Adventures of a Free-From Clothbum Mum!

Cloth nappies, dairy-free living, reviews and parental ramblings!

How to make life easier for a breastfeeding, working mum!

on May 18, 2012

For the past nine months, me and my little Monkey have gone everywhere together. Done everything together. Not been apart for more than a few hours.

But now I’m back at work, albeit part-time, I have a new baby.

This new baby is going to be taking his place. Going everywhere with me. I can’t bear the idea of being apart from it and it’s very expensive, just like Monkey. I’m taking such great care of it, treating it with TLC and staring at it in amazement…

Can you guess what my new baby is yet?

It’s my new breast pump!

Yup! I’m actually passionate about a thing that turns me into a human milking machine, with a lovely sound that is reminiscent of cows linked up to a pumping station. Hmmmm!

I’ve had great fun with breastpumps during the past nine months. I initially bought a Tommy Tippee Closer to Nature one, but I just couldn’t get anything out with it at all. I put that down to my rubbish milk supply, but I decided that I had to try another one. So I got their manual pump – which was actually a bit better, but utterly killed my hand.

That wasn’t going to cut it and hand expressing wasn’t really an option either. I’ve, in the past, broken my wrists several times and they’re rather weak now, so hand expressing would have been quite painful for me after a while.

After doing quite a lot of research I invested in a Medela Swing pump. This also coincided with my milk supply increasing, due to wonderful lactation specialists. I was getting far more and I felt much more confident with using this pump. It’s not too loud (most of them make a fair amount of noise) and I like the fact that it packs down small so I can put it out of the way. So, that one was working brilliantly.

At the same time, I also got lent an Ameda hospital grade pump by the local breastfeeding support ladies, which was great. It was a double pump and I got a lot out with it, but I just preferred the Medela. Not quite sure why, as actually the Ameda is a closed system, which means that there’s no risk of milk going up the air tubes at all whilst you’re pumping. The Medela just seemed to suit my breast shape better and felt more comfy for me.

As I was going back to work, I realised that my single pump just wasn’t going to be enough for me to be able to pump efficiently during my breaks. I have a short morning break of about twenty minutes and a longer lunch break. So, if I was pumping both breasts using a single pump, I just wouldn’t get a pumping session in during the morning break.

So, I looked into the options that I had for buying a double pump. My goodness, they’re an expensive lot! The ones that I could see that I liked the look of were:

Medela Freestyle,
Medela Pump in Style,
Ameda Lactaline,
Ardo Calypso

I discounted the Ameda as I hadn’t really got on with the one that I’d been lent and really liked the look of the Ardo. It’s a great, fairly inexpensive single pump (about the same price as a Medela Swing) but it has the fantastic option of adding on a double pumpset for only about £20 more. But I couldn’t find one anywhere, and then I realised that I had an awful lot of Medela stuff already (bottles, etc) from having a Swing.

So, my decision was between the Freestyle or the Pump In Style. To be honest, I was going to go for the Pump In Style, as size isn’t really an issue for me (the Freestyle is much smaller), but I found a fab bargain online that brought the Freestyle down to almost the same price as the other one, so my decision was made.

I’ve been treating the pump a little reverently as it really isn’t a cheap buy. Bless my mum for helping me out (she gave me money towards it as my birthday pressie – yes, an odd but necessary choice of gift, I know!) I have to say that it’s absolutely brilliant.

It has a belt that you can clip the pump onto and a (slightly fiddly) hands-free system that you clip to your bra, so that you can do other things (like, ahem, blog!) whilst you’re pumping away. I’ve invested in a PumpEase handsfree pumping support, which is fantastic and makes me feel much more secure than using the Medela clips. I just can’t quite get the hang of them yet. It’s like a stretchy bandeau that you fasten up at the front like a bra. It has slits where you put the funnels in and it helps to hold it all in place. Very simple, yet very effective. The only thing about it that I don’t like is that it doesn’t have the option of adding bra straps, just to make it feel even more secure. I may adapt mine at some point and use some straps from my multiway bras. There are other pumping support bras that you can get but I liked the look of this one.

So, yes, I can walk around the house or sit at work, looking VERY strange, but it’s a great feeling to know that on the days where I’m not with Monkey, that I can pump and store milk quickly and effectively for him. The Freestyle even comes with a milk storage bag that has a moulded icepack inside it to keep the milk cool, as well as a quite stylish black bag that it all goes into. You wouldn’t know what was in it at all – which is great!

I’m glad that I’ve ticked this potential problem off my list. My work has organised somewhere quiet, private and lockable where I can go and pump, which is great. I know of some people who have been asked to go and pump in the toilet – how horrible is that? I can’t imagine of anything less hygenic – how could I possibly give my baby milk after I’d pumped it in there. Yuck!

By the way – this post isn’t a review where I’ve been sent anything. I bought the pump and all the bits and bobs out of mine (and my mum’s) money. I just wanted to share what I’ve found out, hopefully to help anyone else who’s stuck with this dilemma. I can honestly say that I’m totally happy with my decision and I love the fact that the pump can be charged up and then used as a cordless one. That makes everything just that much simpler.

I’ve been back at work a couple of weeks, now, and I have to say that the pump is brilliant and really efficient. I’ve been able to get both boobs done very quickly (whilst doing other jobs!!!) and the little bottle storage system is really good and very discreet for putting into the fridge. The only problem I’ve encountered is forgetting the icepack section once in the morning, but I may invest in a second that I can leave at work as a spare.

So far…so good!

Apologies for the photo – all my pump parts are currently in the steriliser!

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One response to “How to make life easier for a breastfeeding, working mum!

  1. […] I can store the milk. You can read about how it’s all going and my love of my lovely new pump here My nursery have been very supportive and I provide them with a stash of frozen breastmilk at the […]

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