Exclusive Pumping Essentials & Free Schedule

 

charlesdeluvio | Unsplash


 

Every mother will feed their baby somehow.


Whether it's exclusively breastfed, half breastfed half pumping, exclusive pumping, combo feeding, or formula feeding, your baby will be fed. And they will be happy no matter how they're fed, just by the way. I would like to start off by saying that, because some moms don't end up feeding the way they wanted to. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed both of my kids, but things don't always work out the way we planned. And that's just fine.


With my first baby, I didn't know anything about breastfeeding other than "it comes naturally, you should have no problems at all!" (yeah, riiiight). That didn't work out for us, for reasons I won't delve into right now, and I knew literally nothing about pumping - so when that didn't work either, I started to feed her formula. She's now 3 years old and has never once said, "mom, why didn't you breastfeed me?"


When I had my second baby, I was 1000% determined to breastfeed her. I read a ton of stuff about it. I bought a better breast pump. I bought a hands free pumping bra. I bought a new nursing pillow, a new haaka, and a great book called "Lactivate!".


And then she couldn't latch. I was told in the hospital and at her first pediatrician visit that she had no tongue or lip ties, and she "should be able to latch fine!" and to work on it. Well, in the middle of the night she'd be screaming, couldn't latch, and wake up my husband and our toddler. It was either fail my goal on day 3, or get cracking at exclusive pumping. So I got to work. I pumped every two hours, and before I knew it I had an extra bottle's worth in the fridge. Then a whole mason jar. Then two, three, four jars. Somehow, what feels like a million pumping sessions later, I've filled up my little freezer. I have had mastitis twice, cried more than I care to admit about spilled milk, and fallen asleep pumping a dozen or more times. But here I am, still going, at almost 9 months as I write this.


Let's get to the good stuff, Anna! This isn't your memoir!


Alright, alright. Here's all the stuff that's helped me survive my exclusive pumping journey thus far. I do have to say, some of this stuff doesn't work for everybody, but I personally love it all.


I will put this into huge size and bold though, and all caps for good measure. YOU DO NOT NEED TO SPEND A TON OF MONEY ON PUMPING GEAR. THESE ARE THINGS THAT I LOVE, AND I AM NOT TELLING YOU THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE THEM IN ORDER TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL PUMPING JOURNEY. YOU TRULY ONLY NEED A GOOD PUMP, HANDS FREE BRA, AND WELL FITTING FLANGES. THE REST IS UP TO YOU.


Pssst.. Check the bottom for two free exclusive pumping schedules, and part replacement guide!

 

This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at zero additional cost to you. This helps support my website and family! Read my full disclosure here.

 

Pumps and parts:

  • Spectra Synergy Gold: This wall plug only pump is powerful and beautiful, but not so portable. I loved everything about it- the power and ability to adjust suction on both sides, the low noise level, the night light, and the aesthetically pleasing look of it. The only thing that made me turn away from it was the fact that I'd be planted in one spot for a total of four or five hours during the day. With two kids, I just couldn't do it anymore! I got all my replacement parts covered by insurance from Aeroflow. They also provide pumps, I got my first pump from them and turned out to not like it. (Medela Pump in Style With Max Flow) but ended up buying this one out of pocket. It would have been an upgrade anyways, not completely covered.


  • Pumpables Genie Advanced: I will never be able to switch back to a plug only pump after using this pump. It's about the size of an avocado, and literally has the same suction power as my Spectra. The price point is amazing as well, most little pumps like this are a lot more money. The BEST part about this setup is the liquid shield kit. These silicone flanges are an absolute dream. The battery lasts about a day and a half for me, I pump around 4-5 times a day for 30-40 minutes. It charges in a couple of hours, I never pay attention to how long it takes because I'm too busy! You can use my code SHOP10-TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD for 10% off!


Want to hear more about these pumps? Check out my full review here!

BEFORE WE GET INTO FLANGES- please download and print my free nipple ruler here! It's so important to wear the right size.

  • PumpinPal flanges: These PumpinPal flanges are at a pretty funky angle and are very soft, I really enjoy using them compared to standard flanges. I was originally not planning to buy these, but with the supply issues that Pumpables has been suffering I had to get something when my liquid inserts wore out. I wear the XS size, and I measure at 15mm. You have to have the special collar and adapter pieces to use these, but they're so worth it!


Pumpin Pals Flanges/Collars on Spectra parts
How to use PumpinPals with the Pumpables Genie Advanced


  • "Off Brand" Plastic Flanges: It is literally SO IMPORTANT to measure and ensure you're using the correct sized flanges! That's another thing I didn't know when I tried pumping with my first baby. Most pumps come standard with 24mm and 28mm flanges, and those are absolutely HUGE. You'd be surprised at the amount of women who actually need a much smaller size like 19mm, 17mm, or even 15mm! When I used the Spectra, I had to buy these Maymom Flanges from Amazon in the correct size.



  • Legendairy Milk Collection Cups: I bought these recently because pumping in the car is super annoying with the whole liquid kit and tubes setup getting in the way. I also like to use them for my first pump of the day when I'm also doing 100 things to start the day and it seems that every single doorknob in the house sticks out far enough to catch my liquid kits and tubes as I'm flying by. You can use my code TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD for 15% off!

Update October 2022- I recently bought the Imani i2 wearable pumps from them and those cups work MUCH better than the collection cups. You can buy all of the pieces for those (without the motors, they're not great) for about $90 but they're way way better. See my reel here on the differences.


How to use Legendairy Collection Cups and Pumpables Genie Advanced
How to use Legendairy Collection Cups and Pumpables Genie Advanced

  • Lacteck Flanges: I decided to give these a whirl when the Pumpables Liquid Shields were out of stock in my size, and so far I really love them. You'll need adapter pieces, I use the maymom brand that works with my Spectra duckbills, back flow protectors and tubing. This hooks up to the Genie Advanced perfectly.




How to use Lacteck Flanges and Pumpables Genie Advanced
How to use Lacteck Flanges and Pumpables Genie Advanced

  • Ceres Chill Breastmilk Cooler Bottle: This is something I recently discovered, and it's crazy popular right now. This amazing bottle keeps milk chilled for over 20 hours, and is a total game changer for having to pump on the go. I purchased this beautiful purple color after wrestling with myself over which color was cutest! It can also be used for things other than breastmilk- so it can stay with you long after your pumping journey. They also sell spouts and straws to convert it to a water bottle. You can use my code TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD for 15% off!




 

Pumping Bra & Clothing:

  • Davin and Adley Nursing and Pumping Crop Cami: This is my new favorite bra, it's super comfortable and cute enough to be worn by itself! I like to pair it with high waisted leggings because I haven't lost my little pouch yet! It holds the Pumpables Liquid Shield kits and Legendairy Milk Collection Cups very well! Update: I have worn the Amelias all day, every day, since I got my first one. That was on May 24th, it is now September 14th (as I write this update). I have 5 now. You can use my code TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD for 10% off!

Davin and Adley nursing and pumping bras
I have 5 of these camis!

  • Motherhood Maternity Side Ruched Tanktop: I've lived in these for the last 8 or 9 months now. They're unbelievably comfortable, especially for those of us who are hanging on to a little extra baby weight. They're stretchy enough to pull down to put your pump setup right into your bra rather than pulling your shirt up above the setup. I think I own about 7 of these!



 

Vitamins & Supplements:

I will say this- supplements and galactagogues do NOT work for everyone. There is absolutely not a magic pill or snack that will suddenly increase your milk supply. Can these things help some mamas in conjunction with frequent milk removal, adequate hydration and nutrition? Sure! But do not expect to be dehydrated and starving, pumping twice a day and eating a lactation cookie and getting 40 ounces of milk. These are the things I personally consume on a regular or semi regular basis that I enjoy.


A note on galactagogues- Some of these things contain compounds such as beta glucan, for example, which is known to increase production of and circulating prolactin levels, and helps some mamas in that department. This is an example of one of many lactogenic foods/herbs, many of which do not have actual solid science behind "why" or "how" it works, just that it can! A lot of these are even tested in animal lactation as well. Source: Boost Your Breastmilk, Alicia Simpson

  • New Chapter Perfect Postnatal: This is the same brand as the prenatal vitamins I've always used, so I just switched over to the postnatal when I ran out of those. It's got a crazy amount of vitamins and goodies packed into it. I don't eat every food group at every meal, so I want to make sure my bases are covered!



  • Vitamin D3: Your baby's pediatrician will likely recommend you take a little bit extra D3, or get the drops to put into baby's milk. There's some in the postnatal, but the "recommendation" for mom to take is about 4000 IU, the postnatal only has 2000 IU so I like to take a little extra to make sure baby's getting enough.



  • Boobie Bears: These have moringa, turmeric, and cinnamon, which some women see milk supply increase from. They also have biotin to help your hair and nails, and zinc and elderberry for immunity. Rather than finding those last two in a different breastfeeding-safe supplement, I just get these! I swear this helped me be the "last man standing" while my kids and husband were all sick. Update October 2022- They stopped selling these on Amazon and I refuse to pay $8 for shipping from the brand. I moved on to Legendairy Milk Sunflower Lecithin, and am really hoping to find an elderberry zinc alternative because cold and flu season is coming up fast.



  • Boobie Superfoods Protein Shake: I want to make it clear I do not purchase this thinking it's gonna quadruple my milk supply. It does have galactagogues, but again those don't work for everybody. I drink a shake after working out (ha, how often does that happen?) and I buy this brand because it's specifically formulated to be safe for and support breastfeeding. I also like to have a shake as my last food of the day and fast overnight from 7pm to about 9am.



 

Special Lactation Snacks & Drinks:

Again, not everything out there works for everyone. These are not magic by themselves. Pair them with frequent milk removal, adequate hydration, and nutrition and they may help you. They are soooo good though! You can read more about lactogenic foods in this great book.

  • Munchkin Milkmakers Lactation Cookies: I eat literally two bags of these a day sometimes. They're so good. I wish they weren't as crunchy though! A few times I've bitten into one that's so hard I thought my tooth broke! My trick lately is to soak them in milk first. Oof! These are fenugreek free, which I love because I'm a woman who gets milk supply decrease from fenugreek. Remember how I said not all galactagogues work for everyone? Yeah, uh-huh!



  • I thought before that Bessie's Best had literally the best lactation cookies. Until I tried these ones from Liquid Gold Goods.. holy MOLY. Red velvet sugar cookies? Oreo overload cookies? And these are herb free! She bakes a ton of other flavors and some brownies as well, I can't wait to try them all. You can use my code TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD for 10% off!




  • Coconut Water: It's expensive, but coconut water is the best! Super hydrating, lots of vitamins and electrolytes. My favorite brand is the Kirkland Signature (hello, Costco!)


 

Care & Comfort:

  • Earth Mama Organics Nipple Butter: My all time favorite nipple balm- it's smooth and buttery, not sticky or slimy like some other brands can be! It smells awesome, it lubricates flanges very well, and can even be used on chapped lips in a pinch! If you happen to buy the 1 ounce sized jar, it's perfect for a baby who's learning to grab things and likes to scream while you're pumping! I put all my little sized Earth Mama stuff in a grasping basket and let her at it while I sit next to her and pump. She loves it. Note: You can use the code TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD15 for 15% off!



  • Earth Mama Organics Booby Tubes: At some point in your breastfeeding or pumping journey, you will want to have some warming/cold packs. Personally, I wasn't a fan of the kind with the little gel beads inside that seem to explode and pop in the microwave. These are filled with flax seed, which is a lot less concerning than mystery gel! These can be warmed for help with milk flow, or cooled for help with engorgement. I also set one on my napping baby once so I could have my hand back! Oh, and remember that sweet code TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD15 for 15% off?


  • Breast Pads: I moved from disposables to reusables, to save money and landfill space. I like the KeaBabies reusable pads, and Davin and Adley makes special thin liners to fit well in their nursing/pumping bras. The KeaBabies pads are a bit bulky in thinner bras, I've noticed.





  • LaVie Lactation Massager: I have the basic massagers for helping milk flow and letdown speed, and to help bust clogs if I get them. I see the warming massagers are much more popular, and they're on my "things I don't actually need but will probably end up buying" list. Update: I bought them, they feel AMAZING if I remember to charge them. They last about 2 sessions, but when you remember to charge them they're amazing. I used a 10% off code which made them cheaper than Amazon, and gave free shipping being over $50. Please help yourself to the code TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD for 10% off as well!






 

Storage:

You have to put milk somewhere!

Lots of moms use the "pitcher method", you combine all of the milk from one day into a pitcher you keep in the fridge. The next day you feed baby from that milk, and continue the cycle. Anything that didn't fit in the pitcher can be moved to the freezer stash. Fridge milk is good for 4 days, so you can keep more than one pitcher if baby goes through it fast enough.

  • Medela Milk Storage Bags: I bought two boxes of these before my baby was born. I still have a bunch left! They're very sturdy and freeze well. They're thicker than the Lansinoh or Target brand, I've noticed.


  • Haakaa Silicone Milk Bags: I use these for when we drive an hour or more from home and I have to both bring extra milk for baby and pump while we're gone. (I do this because the milk I'm bringing for her to drink is not going to be mixed with milk I'm pumping and putting into the chiller bottle) I don't have enough to freeze them but I'm told they freeze well. They stand up on their own with no issue, and are leak proof! I have tried Junobie bags as well, and they're so much more frustrating to open and close. Great bags, floppy, but surely don't leak. Haakaa is my favorite by far. I can open and close with ease, and not send milk flying.




  • Dr Brown's Formula Mixing Pitcher: This is made for formula, but mixes breastmilk beautifully. They hold 32 ounces and don't take up too much space in the fridge. I upgraded to this after my mason jars started to rust and I was tired of spilling milk while trying to pour it out of jars. I can mix this with my hands full by holding the top handle with my mouth and bobbing my head like a chicken. Hey, don't laugh at me. You'll get there one day. Note: I saw some Amazon reviews about the handles falling off- so I'm always holding mine by the base and lid to avoid that! I also don't have a dishwasher so I hand wash them, I feel like maybe high heat in dishwashers may contribute to the handle issue.




The Dr Brown's pitcher in action - Mixing milk like no other!

 

Feeding & Cleaning:


  • Philips Avent Bottle Warmer (New model): Warming up bottles is great, babies CAN drink cold milk, but they don't all like to. I like to serve mine as close to room temp as possible, so that she's not in total shock when we're out and about and she has to drink a bottle that's not 98 degrees! A lot of people say a bottle warmer is one of the biggest wastes of money on baby products. However, the babies that don't like cold milk from the fridge beg to differ!



  • Philips Avent Anti Colic Bottles: I used to have the regular Avent bottles, but they redesigned the nipples in 2022 and they're AWFUL. My poor baby had a terrible time trying to drink out of it and was so fussy for 3 days until I figured out that was the problem. These bottles and nipples are much easier for her! I can also screw them right onto my flange kits if I want to. (Pumpables, Spectra, Maymom, anything wide)



  • OXO Tot Space Saving Drying Rack: I like this rack because it saves space, isn't rickety, and has two removable and easily washable trays.



  • Munchkin Bottle Brushes: These are my favorite because they're half sponge, half bristle. They have a nice little nipple nubbin brush as well, and stand up without falling or using a suction cup. I like to replace them frequently, so I like that they're cheap too!



 

Travel:

At some point, you'll have to go somewhere. I'll add my pump bag and my bottle cooler bag, but I will make it known that as a mom of two, I cannot leave the house without a giant bag, or 3 bags, depending on where we're headed. I'm an over preparer and proud! Why do I need three bags? I'll tell you in my checklist post here! Update- I previously used the skip hop diaper backpack and loved it, then I jumped on the Sarah Wells train and ohhh boy, was I missing out. What I used to carry in 3 bags now fits into 1. Very very impressed with the quality of the fabric and hardware. I may or may not have bought the entire le floral line... at least it was during the outlet sale and I saved a ton of money. I have full walkthroughs of these bags on Instagram, I'll link the reel to each bag below!

  • Sarah Wells Lizzy bag in Le Floral - walkthrough reel here You can use my code TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD15 for 15% off at Sarah Wells Bags!



  • Sarah Wells Cold Gold Cooler Bag - Walkthrough reel here I like to use this one as a lunchbox more than a milk bag, we're getting to the age where my baby doesn't need a ton of milk brought out with us anymore. I will put a bottle inside with cold foods though. Remember, TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD15 for 15% off at Sarah Wells Bags!



  • Sarah Wells Pumparoo Bag - Walkthrough reel here This is something I would not have bought unless it was on sale (the outlet sale was literally 65% off yall, they're doing another in spring of 2023 so keep your eyes peeled). I take a moment of sadness for all of the gallon ziplock bags I had wasted in the past instead of bringing something like this with me.. boo :( Note: there are inexpensive dupes on Amazon, but I have not tried them myself. This one is of impeccable quality in my opinion, and I'm pleased with it.



  • Dapple Pump Wipes: You may be thinking to yourself, traveling and pumping? How am I supposed to clean my parts after using them? That's what I was thinking up until recently as well. Karrie Locher talked about using these wipes, and I literally went and bought them right away. You can pump in the car and just wipe the parts after!



  • If you have a portable pump (like Pumpables Genie Advanced) and walk around with it clipped to your pants.. I suggest you take a look at this bag. I only bought one because I had started chatting with the mom who runs the business and after seeing how amazingly kind and funny she is, I was like "well why the heck not". and I LOVE THIS BAG. Here is a reel I made showing which of my pumps fit inside! You can save 10% with my code TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD!



  • Another ridiculous and bougie thing I bought was the Onepumpedmama Pump Caddy. We live in a family member's house so we don't have a ton of space, but recently added two more rooms to our living area. Now that I go to other rooms to pump, I was carrying either a handful of crap or putting my pump on something like this lid.. I do not regret spending $30 on this special caddy. I tried using a standard diaper caddy and it just did NOT work out. You can save 10% with the code TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD!




 

I have to add something else to this very important list! I won't get into the whole story, but Instagram recommends profiles for you to follow based on your interests. Recently, I had a suggestion for "Boob Box". I was intrigued by the quirky name and cute logo, so I followed and went to check it out.


Y'all, these boxes are perfect. If I had one of these when I had my first baby, I am 1000% sure I would have continued breastfeeding. I simply did not know you needed these types of items to keep yourself comfortable when you start breastfeeding! I thought I would die from the pain of engorgement, I was a leaking, sobbing mess and I gave up very quickly. I ordered myself a "Build A Box" because my current needs aren't lined up 100% with the pre-built box options. Hunter (the mama in charge) is super friendly and loves hearing about your breastfeeding story/journey. I'll put a couple pictures from the site here and show you the costs of the boxes.

 

These photos are reflecting the World Breastfeeding Week sale prices


These are the Build A Box options:

So there's definitely some things an exclusive pumper can use! I ordered 2 Haakaa bags, Nipple Butter and Booby Tubes (you guys know how much I love the Earth Mama Organics stuff!), nursing pads, girl burp cloths, lactation cookie mix, and the nightlight for my toddler! I also went for a Titty Tote because what mom doesn't need a hundred bags for stuff?


You'll see me writing about Boob Box quite a bit, and that's because I absolutely love the idea of having all the breastfeeding newbie essentials all in one box. Like I mentioned before, this would have been a game changer for me with my first baby. I hope that me talking about it so much will help some other new mamas see it and maybe it'll be their game changer too.

And for added bonus points, I'm supporting my new mama friend and her small business!


TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD gets you 15% off!



 

As promised, here's not one but two different sample schedules to give you an example of how often you should be pumping to replace a baby's general feeding schedule. These are estimates, be sure to pump until empty every single time or you can have issues like your supply dropping and developing clogs. Pumping until empty (or longer) tells your body that you needed all of that milk, and more.


Note: I've added two different schedules, these are both SAMPLES/EXAMPLES not by any means a "follow this or produce no milk" situation.


CLARIFICATION: I AM NOT INSTRUCTING YOU TO FOLLOW THESE SCHEDULES, THEY ARE EXAMPLES. PLEASE DO NOT YELL AT ME. :(

 

Are you wondering when to change your parts? This is a general guide for most pump parts, but all brands have different parts and some wear out more quickly.


You can also replace them earlier if you feel that they're wearing out and the pump's performance is affected. Your insurance may cover replacement parts! Always call or check with a program like Aeroflow if you're able to get parts covered by insurance. Note: By silicone flanges, I was referring mainly to Pumpables liquid inserts. Other silicone items do not wear out as quickly, such as Lacteck and PumpinPals.


 

Are you prepping for postpartum? Check out my post on postpartum care must haves!


Currently pregnant, or planning to be pregnant? I've got the prenatal care must haves and hospital bag checklist!


Oh, and don't forget allll the pregnancy freebies, and the hey milestone sample boxes.


Breastfeeding or pumping? Please read through everything I wish I knew about breastfeeding before having my first baby, and are you hurting your milk supply to see if there's anything you may benefit from learning! I'm also reviewing and going over the details and specifications on all the breast pumps I can get my hands on.


If you're into packing checklists like I am, I also have a diaper bag checklist!