Hello, breastfeeding mamas! I have been so amazed and happy that my last post about my tips for pumping at work in 15 minutes has resonated with you and helped you out. As promised, I’m here now to share with you another pumping hack: my $2 tip for hands free pumping.
Like every other new mom, I struggled with knowing how to pump, when to pump, how much to pump, and how often to pump. Returning to work was a big deal. As you probably know from the blog, I’m an L&D nurse. We work 12 hour shifts, and rarely get proper breaks. That post about pumping in 15 minutes or less was born from my very real experience of never really having time to pump at work, but desperately wanting to keep up my milk supply for my babies.
I’m no stranger to marketing, and I knew that there are a lot of hands free pumping options available. This was a priority for me, because I need my hands to be free while pumping for more important activities like… Facebook scrolling.
The options out there didn’t really speak to me, though.
#1– They seem awkward and time-consuming. We aren’t strangers in the lactation room at my work (ain’t no one got time for that), and I’ve seen the procedure of strapping one of those hands free pumping bras on. I’m busy! I don’t want to worry about wardrobe changes.
#2– Like all things connected to pregnancy and babyhood– they are super-duper expensive. A co-worker suggested the tip of cutting slits into a sports bra to DIY a cheaper version of those hands free pumping bras, but that just goes back to reason #1. I wasn’t a fan of wearing a bra with slits in it at work all day and sure didn’t want to have to change into it.
Here, then, is the solution I came up with. I’m not promising that it will work for you because we all have different needs and anatomies, but it worked brilliantly for me. I outlined the whole hack for you in the video below. (If you aren’t a video watcher, keep scrolling and I’ll explain it, too.)
Step 1: wear the right foundation
I will say that I have used my $2 hands free pumping hack with several different nursing bras and tanks, and it helped with all of them. However, by far it was fastest and most successful when I wore my standby nursing tank (shown in the video).
The key is the crossover front. It tucks in the pumping flanges and holds them there so well. You can get this style in either a bra or a tank. I like having an extra layer under my scrubs, so the tank was perfect for me.
Step 2: the hands free pumping hack
In my quest to find the cheapest and best way to pump hands free, I found a hands free pumping “system” on Etsy that was a somewhat complicated maze of elastic bands that you could use over any bra. The selling point? It was only about $10. (To be honest, I’m not sure if this is even sold anymore. If you are really interested in it, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to look it up for you.)
I used it for about a week before ditching it. It did work, but it took a couple of minutes to get it set up correctly. Plus, when I had it snug enough to be hands free, it put some strain on my neck. No bueno.
It came with a second elastic band that was to be used for reinforcement if needed. I didn’t think I needed it. Little did I know, that would be my saving grace.
All that extra piece is, is a length of regular elastic– the kind you buy to use for sewing projects. On the end is an alligator clip.
That’s it. That’s the hack. A piece of elastic and an alligator clip.
Step 3: how it works for hands free pumping
So, if you have the right foundation, your pumping flanges are already tucked in pretty well. Depending on your breast anatomy, that may be all you need.
For me, there was a bit of a gap on top that would make the breast pump lose suction. That’s where my $2 hack comes in. (Disclaimer: the $2 is an estimate. Depending on where you buy your supplies and how many alligator clips come in the package, your price may be slightly different. It sure isn’t a $39.95 pumping bra, though!)
So, the tank (or bra) holds the pump flanges in at the bottom, and then you just strap this elastic piece of genius around your chest to hold down the tops of the flanges. BINGO! You are now hands free pumping.
i know it’s not rocket science, but the one thing I’ve learned in parenthood is that everyone has simple tips to share that can make a world of difference to another parent who is struggling. I hope this has helped you!
Your turn! What’s your best breastfeeding/baby/momming hack? Let us know in the comments so we can shave a couple more minutes off our busy days, too. 🙂