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We rarely hear anyone go on about the joys of pumping. Like breastfeeding, it can be a bit of a time suck. However, unlike breastfeeding, it doesn’t come with face-time and snuggles with your baby. There are often cords and tubes to contend with, and then there’s the droning noise (unless, of course, you have this). But pumping opens doors that the demands of breastfeeding can close.
So, while pumping may never be your favorite activity, you can still develop a healthy appreciation for it. Let’s talk about the moments when your breast pump can feel pretty empowering.
When your baby is reliant on you (and only you) for feedings.
With around-the-clock feedings, it can feel like you barely have enough time to eat, shower, or sleep, let alone handle tasks like grocery shopping. After a few weeks, you might find yourself longing for a leisurely trip down the snack aisle — or maybe just a solid nap. And while you might have a partner, family member, or friend who’s eager to lend a hand, no matter how well-meaning they might be, they can’t take over breastfeeding for you.
Pumping provides the next best thing. It allows you to share the task of feeding with your support system while benefiting everyone involved. Your loved one will get to gaze at your baby’s sweet suckling face and enjoy post-bottle cuddles. You’ll get some much-needed me-time. And, perhaps most importantly, your baby still gets breast milk.
While there are no hard and fast rules for when you can get started, most lactation experts suggest waiting until breastfeeding is well established, usually after about a month. That way, your baby will be experienced enough to be able to switch back and forth from nipple to bottle. Plus, by then, you may have actually reached the point where the weekly shopping sounds like self-care.
When you’re a breastfeeding mom, and you have other passions too.
Whether you’re into running, art classes, book club, or a night out — being a parent shouldn’t mean giving up your passions. Hobbies provide stress relief and social support that’s critical for anyone with kids at home. Taking time away can make you a happier, more present parent when you return. And we’re all for children growing up watching their parents pursue what they love.
According to breast pump brand Elvie — makers of the world’s first silent, wearable breast pump — innovations like theirs mean parents can now pump and live life at the same time. Their users regularly share stories of pumping during conference calls, on ski slopes and cycling trails, or while cooking dinner at home. It helps that Elvie Pump is noiseless, cordless, totally hands-free, and fits discreetly in your bra.
Pumps like Elvie mean you’re no longer reliant on an available outlet or bogged down by a jumble of parts. So, while the American Association of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend biking with babies under one year old, you can still enjoy a solo ride and easily make pumping pit stops.
When it’s time to go back to work, but you don’t want to stop breastfeeding.
Parenthood doesn’t need to keep you from a thriving career. And your career doesn’t need to keep your baby from getting breast milk. Thanks to breast pumps, working parents have choices when it comes to feeding. Granted, it’s not always easy navigating pump breaks and lactation rooms in the workplace. But pumping can allow you to return to your job without weaning your baby earlier than you’d like.
Employers are required by law to provide breastfeeding women with breaks and a private space to pump until their babies are at least one year old. However, the exact rules can vary depending on the size of your company and the laws in your state, so do your research and talk to your employer. Let them know that you plan to pump before you return to work so that they can make the necessary arrangements ahead of time. It’s also a good idea to begin pumping two to three weeks before you return to work so you and your baby can get the hang of it.
When choosing your pump, consider which attributes will help you feel most comfortable in your workplace. For example, a pump with fewer parts makes it less likely that you’ll leave an essential piece behind, and you’ll have fewer pieces to clean. If you prefer one that’s more complex, you might consider keeping one set of pump parts at work and another at home. And for those who might want to use their pump breaks to catch up on emails or fuel up with a snack, a hands-free model would be ideal.
Enjoy freedom of expression
No matter what your feeding journey looks like, we believe parents need and deserve to follow their passions, practice self-care, and feel empowered by their choices. So if a breast pump can help lighten your load or free you to pursue what fulfills you — we feel pretty pumped about that!
Elvie’s mission is to improve women’s lives through smarter technology. To that end, they’ve created the world’s first silent, wearable breast pump. Elvie Pump makes it possible to pump on your own terms. Go ahead and lead the conference call, play with your kids, cook a delicious meal, or simply enjoy some peace and quiet — all while you pump.
- “Frequently Asked Questions – Break Time for Nursing Mothers.” United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved August 11 2017. https://www.dol.gov/whd/nursingmothers/faqbtnm.htm
- “Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk.” The American Association of Pediatrics. March 2012. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2011-3552
- “Pedal safely when biking with baby on board.” The American Association of Pediatrics. June 26, 2009. https://www.aappublications.org/content/30/7/18.6.full