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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!)