Top Tips, Uncategorized

Multitasking While Pumping

TIME was the biggest complaint mommas had about pumping in a recent survey I ran titled “Why Pumping Sucks.” It’s true… especially for exclusively pumping mommas, pumping can take A LOT of time out of your day. Even though you are literally MAKING MILK (which is hella productive if you ask me) it can seem like wasted or lost time. Have you felt that way?

So I asked: What’s your favorite way to multitask when you pump?
Below you’ll find multitasking ideas for EVERY pumping momma, no matter whether you have a wearable, hands-free pump or have to remain hands-on the entire time!

Think multitasking is overrated? Scroll alllll the way down to see a message just for you. (And a good reminder for everyone!)

When you’re plugged in:

Some pumps need to remain plugged in, or are large and cumbersome to move around while pumping. Don’t despair! There are still tons of ways to double-dip during pumping time. Since I worked from home during the majority of my maternity leave, I was often working on my computer while pumping. That’s an easy one! Let’s see what else you came up with for pumping while being plugged in:

  • EAT! Eating and drinking were popular answers for each of these categories. It may be the only time you get to actually sit down, so take advantage of that and nourish your body! Your milk supply will thank you!
  • Catch up on paperwork! Sort mail, clip coupons, pay bills, write cards or letters, meal-plan, create to-do lists… those things can pile up for new moms!
  • Take some time for YOU! Meditate or pray, journal, knit/craft, draw/paint… whatever feeds your soul
  • Do your hair or makeup if you’re feeling up to a pump sesh glow-up
  • Sit on the floor and play with your baby! What a great time for tummy time!
  • RELAX! Watch Tv, listen to podcasts, read a book, or scroll instagram, (I hear @pump_momma_pump has a great page!)
  • In desperate need of a recharge? Set a timer and sleep sitting up at the table, leaning forward and resting your head on your folded arms. It works!

Going Mobile:

If your pump is smaller and can be carried around or worn on a clip or lanyard, your pump life just gained A LOT of freedom! Many of these might seem impossible at first, but for many mommas, things get easier with practice. For example, I learned that squatting straight down instead of bending over helped me not spill any milk as I picked up my baby or do simple household chores. I also got really good at sitting on the floor and feeding my baby while pumping. Burping baby while pumping also got easier with practice!
Mommas wearing portable pumps also found that they were able to:

  • All the kitchen chores! Dishes, unloading the dishwasher, cooking…
  • Laundry. Have slightly older kids? Fold laundry as a family, it’s a great learning opportunity and toddlers love to be helpful (even if you might have to refold it later!)
  • Change diapers and care for baby if you have become a multitasking master
  • Catch up on self-care. Hair, make-up, nails… it can all be done while pumping!
  • Go for a walk with your stroller, a light scarf should help you feel a bit more comfortable. Try it and see how you feel!
  • Speaking of covers… there’s no need to hide at events! Throw on a nursing cover or light scarf and enjoy the party. People may be more accepting than you assume, it feels good to be a part of the action!

Using wearables:

Wearable pumps (which I like to call “coconut style” where the motor is located on top of each collection cup) can provide the greatest freedom and multitasking abilities. Some brands are quieter than others, so if your pump motor is a noisy one, all of these might not work for you. I had a very quiet one and enjoyed going to the movies, eating in restaurants, and shopping while pumping… it’s like I had a secret! I felt invincible! (Though I did look a little bit… enhanced… in the chest area, hehe… hello dolly parton!)

  • Work without leaving to pump (This can work well for nurses with 12-hour shifts who pump while charting)
  • Feed, change, and care for baby, Playing with older children
  • Get out and about! Go to restaurants, concerts, go shopping, etc
  • Household chores and tasks
  • Go on a walk
  • Virtually anything and everything!
Image from MomCozy– Save with code: pumpmama

But what if I have to stay hands-on the entire time?

You’re not alone in that. Some mothers need to massage and compress their breasts in order to fully empty. (This could be a flange or pump issue- I recommend setting up a consultation or flange sizing appointment!) Other mothers might be using a hand pump which requires you to manually pump the handle the entire time. (I love them, but I wouldn’t want to use one full-time!) So how can those mommas multitask without being hands-free?

  • Listen to music, an audiobook, or a podcast
  • Watch tv or a movie, or youtube/tiktok if that’s more your thing
  • Talk on the phone using bluetooth/airpods
  • Pray, meditate, or rest your eyes and breathe
  • Talk to your parter or kids. use that time to connect!
  • Watch nature out the window, or watch your children playing
Pump pictured: Medela Harmony Manual Pump SHOP HERE

Why is everyone always trying to make moms multitask?

It really seems that way, doesn’t it?

You don’t have to multitask if you don’t want to- RESTING is essential at times, too! 😊 Your worth is not measured in ounces OR productivity.

Pump pictured: Pumpables: Use code PMP10 to save

Be sure to follow Pump Momma Pump on Instagram for education, motivation, and support! (And more great tips like these!)


Getting off to a good start breastfeeding (by bottle or breast) in the first few days

If no one tells you how important that first week is… I’m telling you now. That first week is SO important in your breastfeeding journey!

Building your milk supply begins in those precious first hours after birth. If you are planning to nurse, it will be essential to get baby latching right away. Skin-to-skin helps this occur as naturally as possible, and has many other benefits for mom and baby! Request to see a lactation consultant in the hospital as soon as you can! Hospitals in the U.S. usually have one on staff. Latching does not always come naturally and can use guidance. (If you’re planning to give birth soon, consider taking a breastfeeding course! Many hospitals offer them.) Breastfeeding should not hurt. If you are experiencing pain, gently break baby’s seal on your nipple by inserting your pinky finger in the corner of their mouth and try re-latching, with assistance from a nurse or lactation counselor. Honestly if you’re in a pinch, watching YouTube videos can really help! Feed baby on demand, watching for hungry and full cues (see my Bottle Feeding highlight for cue posts) This means making sure baby latches both breasts every 2-3 hours on demand around the clock.

If you cannot latch, are separated from baby, or choose to exclusively pump, it is incredibly important to begin expressing right away and continue around the clock every 3 hours. A manual pump or hand-expression might work better to remove that colostrum initially, and an electric pump later. (Check my Manual pump highlight on Instagram for demo videos!) Colostrum can be thick and sticky, and an electric pump might not extract it as well as hand-expression or a manual pump can. Collect this colostrum on a spoon, in a medicine syringe, or in a medicine put to feed to baby. A baby only needs about 5-7ml of colostrum per feeding, which increases to 20ml by day 3 and up to 60ml by 1 week.

For more tips on getting started Exclusive Pumping right from the start, click HERE. For tips on transitioning to exclusive pumping after exclusively nursing, click HERE. Make an appointment to see a lactation professional when you arrive home from the hospital if you are having ANY difficulty or pain.

Let’s get technical:

There are 3 stages of Lactogenesis (milk making). When you are pregnant, you are already entering into Lactogenesis 1: Colostrum! Colostrum is so important for baby’s gut development. It contains immunological properties and helps baby pass meconium, acting as a gentle and necessary laxative. Lactogenesis 2: As soon as your placenta detaches after birth, your body experiences a hormonal change which allows your transitional milk to begin coming in. This milk is slightly less yellow and greater in volume. Lactogenesis 3: Through frequent nursing or pumping, your transitional milk will turn into whiter, mature milk.

So when does your milk come in?

Your milk is already in! Colostrum IS milk! What people usually mean when they say this, is when your milk turns a paler yellow and increases in volume (transitional milk), resulting in a feeling of heavy fullness in the breast which usually takes 3-5 days (can take longer for c-section mommas. You can’t just wait for it to come in though…. you need to ACTIVELY work for that transition to happen- this is an ACTIVE waiting period- latching, hand expressing, or pumping needs to happen around the clock to trigger this next stage of lactation. Milk removal should be REGULAR (meaning nursing/pumping is spaced somewhat evenly) and FREQEUNT (every 2-3 hours around the clock, yes even at night!)

Does your milk supply increase as baby’s intake increases?

This one is mainly for EXCLUSIVE PUMPERS- Build your milk supply EARLY so that you have enough for baby! (For nursing mommas, your baby’s frequent and regular demand for milk should build and maintain your supply.)
It’s super important to begin building your supply FROM BIRTH and work work work (pumping 8+ times a day) to build it until your supply regulates by 2-3 months. From there, you’ll have to protect that supply so it doesn’t begin to decrease… but you may be able to pump fewer times in a day. Aim for 120 total minutes in 24 hours.

*This is not a scientifically accurate graph… it’s a rough visual to give you an idea that you “should” be at your max output around 1-2 month mark, when baby is at their max intake. ⭐️ Ideally, you’d want to be ahead of baby’s intake- your supply could build faster than baby’s intake. Don’t use your baby’s intake at 2 weeks as your goal. 🌟 Your goal should be what a typical baby drinks in a day, which is approx 25-30 ounces. (They may drink less as they begin to eat more solid foods toward age 1.) UNLIKE formula-fed babies, breastmilk-fed babies usually do NOT continue to need greater amounts of milk daily.👶🍼 Most babies plateau out at ~30 oz/day from 1 month onward. They might take slightly more per bottle but fewer bottles per day equaling the same daily total.

You might be thinking… What happens when my bottle-fed baby needs more milk? The goal, of course, is to already have that max output amount, right? But many of us can’t, or we might have had a “bad start” and didn’t pump enough in the beginning due to any number of reasons. What do we do then?
Power pumping is a way to imitate cluster feeding and signal to your body to increase output- You pump 20 minutes, rest for 10, pump 10, rest 10, pump 10. (It takes an hour) Do this once a day for a week or two. It should have a cumulative effect. Check out my page on Milk Supply for more tips! And of course,
Supplementing is OKAY!!! It may actually make you feel LESS stress after you begin to supplement!

How often should I pump?

Keep in mind that this is a pumping website… if you are nursing, follow baby’s feeding cues for nursing at the breast. Work closely with an IBCLC for any direct latching advice.

Here’s an EXCLUSIVE PUMPING SAMPLE SCHEDULE for those who need it!
You might see a different schedule that begins at birth with 8 ppd (pumps per day) and ends at 12 months with 1 ppd. That schedule is great if you’d like to be weaned by 12 months. Use THIS schedule as a sample for building and maintaining your milk supply until you are ready to wean. Alter as needed, based on what’s best for your schedule and family priorities.

This is a SAMPLE schedule based on typical/average output. Every mother is different! Every breast has a different storage capacity and every mother produces a different daily total. Some mothers need to pump more frequently, some can go longer between pumps because their breasts can store more milk!
‼️ If you see a drop in your supply after dropping a pump, you may need to remain at a higher number of pumps per day. Do what works for you and your baby. ❤️

What if I got off to a bad start?

Did your breastfeeding journey get off to a bad start? 😓
When I was researching low supply, one of the reasons for secondary low supply was “Bad Start.” I was thinking, phew that’s harsh! But literally there’s not much of a better way to say it! 🤔

We know that milk supply is usually based off of the demand for milk, whether it’s being demanded by baby nursing or by the act of pumping… and we know that this demand should begin within the first few hours after birth, literally as soon as possible. Milk must be removed frequently (every 2-3 hrs) around the clock beginning at birth, in order to establish a full supply.

But… life happens. C-section recovery, NICU stays, life events, stress, etc… and not every mother gets off to a “good start.” If that’s you…. HAVE GRACE WITH YOURSELF MOMMA. That’s the first step.

If you’re under 2 months postpartum, you have the greatest chance of still recovering/building your supply because it’s likely that your supply has not regulated yet. So….
1️⃣ Take a look at your priorities. If giving 100% breastmilk is a priority to you, get yourself on a strict schedule of pumping every 3 hours around the clock- set alarms in your phone.
2️⃣ Get a quality pump, correctly sized flanges, and replace parts as needed. (Exclusive pumpers should replace their valves every 1-2 months.)
3️⃣ Get yourself on a diet that supports lactation- HIGH calories full of good fats and protein. HYDRATE. Google galactagogues and eat them!
4️⃣ Try POWER PUMPING (See my highlight on it) It should have a cumulative effect so do it once a day for a week straight.

⭐️ IMPORTANT ⭐️ If you know that any breastmilk is better than none, and you cannot make pumping top priority, pump on as strict of a schedule as you can manage and supplement what you cannot produce. Like I said, give yourself grace. We are all living different lives and taking a good look at priorities will let you know if you can honestly make exclusive pumping work… AND THAT’S OKAY!

(YES there are outliers to low supply that an IBCLC can work with you on… the info I post is for the average/typical experience. UNDERSTANDING low supply can be really helpful- follow @lowsupplymom on instagram and learn more about Primary vs. Secondary low supply HERE.)

What was YOUR first week like? Tell us in the comments below!

Be sure to follow Pump Momma Pump on Instagram for education, motivation, and support! (And more great tips like these!)


How do I know what Flange size to use?

Why is there so much conflicting information when it comes to flange sizing?

➡️The traditional school of thought is to measure your nipples and add 3-4mm for your flange size. (Example, if you measure 15mm, select a 18-19mm flange)

➡️The newer school of thought that is being presented to lactation professionals through professional development right now is to size a momma much closer to her exact nipple size. (Example, if you measure 15mm, select a 15-16mm flange)

What do I believe?🤔 Personally and professionally, (After two exclusive pumping journeys and hundreds of flange sizing consultations) I lean toward the traditional school of thought, and I usually suggest a range of anywhere from 2-4mm larger than the nipple width. I would never suggest a 15mm flange for a 15mm nipple. Nipples expand during pumping, and I feel that there should be room for that expansion.🤗
That’s why I give mommas all the information and let them do a bit if experimentation to see what works for their unique body. ❤️ Want a little TMI? My nipples are 15mm and I comfortably use a 18mm Lacteck or 19mm hard plastic flange.

⚠️HOWEVER, flange sizing is SO MUCH MORE than “here, go measure yourself.” Mommas don’t usually know where/what to measure, and there are other factors that play into successful flange sizing than measurement alone. What are those factors?

⭐️FIT- Flange stays centered and does not gap or slide around
⭐️FEEL- Pumping is comfortable without pain to the nipple or areola
⭐️SPRAYS- Strong sprays of milk are a good sign it fits well (and good suction/settings on your pump).
⭐️EMPTYING FULLY- Meaning that milk is not left in areas of the breast/frequent clogs
⭐️EFFICIENCY- Sessions that take 15-30min max.

😵‍💫Confused? This is why a flange sizing appointment can be helpful! You don’t have to figure it all out on your own, momma! Get sized by a knowledgeable lactation professional.

Where do I measure?

For some mommas, it is unclear where the areola ends and the nipple begins. For many, the nipple has a different texture or skin tone shade than the areola. (The nipple may have a more textured/wrinkly appearance than the area around it) Gently pinch your nipple before measuring. Nipples cn get squashed inside bras and additional stimulation can help elongate/define the nipple.

How do I go about measuring my nipple?

Grab a ruler or tape measure with centimeters. Hold the centimeter side toward your body. It helps to get a second opinion, since you can only see it from one vantage point. From the picture on the far left, you can see that the nipple is about one line short of 1.5cm (this would be 14mm) See how it might be easier for someone else to look head-on, rather than you looking down from above? A caliper might work best, if you have one! (LINKED HERE)
If you are using a circle ruler (LINKED HERE), you want the circle that fits best without room to wiggle around (too large) and without catching onto your nipple skin as you put it on (too small). The circle ruler should encircle your nipple only and sit against your breast. (That’s how you know you are measuring the base of your nipple.)
A nipple of this size would most likely fit best in anywhere from a 15-18 flange size, depending on comfort and efficient and full milk removal.

Not to sound like a broken record, but this is another reason it helps to get professionally sized. It can be difficult to do on your own!

How do I measure a flat nipple?

“Rolling out the nipple” can help a flat nipple evert/become erect for measurement. Check out this video for an example of rolling out the nipple: VIDEO HERE (Starts at :34 timestamp) Video from IABLE: Institute for the Advancement of Breastfeeding and Lactation Education
Beginning to pump before measuring, or using a nipple everter like THIS one, can help make an inverted or flat nipple more evert and easy to measure.

Okay, but can we see a flange sizing video, please?

You got it, dude.

When do I measure myself?

I suggest waiting until AFTER birth to measure. Also, it’s a good idea to measure before pumping, not after. Nipples expand (or “puff up” during pumping and you may not get an accurate size after pumping.)

How do I select a type of flange when there are so many options out there?

Pumping is all about experimentation, momma! But where to begin? Let me introduce you to some of my favorite options:

  • Hard plastic flanges:
    Many companies carry a limited range of sizes. Check AMAZON for a greaster variety of compatible flange sizes
  • Lacteck silicone baby-motion flanges:
    Pump Momma Pump’s absolute favorite! Made of soft, flexible silicone, these can provide additional comfort and are a great option if hard plastic flanges don’t feel that comfortab;e, even when using your correct flange size. Save on lacteck by using code PUMPMOMMAPUMP10 and learn more over at
  • PumpinPal flanges:
    These are angled, gradually tapered flanges which come in a variety pack so you can try out different sizes to see which works best. I usually suggest these for women struggling with elastic nipple tissue (more about this below) To save on PumpinPal flanges, use code PUMPMOMMA5 and click HERE to learn more!
  • BeauGen Flange Cushions:
    Soft and sticky, these cushions can be added to your hard plastic flanges to provide a secure grip and soft feel. They are my go-to suggestion for mommas struggling with elastic nipples or leaking when using a wearable pump. Here’s your LINK for these cushions! (Note that they fit into flanges size 21-27 and reduce the flange size by about 2mm.)

What about Elastic Nipples?

How do you know if you have Elastic Nipples? 🤷‍♀️
(and what does that even mean???)

Our skin is elastic (I mean, just think about how much our skin stretches in pregnancy, doesn’t it!) and all nipples swell during pumping. However, some mommas have more elastic tissue in their nipples that can be problematic when pumping.

Elastic nipple tissue has greater “stretchiness”/elasticity than other nipples. They can swell widthwise to fill any size flange tunnel and/or stretch down the flange tunnel and even hit the end of the flange tunnel. How do you know whether you have elastic nipples? Notice how the nipple in “Too big” image below doesn’t stretch, it sits atop a “nipple mountain” of too much areola being pulled into the tunnel. That nipple is not elastic. The nipple in “too small” is also not elastic, it’s being squeezed into a flange tunnel that is too small.

So what do you do if you have elastic nipple tissue? You cann’t turn elastic nipples INelastic (like you can’t make that go away) so you just have to work with it. You get sized professionally for the correct size flange, and you find the size and style flange that is both the most comfortable and fully empties the breast most efficiently. This can mean selecting a flange cushion, a silicone flange, an angled flange, and/or adding or eliminating lubrication while pumping. Confused? That’s why it’s best to work with a lactation professional 1:1 to figure this out!

Additional Tips

Flange sizing can REALLY improve your breast pumping journey. A well-fitting flange can increase comfort, help you empty quicker, and ensure that you’re fully emptying each time you pump. However, there are other factors that can also help. Adding a lubricant like a food-grade coconut oil to your areola/nipple before pumping can greatly reduce friction and increase comfort (especially if you are sizing down in flange size from what you were using before.) Making sure you change your valves regularly (every month for exclusive pumpers and every three months for occasional pumpers) will ensure that your suctions stays strong. Keeping your flange centered on your nipple will help you fully empty without keeping milk in part of the breast due to uneven suction on your milk ducts.

Image from Facebook user Brittany Fisher

Be sure to follow Pump Momma Pump on Instagram for education, motivation, and support! (And more great tips like these!)


Your period and milk supply

Why did I get my period back if I’m exclusively nursing/pumping?

That’s difficult to answer. Many mommas can go their entire breastfeeding journey without the return of their period. This is called “Lactational amenorrhea”- a period of temporary infertility that accompanies breastfeeding and is marked by the absence of monthly periods. According to LLL, “In 1988, scientists and fertility specialists gathered in Italy at the Bellagio Consensus Conference to define the conditions for using lactation amenorrhea as birth control. They established that in order for LAM to be effective three important conditions must be met: 

  1. The infant is less than six months old,
  2. The menstrual cycle is absent, and
  3. The baby is exclusively breastfeeding.”

And since you’re going to ask, YES… exclusive pumping counts under #3.

Important note: The “Lactational Amenorrhea Method” of birth control can provide a certain level of protection, but please note that as soon as you get your period back, you are considered fertile. And even before you get your period back, there is a possibility you could become pregnant, because sometimes women ovulate before they get their first postpartum period. 

However, your period can return at any time, especially if you are nursing or pumping infrequently (like when you are not removing milk overnight or when you begin supplementing.)

Oh crap, there goes my milk supply…

Scenario- Your period DID come back, and there went your milk supply. *facepalm* So… is your milk supply going to come back? Many mommas experience a decrease in supply after their period returns. For some, this dip in supply only happens during menstruation. For others, the dip is more permanent.

Why did my period affect my milk supply? Hormones are powerful, momma…. remember, hormones are the reason you are lactating in the first place, right? They giveth and they can taketh away! When your cycle returns, the increase in estrogen causes a decrease in calcium levels in your blood, which can interfere with milk supply. (Which is a reason you might have been prescribed an estrogen-free birth control option, if that applies to you.)

So… can I bring back my milk supply after getting my period?

There are a few things you can try that have worked for many mommas… no guarantee, but why not give it a try? Deep breath… it’s gonna be ok!

  • Take a calcium-magnesium supplement (This is my go-to advice. Some mommas take it during their period week, some take it every day. Just make sure you get a vitamin with these combined- affects absorption) As always, consult your healthcare provider before starting supplements.
  • Add additional pumping sessions into your schedule.
  • Pump slightly longer, stopping then starting to initiate a second or third let-down, try power-pumping once a day for a week straight in an attempt to boost demand on supply.
  • Galactologues! Foods like oatmeal, flax, brewer’s yeast, and many herbal supplements can increase milk supply. Increase intake of Iron-rich foods, protein and healthy fats.

My period is so much different now…

Did you know that your period might change when it returns after baby? Some mothers have cramping when they didn’t before, fewer PMS symptoms than before, a lighter or heavier flow than before, or irregular periods as their body begins cycling more regularly post-baby. (For some, there is no change. Just don’t be surprised if you do experience a change.)

If you are concerned at all about your period/period symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider.

Ouch! Why does pumping suddenly hurt since my period returned?

Another unpleasant side-effect of the return of your period can be increased sensitivity of your nipples. When hormone levels (estrogen and progesterone) go up, breasts can feel tender. Nursing and pumping can become uncomfortable during mid-to-late cycle. Ease off on the suctions strength of your pump during this time and know that it’s usually temporary discomfort!

Baby seems to be fussy during feeding now.

Another side-effect from the return of your period is that the flavor of your breastmilk may temporarily change, becoming less sweet and slightly saltier. Levels of lactose (sugar) decrease in your milk composition, and levels of sodium chloriade (salt) increase. While many babies don’t notice the change, some may become fussy during feeding and even reject the milk altogether.

If your baby refuses to nurse, protect your supply by pumping in place of nursing until your period is over.
If baby rejects your pumped milk, try mixing it with frozen milk or adding a drop of nonalcoholic vanilla. If you are supplementing with formula, try preparing the formula as directed and mixing it with the breastmilk.


When did your period come back? Did it affect your milk supply? What worked for you?

Top Tips, Uncategorized

Help! Clogged Ducts

Chances are, you’ve heard some conflicting answers regarding clogged ducts lately…

Why all the different answers?

Our knowledge of breast anatomy/”clogged ducts” is continuously expanding, helping lactation professionals find ways to help their clients feel better, faster.

AMB Protocol #36

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine put forth the following protocol regarding Mastitis Spectrum in 2022. LactApp covers it pretty succinctly in their post HERE and HERE. Don’t want to dig into it yourself? I’ll give you the quick’n’dirty version here:

The ABM changed the verbiage from “clogged duct” to “ductile narrowing” to describe the way milk ducts can become inflamed and swell/narrow, not allowing the milk to fully evacuate that area of the breast.

They are NO LONGER recommending:

  • Vigorous and deep massage to the affected area
  • Use of massage tools/vibration directly to the affected area
  • Extra pumping or nursing
  • Applying heat to the area
  • Using castor oil or Epsom salts

They ARE recommending:

  • Nursing on demand
  • Reducing any extra pumping
  • Using anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain/inflammation (like Advil)
  • Icing the area to decrease inflammation
  • Supplemementing with subflower lecithin
  • Adding a probiotic into your diet
  • Light, gentle massage
  • Lymphatic drainage techniques
Taking an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen can reduce swelling and allow milk to flow

(Disclaimer- The updated 2022 clinical guidelines from the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) published in May 2022 now assert that mastitis should be considered “a spectrum of conditions”, ranging from oversupply (hyperlactation) to inflammation, bacterial infection and abscess. The new clinical protocol from ABM outlines several key changes that significantly shift what we thought we knew about the condition, namely that plugged ducts are more accurately described as “ductal narrowing,” that ice and other anti-inflammatory treatments should be used to manage mastitis instead of heat, and that extra pumping and other measures used to increase drain the breast will only hurt, not help.
⚠️*****This advice seems directed at nursing mothers experiencing mastitis, NOT exclusively pumping mothers with incorrectly emptied breasts, and does not account for the additional reasons pumping mothers get clogs. (actually, they advise against pumping- obviously not going to work for exclusively pumping mommas, right?)⚠️Though they changed the verbiage and don’t use “clogged ducts” anymore, I believe that clogs are real and my advice has been proven to work to relieve clogs in my clinical practice.)

Pump Momma Pump’s advice for treating clogged ducts

*My advice is for pumping mothers who have discovered, after a pumping session, that part of the breast has not emptied and has remained hard and full of milk.* This often occurs due to incorrectly sized or off-centered flanges. If this happens frequently, please look into getting sized for a correctly fitting flange and use a quality pump that you respond well to.

So what if you discover a clog?
😖Try to clear it ASAP, as it can develop into mastitis if left untreated
😖I find that a slow squeeze of a manual pump works extremely well, especially if you purposefully off-center the flange toward the clogged area
😖Take an anti-inflammatory medication Like advil
😖Soak the affected breast into a bowl of warm epsom salt water before pumping
😖Pump on all fours, called “dangle pumping”
😖Use vibration between your nipple and the hardened area of the breast before pumping
😖Gently massage the breast away from the nipple toward the chest wall- look up “therapeutic breast massage” on youtube to see examples of this
😖You can try latching baby (or your partner, honestly) to clear the clog

Let’s sum this up with some DOs and DONTs:

👍DO– Apply ice and take an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication.
DO– Soak the breast in warm epsom salt or a warm shower before pumping.
DO PUMP! (Obviously!) I suggest using my advice for unclogging using a manual pump, found in my Manual Pump highlight.

OPTIONAL– Apply gently vibration between the nipple and the clog, but this wouldn’t be my first suggestion. Look up “therapeutic breast massage” and gently do that. Dangle-pump. Latch if you can/want to (baby or partner, honestly)

👎DON’T– Apply heat, vibration, and harsh massage directly to the clogged area of the breast.

💡 MOST IMPORTANTLY– Work with a lactation professional to figure out why you keep getting clogged ducts- could be as easy as a flange-sizing issue!

When to see a doctor

You are free to contact your healthcare provider at any point- open communication about your body and your health is encouraged. PLEASE call your doctor if:

  • You develop a fever (could be Mastitis and your doctor may prescribe antibiotics)
  • Abscess forms and needs care (Symptoms can include pain to the touch, warmth in the affected area, a breast lump, nipple discharge, and fever and flu-like symptoms.)
  • You need help removing a bleb on the tip of your nipple
  • The clog remains unressolved for multiple days (The doctor may be able to relieve it with therapeutic ultrasound)

Prevention is so important!

I have found, in my own clinical practice, that exclusive pumping mommas usually develop clogs for the following reasons (some of which may be unique to pumping mommas as opposed to nursing mommas)

  • Flanges that are too large
  • Flanges that become off-centered while pumping
  • Pump that inadequately empties the breast
  • Not replacing your valves regularly, which reduces suction power of pump
  • Skipped pumping sessions (milk left in the breast for much longer than you are used to)
  • Prolonged pressure on the breast (sleeping on your side/stomach, extra tight underwire bras)

Be sure to follow Pump Momma Pump on Instagram for education, motivation, and support! (And more great tips like these!)


The Perfect Pumping Room

What would happen if you were asked to redesign the pumping room at your workplace? What would you include? What if there were literally no limit to your budget? In today’s post, I am going to share my own experience redesigning two pumping rooms at my workplace and share ideas gleaned from my Instagram mommas over at @Pump_Momma_Pump for their dream pumping rooms!

Mother’s Room Redesign #1

Being the pumping aficionado in my place of employment, I was given the opportunity to redesign the “Mother’s Room” in two of our buildings. Here’s my first project, room number 1 (shown below.) The space is very small but accommodating (given that some people do not even have a dedicated space to pump!) I warmed it up with a pale sea-salt pink wall color, and lightly feminine décor. It was a pretty simple project and I was so happy with the little space I made for my mommas!

A warm, soothing environment is ideal for breast-pumping. A calm body will allow faster flow of oxytocin, which triggers your letdown reflex! This room was chilly in both temperature and color before the makeover, and the chair reclined too much! Now mothers can settle in, warm up with a woven blanket, and support their upper back with a throw pillow. I might add a space heater, come to think of it…

Mother’s Room Design #2

This year, our company purchased a new building and converted one office into a “Wellness Room.” While I have mixed feelings about the ambiguous title of the room, I am thrilled at the opportunity to design another space for my fellow pumping mommas!
I was absolutely thrilled to find that IT HAS A SINK! Since I won’t be having anymore children, past-me is super jealous of the cush space I am going to create for future mommas, for sure.

Here’s a BEFORE picture of the room. I’ll add an AFTER photo when it’s complete! Can you tell I’m excited about the sink?

Here’s the color I chose for our new serene space:

The finished room! I love it so!

Want to know what I ordered for the room? Check out the first checklist, below. THANK YOU to all the mommas who helped me create this awesome list!

Dream Pumping Room Checklist

After surveying hundreds of mothers in our online community, I have taken their dream pumping room ideas and distilled it down into the following list, roughly in order of importance: (Links are provided as examples, many of which I am using in the design of our new Wellness Room)

The Sky’s the Limit!

What if there really were no limit to your budget? What would you include in your dream pumping space? (Add it in the comments!) Mommas had FUN with this one, let me tell you! Here is what they came up with:

  • Massage chair
  • Ottoman/Footstool
  • Foot massager
  • Water cooler
  • Full-size fridge
  • Snack cart
  • Vending machine
  • Phone chargers
  • Space heater
  • Hospital grade pump
  • Free milk storage bags
  • Drying Rack and bottle brushes
  • Little basket of toiletries like they have at weddings
  • Lockers
  • Magazines
  • Boobie wallpaper (I wish!)
  • Salt lamp/Happy light
  • Plants
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Noise machine
  • Microwave
  • Keurig/coffee maker
  • Throw rug
  • Sterilizer
  • TV
  • Wifi
  • Fish tank (This one cracked me up- how cool would that be?)
  • Lava lamp (Also cracked me up!)

What if my “Mother’s Room” is a storage closet?

Image from, originally from scarymommy

Many mommas are given legally-appropriate space to pump (Meaning a private space that is not a bathroom) but it’s far from attractive or comfortable. Ugh, first of all let me say I feel for you, momma. I know that sucks. Consider having a conversation with your employer or HR about making the space a bit more comfortable or hygienic, in whatever way they can. Are they unable to unwilling? Here are some suggestions:

  • Bring a small mat or tea towel as a clean surface for all pumping parts and Clorox wipes/hand sanitizer to wipe down a plastic chair or anything in your immediate space that might need refreshing!
  • No specific fridge or sink provided for breastmilk? Store your milk and pump parts in a cooler with an ice brick. Although the CDC does not recommend it, you might need to do the “fridge hack” between pump sessions if you do not have an access to a clean sink. (Pour your freshly pumped milk into a clean bottle or bag, reattach pumped-in bottles to flanges, wipe flanges out, and store in cooler until next session)
  • Is the area loud or distracting? Consider using earbuds/headphones to listen to calming music or a podcast to tune out and get into a great headspace for pumping. Watch something on your phone so you’re not staring at a stack of file folders or cleaning supplies.
  • Are you able to leave anything in that space for added comfort, like a different chair or throw blanket? If not, consider packing a small fleece blanket in your pump bag.
  • In a stinky space? Bring scented hand lotion to use! You’ll be practicing self-care AND making your environment smell lovely!
  • Does someone keep opening the door? Ask your HR rep if they can install a slide lock on the INSIDE of the room for your privacy, or find another way to block entry. Remember, you are LEGALLY protected from intrusion by the public (See more about your legal rights below!)

What if we don’t have space to pump at work?

Photo: Workin’ Moms- Netflix

With the help of our Director of Human Resources, I created this letter to be copied and modified for use at your workplace- LINK HERE. You will be prompted to make a copy, and from there you should be able to edit the document as you see fit. If possible, simply ask your employer about a space to pump. If the company has a nice, welcoming culture, I think just going to someone and talking is a good first step…if that does not work and/or it’s not a warm and fuzzy feel, then this letter is perfectly fine and to-the-point. Remember, it is your RIGHT to pump at work- be confident and assertive in expressing those rights. For more on your legal right to pump at work, click HERE.


Get down with your “Let Down”

Let-down: Your “let-down” is your milk ejection reflex. Nipple stimulation signals your body to produce oxytocin to signal to your aveoli [milk making cells] to release milk down into your ducts and out your nipple. Many women feel tingly or even pain during this, lasting briefly. You may also feel sudden fullness or leaking. If you don’t feel it, you may just see milk beginning to come out ideally in the first 2 min of pumping.

Some mommas can turn on their breast pump and experience a let down nearly instantly. Other women have to work for it. Why isn’t it always automatic? What factors could inhibit your letdown?

  • STRESS and anxiety (Blame it on your hormones cortisol and adrenaline!) This is why you may experience a quick letdown at home but maybe not at work
  • CAFFEINE and alcohol can inhibit your milk ejection reflex
  • COLD. Yup, being too cold can stress your body out and you might not be able to relax
  • PAIN. Pain also causes stress which inhibits your letdown
  • WEAK SUCTION- Make sure you replaced your valves/membranes! (Exclusive pumpers should change these monthly, occasional pumpers every 3 months)
  • INCORRECT PUMP MODE- Start with quick cycle, low vacuum. (start on letdown/massage/bacon mode- sometimes this looks like a button with wavy bacon lines, or drops)
  • NERVE DAMAGE from breast surgery


PHYSICAL suggestions to help your milk to let down:
⭐️ Warm, moist heat before pumping (or a warm shower!) Try warming your flanges or using those boobie heating packs before or during pumping
⭐️ Get comfortable! Support your upper back with a pillow. Add a blanket on your lap.
⭐️ Sip on a warm beverage and getting calm and cozy
⭐️Stand up, lean over and shake your breasts together (seriously!)
⭐️Massage each breast with a circular motion
⭐️ Nipple simulation! Gently roll your nipples between your thumb and forefinger (avoid this if your nipples are sore)

PSYCHOLOGICAL methods to help your milk let down:
👉Look at and touch your baby while pumping
👉Have a picture of your baby to look at while you pump if you are separated
👉Watch and listen to a video clip of your baby crying on your phone
👉 Have a t-shirt or something your baby has worn to have baby’s scent nearby
👉 Be in a warm, quiet, private environment. Have a door that locks and put a sign on the door.
Take some slow, deep, relaxing breaths. Try to separate yourself and thoughts from your work environment, thinking about your baby instead.
👉 Think positive thoughts: visualize milk flowing from your breasts or a dam bursting and a huge amount of water rushing down a narrow canyon
👉Play relaxing music
Watch something on TV or read a book or magazine if being distracted and not concentrating on pumping works better for you

I love that Sarah Wells bags have a pocket for a baby picture!
Save using code PUMPMOMMAPUMP15 Link HERE


Did you know that you can CONDITION your body to experience a letdown? (Kind of like Pavlov’s dogs salivating every time they heard a bell!)
Say you light the same candle, drink the same tea, look at the same video of your baby, or listen to the same music every single time you begin to pump… your body may become conditioned to experience a letdown next time you drink that tea or smell that candle…. isn’t that cool? That’s why you might experience a letdown when you hear someone else’s baby cry in the grocery store (or something like that!) Bodies are so stinkin fascinating!


Who says you’re “just” a Mom?

Motherhood can seem all-consuming. How is it possible to be the best mom you can be, and still hold onto who you were before baby? Better yet, instead of ‘holding onto’ your past self, how can you evolve as a woman and mother and grow into this new role with grace and confidence?

Read how the following mommas navigated their transition into motherhood:

Renee- Pennsylvania

Looking back to when I felt most adrift, after my first child was born, I wish I had given myself more grace for ‘not feeling like myself’. The feeling of losing myself to the care of another person, of not knowing who this strange exhausted zombie was, scared me. I didn’t know if I’d ever feel ‘normal’ again. When I think about it now, I realize just how normal that feeling is. My body, hormones, schedules, sleep patterns – every normal thing in my life changed, so of course I wasn’t going to feel like myself! I think every mom, stay at home or not, feels like they are a different person for a time, and that’s okay. You will find yourself again, and you’ll like who you’re becoming again. 

One thing that helps me maintain a sense of identity is reconnecting with things that have always been a part of me. The things I loved as a child, or the things I discovered as a teenager, all remind me of who I am and where I come from. I have always loved nature, and so I try to spend time outside both alone and with my kids. I love watching and listening to the things I enjoyed in high school. Those things help me stay grounded, and keep me from fixating on how I imagined myself at this stage of life. I don’t have to look or act like any other mom than the one that I’m specifically designed and called to be. I’m a mom, and I’m also a mom who loves nature, watches cringey dramas, and listens to emo music. Reconnecting with those interests helps me feel like me, and also guides me as I find new interests and introduce my kids to things they can love too. 

Danielle- Georgia

  Being a mother and maintaining oneself apart from motherhood is one of the greatest challenges I have faced. It took me a couple of years into it to even feel brave enough to leave my child behind to make a grocery run without her. One child turned into two, and finally I slowly stopped putting myself dead last. I realized that prioritizing my mental health was not just an act of love for myself, but for my children too. Getting there however, was anything but easy. 
    I’m a younger mother still in my mid-twenties, so having an authentic sense of self aside from motherhood has been somewhat of a foreign concept for me. Battling existing mental health issues, tacking on postpartum depression, and having two children within two years was a whirlwind of survival mode. But through therapy, time apart from my kids spent with friends, and alone time to just really exist as someone other than “mom” for a bit – I’ve found pieces of myself along the way. 
    At times that alone time looked like taking my first vacation alone with some friends, and not feeling guilty at all that I left my children behind for a few days with my husband. At times it looks like hiding out in my room watching TV and eating snacks on a bad mental health day while my husband takes over. And a lot of times, it looks like me kissing the kids goodbye to run some errands in peace. I have learned that I need to have time alone to stay “me,” and I’ve learned to not feel ashamed because of it. Now I know that I’m a loving mother, AND a billion other things. We are all happier for it, too.

Molly- Minnesota

I grew up watching love stories unfold through the TV — the tale of torn hearts, the trials to get back to one another and many others in-between. The tugging and pulling of relationships that I watched then was actually mirroring how my heart felt as a working mom, especially in those first few months. A torn heart trying to get back to familiarity, fulfillment and peace.

In one light, I was a new mom and in the other I was a career person — not to mention the many other hats worn as a person in general. It was a race between worlds and one where I couldn’t see the finish line — identity crisis might be the more formal term. It’s wasn’t easy and it wasn’t always clear; I asked myself many times if I was making the right choice in returning to work at 12 weeks postpartum.

But peace came.

Around 6 months of age with both of my babies, I finally hit that place of solitude I was begging for — that place where you know you’re where you’re meant to be. Being a mother with a career outside of the home is the place for me. Yes, it has come with hardship, but it also comes with empowerment, trust and some of the best relationships.

I have learned how to live a life not trying to “balance” it all but instead flow with the ever changing patterns. I have learned that help is a good thing and support is essential. I have learned who I am as a person and not by just one defined role.

Erica- New Jersey

Becoming a mother added real complexity to my career and personal life but it didn’t in anyway take away from my passion, drive or ability. In fact, motherhood has made me the leader I am today in more ways than one and for that I am eternally grateful.

I think losing ourselves, to an extent, is a requirement to be a good mother. Adding an entire new human being without changing who we are would be impossible. Becoming a completely different person doesn’t seem healthy, but letting your child’s existence affect yours? Normal. In my experience, continuing to try to do everything while being a mom was more of my natural tendency than giving up all of myself for the kids. I had to think and work hard to embrace the mom role. Here are two ways that I have tried to conquer my natural selfishness while maintaining The Essence of Erica:

Learning how to improve my parenting by reading books, listening to podcasts and taking courses-understanding what they heck these kids are doing and why makes me feel more capable. I like to work hard, be capable and see improvement, so my unofficial Continuing Education feels true to myself and good for my kids. Repeatedly hearing that other mothers experienced similar difficulties was an added bonus.

I found ways to pursue my interests, but sometimes altering them to include or fit kids. I enjoy the occasional craft. Sewing tiny outfits for beloved stuffed animals or opening the craft drawer and producing necklace making supplies delight my children and let me exercise that creative muscle. Hosting Cold Treat Tuesday every week this summer is giving me a chance to try new dessert recipes and everybody is glad to be a taste tester.

If you are also a mother who doesn’t want to let all of her pre-kids life fall away and wants to invite her kids into her world, perhaps a suggestion of mine can help.

Melissa- Pennsylvania

And lastly, you’ll hear from me:

I always wanted to be a mom, but several years before I became a mother I had a moment of panic. Choosing motherhood seemed so permanent. I liked change. I like reinventing myself and trying and learning new things, new relationships, new hobbies, options. I didn’t want to trade that in for a permanent role as “mom” for the rest of my life… did I? It seemed boring. My cousin, a mother of multiple children, reassured me that there is nothing “boring” about motherhood and that now you get to grow as a woman AND watch your kids grow and change and constantly get interested in new things.

After having children, I quickly learned how right she was. This motherhood business isn’t boring, and there’s nothing but constant change, challenge, and growth. I can pursue my career(s), my hobbies, and relationships with friends and family that evolve along with me. I can watch my kids grow and become unique humans with their own personalities and interests, somehow both because of, and despite, my own influences on them.

I don’t want to stay who I was before I became a mother. I worked hard to be the woman I am right now, and I’m still working on myself. I like who I am becoming, more and more every day. I don’t want to be defined by my role as a mother, but I want that role to be a beautiful facet of who I am, along with all of other beautiful facets of my life.

Healthy Mom, Uncategorized

Who says you can’t work out while breastfeeding?

Do what makes you feed good.

Dang did I feel like a couch troll after giving birth.

No seriously, I did. Couch. Troll. I went from running every single morning in cute workout clothes to becoming one with my couch and not showering for 4 days. Not only had I been swollen and uncomfortable during pregnancy, and therefore not able to do all those cute prenatal workout videos I bookmarked on YouTube, but both of my babies blasted out of my tiny frame leaving me in need of stitches and therefore much more couch time. Gone were my carefree running at sunrise days. Gone was my gym membership. Gone were my abs. Sigh. Why did I even buy that new pair of running shoes? How could I even begin running again when my leaky boobs hurt and I failed my “free to resume normal activities” 6 week check-up? Well, I couldn’t. Not yet.

I had to find new ways to move. I couldn’t just give it up. Moving my body feels good. If you’re a runner, you know that high you get after a good run. That therapeutic release of energy. That cadence of your feet on the pavement or the path you run on daily.

For the record I advocate for BOTH working out AND therapy! Life savers, both of them.

When you’re breastfeeding, though… running doesn’t feel good. Not when your breasts have tripled in size and your nipples are sore… nope. So I had to find something that felt good. Walking, and then eventually lightly jogging with my stroller would have to do. Hey, at least getting out there again made me feel like me. I began doing yoga, too… and eventually that felt good, too. I even got back into cute workout clothes, (but this time they were breastfeeding friendly!) See, you have to do (and wear) what makes you feel like YOU. You were someone before baby, and that someone matters.

Click HERE to check out Love&Fit Shop. Use code PUMPMOMMA to save!

Diet vs. Diet

So why is there this notion you can’t work out while breastfeeding?

Well, one reason is that breastfeeding is not the time to diet. Many women have this notion that they need to immediately return tot he size they were pre-baby and consider dieting and exercise to get that body back. I’m not here to tell you you can’t work for the body you want. I want you to WANT the body you have… but listen, I get being uncomfortable in a size (or multiple sizes) larger than you’re used to being. It’s okay to want to work for that body… but now might not be the time to “work” for it the way you are used to.

You see, weight loss through exercise and diet is usually about caloric deficit- burning more calories than you’re consuming, and therefore “burning” off your fat. The thing is, breastfeeding mommas need MORE calories, not less, to produce a healthy milk supply. Up to 500 more a day! (Yes, being in caloric deficit can decrease your milk supply. womp womp.)

Does that mean you should go binge on cheeseburgers and milkshakes every day? No. (I mean, you CAN… you do you…) You can still watch what you eat without purposefully losing weight. Eating a healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to “Diet” with a capital D. Instead, make sure you’re eating a diet rich in good fats and proteins. If you DO work out, grab a protein bar or add some protein powder into a smoothie (or milkshake!) in addition to your daily meals. Make up for any lost calories, the healthy way.

Click HERE to check out Cake Maternity. Use code PMP15 to save!

Low impact, high comfort

There are a few reasons I traded in my running shoes for a yoga mat.

Cardio burns calories, and we just talked about those precious calories we need to conserve (and even add!) while breastfeeding. So that’s one reason. The other reason is that running can HURT when you’re breastfeeding, as can high intensity, high impact workouts. If your doctor clears you to begin working out, ask them what kind of workouts they suggest, not only to care for your postpartum body, but also taking breastfeeding into consideration.

Try something new! I never imagined I’d like yoga. I thought it’s what hippies and suburban moms did. (Oh wait, I am a suburban mom. *Eye roll*) You might find a new way to move your body that is low impact, high comfort. Your workout routine might not look like it did before. And that’s OKAY! Yoga also brought some quiet into my life. Some time to put down my phone and get centered. It was good for my mental AND physical health!

SUPPORT THE LADIES! Select a breastfeeding-friendly sports bra that provides support without being uncomfortably tight and restricting. My favorites are listed in each of these images. Pump or nurse BEFORE working out, for maximum comfort. If you feel any pain while working out (like I did while running), select a lower-impact activity.

Click HERE to check out Kindred Bravely! 20% off your first order.

Hydrate to lactate!

Drinking like a camel will not help you produce milk like a cow.

Weird analogy? Sorry bout that… was trying to go with the animal theme. It’s true…. drinking an EXCESS of water will not instantly give you more milk. BUT… most of us go around dehydrated and you’d be surprised what being dehydrated can do to your milk supply! (If you know, you know!)

If you’re breastfeeding and working out, PLEASE make an effort to stay hydrated! Take a water bottle with you everywhere! Use a water enhancer or drink an electrolyte drink to recover! This will not only keep headaches and fatigue at bay, it’ll support your milk supply.

Check out my favorite water enhancer Cure Hydration HERE. Use code HYDRATE2LACTATE to save!

Knowing what you need is Self-Care

Breastfeeding mothers give SO MUCH of themselves to their families. It’s important to take care of your OWN needs as well, momma! Knowing what you need is part of self-care. Not everyone likes bubble baths or quiet reading or shopping for new shoes! Really tuning in to what makes you happy, what calms you or invigorates you, what feeds your soul… That’s the idea here! For example, I NEED sunshine, especially in the winter!

There’s a sunny spot in the corner of my gym and I make it a point to go workout in that exact spot so not only am I filling my need for fitness/physical exertion, but also soaking in the rays while doing so!

Knowing what you need can take time. Tune in to your body and your mind. Notice the small changes you can make throughout your day to make yourself happier.

Share YOUR experience working out while
breastfeeding in the comments below!