This post is sponsored by Areroflow Breastpumps. I am discussing breastfeeding and pumping in this post so skip this one if it’s not something that is of interest or relevant to you at this time!
We have made it over 4.5 months of exclusive breastfeeding. It has been a lot of work but 100% worth the effort.
I wanted to share a little more about getting established with breastfeeding, starting to pump and the pump that I use. It was something that I was clueless about when I was pregnant and many of you have asked me about.
Please note, I am not going to be giving advice on breastfeeding or pumping in this post but rather sharing my experience. It’s so important to remember that every woman’s body, baby and breastfeeding journey is SO different. I can’t recommend enough reaching out to your pediatrician or a board certified lactation consultant for specific advice about your situation.
PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING
I admit that I was really clueless when it came to breastfeeding when I was pregnant. I was very overwhelmed by the whole process and had no idea what I needed and how to prepare or how to do it once he was here.
I ordered a copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and that was helpful to read through while I was pregnant. I also registered for things like a breastfeeding pillow, nursing covers, nursing pads, nipple cream and more.
I had heard so much about breast pumps so I figured I would need one to give me flexibility to be away from baby from time-to-time. I didn’t know how much I would use it but thought it best to get one, especially since I’d heard that you could get one for free through insurance.
GETTING A PUMP
Thank goodness for Aeroflow Breastpumps because I had no idea what I was doing in picking out a pump or the process of getting it through insurance. Aeroflow Breastpumps specializes in helping pregnant and nursing women get their breast pump through insurance. They take care of the entire process, from filing the insurance claim to picking the right pump.
The process was so easy…
- I completed a short form online. (You can do that here!)
- I was assigned a Breastpump Specialist from Aeroflow who helped me review my benefits and pump options.
- I could choose from breast pumps from Medela, Spectra, Lansinoh, Evenflo, Motif and Ameda.
- I was directed to a page on their website where I could see exactly what my insurance covered and what was an upgrade and required an extra cost.
I found that my Breastpump Specialist, Tiffany, was as hands-on or off as I needed her to be and she really followed my lead. They are happy to chat with you on the phone or communicate via email. The thing I appreciated the most was that she reached out to my doctor’s office directly to request a prescription for a breast pump (which is required by insurance) so I didn’t have to deal with that. I also appreciated that she checked in regularly (but was totally not pushy) to make sure I was on track to get my pump. This was good for someone like me who has a tendency to put things off when they overwhelm me!
It’s also worth noting that even if you don’t have insurance or qualify, that Aeroflow will work with you to provide other payment options including payment plans and discounts for paying by cash.
After reviewing my options and doing some reading and research, I decided to go with the Spectra S1PLUS. One of the biggest selling features of this pump for me was that it can function as an electric pump or a battery operated pump when charged through the AC adapter. I knew I’d want the flexibility to take it on the go and not have to worry about finding an outlet.
The pump comes with two sets of the following: backflow protectors, two different sizes of flanges (24 and 28 mm), milk collection bottles and caps, duck bill valves and tubing. If you just read that last sentence and your eyes glazed over, don’t worry. You will learn. It is a lot at first but it becomes easier with practice.
I won’t overwhelm you with all of the specific features of the Spectra S1PLUS but it has worked well for my needs. I have found it to be fairly quiet, easy to transport, effective in the actual pumping with great cycle and vacuum settings and I like the flexibility to use it as a single or double pump. (Sometimes I have baby on one boob and pump on the other!)
Remember, Aeroflow offers a lot of pump options and they will help you pick the one that is best for you!
STARTING TO PUMP
I actually pumped for the first time while I was still pregnant because my doctor said it could help to get labor going. While I can’t say that it helped there, it was nice to learn how to use the pump before the baby came. I would definitely recommend getting your pump out and becoming familiar with it while you are pregnant!
After Finn was born, I didn’t start pumping until he was about 10-12 weeks old. The lactation consultant told me to wait at least 4-6 weeks (if possible, I fully understand that is not reality for everyone) to get breastfeeding established. After that, it just seemed overwhelming to start. I didn’t know how to fit it into my day when it felt like I was already feeding Finn around the clock and I also didn’t want to encourage oversupply because things can be a little crazy until you milk regulates!.
I finally bit the bullet and started pumping and it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. When it comes to breastfeeding, what has always resonated with me is feeding on demand. I never wanted to have Finn on a super strict eating schedule (and still don’t!). This made it somewhat hard for me to figure out how to add in extra pumping sessions when he was with me to “build up a stash.” What has worked better for me is pumping feedings that he misses when he is away from me. I also find that I get a LOT more that way!
PUMPING ON THE GO
I have since become comfortable pumping in all sorts of situations…from being out in public to driving around in the car. It takes me longer to pump than to breastfeed so I am all about pumping on the go and multitasking while I pump. I cannot recommend a good pumping bra enough for this. This is why it’s so great that the Spectra S1PLUS can be battery powered. I can take it with me anywhere or just carry it around the house so that I can do things while I pump.
PUMPING AND TRAVELING
Last weekend I was away from Finn overnight for the first time. You better believe my pump came with me and was a lifesaver. I thought that I would maybe get to sleep through the night for the first time since Finn was born but despite pumping at 10:30 p.m., I woke up at 3:30 a.m. in desperate need! I later learned that Finn woke up at the same time that night to eat so clearly my body is in synch with what he needs.
Luckily, my hotel room had a mini-fridge so I was able to store the milk as I pumped it. When I am away from Finn I try to stay on a schedule that is pretty close to how often he eats, minus some of the comfort nursing he likes to do in the evenings.
I packed a soft cooler in my luggage to transport the milk home in. I also packed plastic bags to make ice packs with using the hotel’s ice machine. Packing the cooler was the last thing I did before leaving for the airport.
TSA is very understanding about breastmilk and formula. I have taken breastmilk through three times now and had no issues. You can bring the milk through frozen or not. The first and second time they did a test on it (nothing invasive and you watch the whole thing) and this time they just opened my cooler and looked at it and let me go. They are also okay with having ice in the cooler as long as it’s still frozen. There is no ounce maximum for how much breastmilk you can carry through security.
OVERALL THOUGHTS ON PUMPING
If I had to pick between pumping and nursing, I’d choose nursing every single time. That said, I am so grateful that pumping allows me to continue breastfeeding Finn when I am not with him. I am still in awe every day that the female body can provide everything a baby needs for the first six months of its life. Breastfeeding has been an incredible bonding experience for me and Finn and something that I never dreamed that I would enjoy doing as much as I do.
My goal is to make it to one year, if not longer, and I honestly could not achieve this goal without my breast pump. The biggest THANK YOU to Aeroflow Breastpumps for all of their support and guidance, and for being champions for moms by providing the best equipment and supplies for pumping while also creating a community of support and education.
I’m happy to answer questions if you have them! I’m an open book about this stuff and want to help other women as much as I can.
Was breastfeeding/pumping overwhelming to you when you were pregnant? How did you prepare?
Which pump did you use? Did you like it? Any general pumping tips for other moms?