in Parenting

Pumping at work: Equipment & tips

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pumping-at-work

As of publishing this post, I have been breastfeeding my son for exactly 1 year, 6 months, and 16 days…which means I have been pumping at work for more than a year now.

Breastfeeding, especially when you’re a working mom, is not that easy. So in the hopes of helping other moms, here are my breastfeeding essentials that helped me deliver the best milk to my little boy:

Pumping equipment (6)

Medela Harmony Manual breast pump. Medela is one of the known brands when it comes to breast pumps. At first I thought it was just a brand thing, so I was not very particular with my pump at first. I initially had a My First Years manual breast pump, but the suction was not strong enough that I barely had any stash. I am so happy that we bought this, I consider it the BEST investment in my nursing mom career. We bought this pump at Mothercare Glorietta for Php 3,300.

This pump is a great fit for my schedule as it’s easy to assemble and disassemble. It is portable, which means I can really pump anywhere (even without a socket). Also, the letdowns are faster (compared to my first pump) so I can finish each session in lesser time. Even if I am using a manual pump, I can actually finish each pumping session for 10 – 15 minutes.

The parts are pretty sturdy, except for the membrane (the white spherical rubber). I tore mine twice while I was dismantling my pump – but don’t you worry, they have spares available at either Rustan’s Department Store or Mothercare.

Medela products can be bought at the Medela House at Quezon City. These are also available at Mothercare and Rustan’s. You may also avail other breastpumps at Babymama, which is known as the cheapest online source for electric pumps.

Pumping equipment (5)

Mom & Baby milk bottles. I say this with conviction: it is more practical to use storage bottles rather then milk bags if the milk would be consumed in the next 3 days. As milk bags are not reusable, they tend to be more expensive in the long run if they are only to be used for a short duration. It is also easier to pour in milk coming from a bottle than a non-sturdy plastic bag. My son has been cupfeeding since I started working, so the ease of pouring is a big factor for us.

My strategy: To ensure that my son gets the most nutrients, I give him the freshest milk available (most recently pumped). At the end of the day, whatever that is left unconsumed would be transferred to milk storage bags, which are placed in the freezer for our stash (see milk shelf life below).

Mom and Baby milk bottles are available at Baby Company at SM stores for Php 200 for 4 bottles. This is the cheapest set that I have seen, as the next brand (Looney Tunes) sells for Php 220.

The same brand (Mom and Baby) also carries the cheapest milk bags in the market at Php 250 for 25 pieces. I heard comments that their milk bags are thinner, but I have been using it for more than a year now and I have not encountered any issues with it.

Pumping equipment (1)

Philips Avent Comfort Breast Shell Set. I bought this at Baby Company , SM Makati for Php 950 for 2 sets (2 pairs per set). The one in the picture is used to collect excess milk (remember the uncontrollable letdowns? There’s a tool to catch that!). The other set (ventilated) is used for protecting sore nipples to keep it from rubbing on your clothes. This is actually optional, as you can always opt to catch excess milk with a spare bottle…or not. If you’re using a double electric pump, then there is no need for this.

My strategy: Since I have regulated my supply prior to returning to work, my only challenge would be the letdowns during the pumping sessions itself. To prevent my breast pads from soaking, I use one of the collection shells on one side while I pump the other. I only bring 1 of the collection shells with me as I obviously need only one. I haven’t used the ventilated ones to date as I haven’t suffered from sore nipples ever since we have corrected my son’s latch.

Other brands that offer similar products are Dr. Brown’s and Milkies. Dr. Brown’s breast shells are available at Baby Company at SM stores for Php 700, while Milkies Milk Saver can be bought from Babymama online at Php 1,350.

Pumping equipment (4)

Plastic container. Any container would do, but it would be great if it would be airtight for hygienic purposes. I put all of my pump parts and breast shells in this container. If you have a refrigerator in your workplace, you can opt not to sterilize your pump parts after every use by putting them in a sealed container and refrigerating them – the cold temperature should prevent the milk from spoiling. Make sure though to sterilize everything when you get home.

A ziplock would work fine as well, but I prefer plastic containers as it is reusable and more durable.

Pumping equipment (3)

Insulated bag. I got this particular bag for free back in 2014 at Baby Company. Any insulated bag would do, as long as they keep the temperature cool while you are in transit.

Pumping equipment (2)

Ice packs. To make sure that the milk doesn’t spoil in your transit, pack them beside your ice substitutes. This is me – packed and ready to go!

The blue Coleman chillers (ice substitute) were bought at Duty Free, so I’m not sure how it costs. Babymama also offers similar products: Reusable Gel ice pack for only Php 25 and an Antibacterial Reusable Nano Silver Gel ice pack for only Php 50.

Breast milk shelf life

*To prolong its shelf life, do not mix pumped milk with different temperatures. Make sure they are both at the same temperature if you are planning to mix them.

*If the milk will be consumed within the next 3 days, it is better to place it in the refrigerator so you would not need to thaw. This would have a shelf life of 5 -7 days (depending on the temperature of your refrigerator).

*Pumped milk placed in the freezer, then thawed in a refrigerator only has a shelf life of 24 hours.

*Milk placed in the freezer can last for 2 weeks in a 1-door refrigerator, and 3-6 months in a refrigerator with a different freezer door.

Pumping equipment (7)

Additional tips:

– If you are away from your baby, pump every 2-3 hours to maintain your supply.

– Relax to encourage letdown. I usually browse my son’s pictures and videos when pumping. Also, stop watching the bottle. Less watching means less worries. Less worries means more output.

– Do not wear tight clothing that may inhibit milk flow

– Surround yourself with a strong support group. Educate your friends and family members and align them with your goals in breastfeeding your child.

Breastfeeding is not always a walk in the park, but with the right knowledge, equipment, and support, I was able to make it this far…and I’m not stopping anytime soon, unless my son wants to. 

Do you have other breastfeeding tips that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments.

Enjoy life. Cheers!

~Nina

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25 Comments

  1. mumwrites (@vixquips)

    wow! kudos to you mummy! i struggled at breastfeeding that is why i really admire those mums who managed to breastfeed their children longer. it does pay to have reliable support system + equipment to make breastfeeding a success, right? something i will take note of the next time i get pregnant! 🙂

    04 . Mar . 2016
    • ninasogue

      Thanks @vixquips! Yes, the support system was a big factor. I guess moms of today have it easier because there are more advocates, workshops, etc than before. So, I’m paying it forward by helping as much as I can 🙂

      04 . Mar . 2016
  2. Maan Laxa

    Wow, go go go! I was a breastfeeding mum, too (I breastfed my son for 3 years), and I know pumping is one amazing feat. You’re doing great!

    01 . Mar . 2016
    • ninasogue

      Thanks maan! I hope I can breastfeed him that long too. 🙂

      01 . Mar . 2016
  3. Mommy Levy

    good job mommy! I also did this when I was still working, glad we have a ref at the office and our house was just near my office.

    29 . Feb . 2016
    • ninasogue

      We’re lucky too to have a nursing room in the office. I made it this long thanks to their support as well 🙂

      29 . Feb . 2016
  4. Lique Dimayuga

    Nice! I used to pump in the office too, dala dala ko pa yung medela double electric breast pump ko na backpack. A bit bulky, but since backpack sya, it helped a lot sa commuting 🙂 I have evenflo milk bottles as extra bottles, they also fit the medela pumps kaya pwede direct na dun mag pump 🙂

    29 . Feb . 2016
    • ninasogue

      I would have loved to have an electric pump, but we were just starting so dapat budget talaga 🙁 This was the cheapest one based on my research, and I’m super happy that it is very effective.

      29 . Feb . 2016
  5. Cheanne

    I used the same pump! Towards the end of my pumping days though, the small rubber band on the handle broke and I haven’t replaced it since. I’m glad my pumping days are over. Haha! Though my youngest still latches on me but only during the night. Kudos to you for pumping at work for so long! 🙂

    29 . Feb . 2016
    • ninasogue

      I’m looking forward to being free from pumping sessions too, but the thought of my son weaning makes me sad sometimes. Mas attached yata ako. Haha!

      29 . Feb . 2016
  6. celin mendoza

    We have the same breast pump and that’s a great lactation kit! I am so thankful that we had a lactation room in our office. Keep it up Mommy!

    29 . Feb . 2016
    • ninasogue

      Medela is really a good brand, right? Dati akala ko branding lang. Effective pala talaga. Buying this was a very good choice! I’m so satisfied, I’m thinking of making a review post 😛

      29 . Feb . 2016
  7. Mamanee San Luis

    That’s an awesome breast pumping kit, definitely better than what I had back then.

    28 . Feb . 2016
    • ninasogue

      Some of the items were tips from fellow moms. The breast shell was a very good discovery. I never thought those existed until I heard from a fellow mom!

      29 . Feb . 2016
  8. rjdancel629

    Hands down on your commitment to breastfeed and pump as needed 🙂 If my breasts only produced more milk, I would have done the same thing! 🙁

    28 . Feb . 2016
    • ninasogue

      My number 1 motivation is the health benefits. Dati, goal ko for a few months lang. But I saw the effect on my son so I continued. Also, nakaka-motivate din tignan ang price ng formula milk. Haha!

      29 . Feb . 2016
  9. Mommy Queenelizabeth

    Great tips for breastpumping… I’ve never experienced this during my kids early years. But if given another baby, surely i will do the same and will take note of these helpful tips.. Everything for our babies, mommies will do! ☺️

    26 . Feb . 2016
    • ninasogue

      Agree! Actually, some say that it’s easier to breastfeed now compared to before because of advocates and new tools to help. LIke, they did not have nursing cover before, so it was harder and was really tagged as shameful. I guess we were just lucky din, my son was born on Breastfeeding Awareness month so all breastfeeding items and seminars were held before he was born.

      29 . Feb . 2016
  10. Nostalgic Momma

    This will really be helpful specially to the moms who are about to go back to work after maternity leave is over. When it was my time to go back to work after giving birth, aside from the separation anxiety, one of my struggles was that I have to pump every 2-3 hours specially that I don’t have much milk stash in the fridge. Isang kahig, isang tuka kami – ika nga ng iba ring mommies. I salute you for nursing you little on for more than a year now! Sana ako rin. Let’ keep pumping (~at work! ^^ ).

    26 . Feb . 2016
    • ninasogue

      I hope that I would really help others. I used to struggle too, same as you. Praning every time kaka-bilang kung ilang ounce. Thankfully, we got the hang of it so nakagawa narin ng sariling strategy. Inspiring din kasi ung other moms sa office, their lo’s are older than my son but they’re stil nursing. I actually got some of the tips from them. 🙂

      29 . Feb . 2016
  11. msbolin

    Wow! One year and six months. I’m also breastfeeding my six-month old baby and I wish to continue until he wants too Din. Your tips are really very helpful. Thank you. Just the other day, I bought a pump as I fear my son would bite me when he starts teething Na. I’ve heard so much about medela but preferred other brand as I can’t find one other than in parenting emporium. I just hope what I bought will perform din. And thanks for the breast shell tip! Wasn’t awAre of that.

    26 . Feb . 2016
    • ninasogue

      I was super scared of teething din, until I read tips online on how to deal with it. May mga moments parin na nakagat ako, but thankfully not painful enough to make me stop. Mas masakit parin nung mali ung latch niya. Not sure what brand you bought, but as long as the fit is right, it should generally work. I think there are sizes available, depending on the brand 🙂

      29 . Feb . 2016
      • msbolin

        Tried using the new pump. It’s working naman. Im starting to build his own milk stash. Ihihi. Kaso I should have bought medela nga siguro dahil feeling Ko up to maximum level sya magperform. With my new pump, parang ang tagal maka collect or I’m just being too impatient. Nway, I should pump more often and regularly siguro. Thanks.

        29 . Feb . 2016
        • ninasogue

          I’m happy that your pump is working for you. Minsan hiyangan din kasi siya. Relax and just do it often para masanay ka. Or you can also search on hand expression. If done right, it’s better than using a pump 🙂 Good luck on building your stash!

          01 . Mar . 2016
          • msbolin

            Thanks. I would love to learn hand expression nga. Been reading a lot about it. Thanks again.

            01 . Mar . 2016

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