which can be a much harder task. Refrigerated breast milk can be frozen within four days of expression. Keep your breast milk cool when a refrigerator is not available. Transport refrigerated/frozen milk by placing breastmilk in an insulated bag or cooler with a frozen cold pack. Milk should be refrigerated or frozen within 24 hours.
It’s recommended that you wash all your pumping parts after every use. If you’re traveling and you know you won’t have access to a sink, bring enough sets of pump parts to get you through the day. If you are home, having extra parts pre-assembled will be easier to grab what you need and start pumping. Placing pumping parts in the refrigerator in between uses is not recommended.
Spectra Exclusive Tips
Save time and pump directly into storage bags with the Spectra Simple Storage Kit. This innovative technology will keep your milk clean, safe, and always ready to use. Pump, store and feed your baby all from the same breastmilk storage bag.
Skip the pumping bra and pump discreetly with milk collection inserts like the Spectra Caracups. Pumping with the Spectra Caracups will make your pumping sessions comfortable and discreet while baking or catching up with family. Bundle the Caracups with the 9Plus and you have the perfect pair!
Pumping doesn’t have to be an overwhelming chore over the busy holiday season. You can totally keep up with the hustle and bustle with some planning, patience, and flexibility. Need extra tips or have more questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.