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8 Tips Moms Use to Save Time When Pumping Milk

Mom working on computer to save time when pumping milk.

Regardless of why you choose to pump, at one time or another, you’re likely to say that pumping is too time consuming. Here are 8 ways moms can save time when pumping.

Lactating moms often think they need the biggest, baddest pump on the market. Not so. In a previous post, I went over some “rules” for finding the best breast pump for you. Find the right pump for your circumstances.

Not everyone needs all that power and all those bells and whistles. Sometimes, using a small hand pump, which requires no set-up and little clean-up, does a great job.  

Other mothers need the big pump, no doubt. And using a double set-up (commonly called “double-pumping”) cuts the pumping time in half. Absolutely.

Here’s the moral of the story: Try to do any task with the wrong tool, and you’re likely to lose time and get frustrated.

1. Don’t bother pumping! Use hand expression

Wait! Give me a chance to convince you before you say no!

When I worked in labor/delivery, I went go to the locker room with a nurse who could hand express 3 to 3 ½ ounces of her milk in the time it took for me to close the door of the stall, pull down my panty hose, pee my 600 cc, wipe, pull my pantyhose back up, and walk over to the sink. Before you say, “TMI, Marie,” I’m just trying to give you some perspective for how little time it takes to express milk by hand if you’ve mastered the technique.

2. Use a hands-free device

Perhaps time is a real issue, or you need to pump in an environment where you need use of your hands for something else.

There are hands-free pumping bras like the Simple Wishes bra so you can work on other tasks while you pump, or even just relax.

Maybe you don’t need to be completely hands-free but you need to be in a more relaxed position. Pumpin Pal angled flanges allow you to sit back.

Warming the flange of the pump also helps to decrease the time to remove milk.

3. Delay the cleaning phase; buy two kits

Pumping is one activity. Setting up the pump and doing the cleaning afterwards must be figured into the equation of “how long” it takes.

Some mothers save time when pumping by simply tossing the kit into a plastic bag and washing it later. Then, they use a clean one for the next pumping session.

Milk can stay at room temperature for at least 3 hours. Nonetheless, I’m not sure if I’m keen on this idea unless you can store that milky kit in the refrigerator in the meanwhile.

If you have any evidence-based information on this, or want to challenge my suggestion, feel free! I’m all ears!  But I’m just telling you, many moms do this.

4. Be packed and ready

Maximize your “pumping time” by being packed and ready to go. The more you prepare ahead of time, the more time you’ll have to actually pump.

5. Develop speed to assemble, disassemble, and clean

Especially for mothers who are just now returning to the workplace, this is important.

Be familiar with your pump parts and know how to assemble, disassemble, and clean. The more comfortable you are with assembling and disassembling, the more efficient you’ll be.

6. Set up ahead of time

Have your pump set up as much as possible ahead of time. Admittedly, I’ve always been in an environment that made that easy (hospital or office) but it may not be possible for everyone.

7. Bring “finger food” for lunch

If you plan on pumping during lunch, bring “finger food” like sandwiches or pitas or anything that you can manage in one hand.

8. Look at your daily calendar

You don’t need to be on a schedule but look to see what lies ahead in your day. If you know you’ll be in a meeting or otherwise unavailable, pump ahead of time. Don’t let yourself get too uncomfortable.

How have you found ways to save time when pumping? Share your helpful tips in the comments below!

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