Liquid Gold: Tools to maximize how you pump, store and feed every drop of expressed milk

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Pumping and feeding can be really stressful! Here are some tips to help ease your journey:

Know your rights

The Affordable Care Act (2010) requires most health insurance plans to cover the cost of a breast pump as part of women’s preventative health services.  Call your insurance early on in your pregnancy to learn which pumps it covers.  Mine (BCBS) told me that it covers one pump per pregnancy and that I could order it up to six weeks in advance of my due date.  While you have them on the phone, also ask whether lactation consultation visits are covered.  

Which pump is right for you?

  • I polled a lot of moms and found that the general consensus is that the Medela Pump in Style Adavnced is the best personal pump for most people. 

  • If you have production issues, you may want to rent (or see if your insurance will cover) a hospital grade pump such as the Medela Symphony pump

What other supplies will you need?

Pumping Bra 

For washing and sterilizing pump parts, bottles and nipples:

  • Medela Quick Clean Breast Milk Removal Soap  

  • Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags for sterilizing (I'm so glad that I bought these instead of a massive sterilizer)

  • After the first month I stopped hand washing and just put everything in the dishwasher with Dapple Dishwasher Pods

  • I have the OXO tot dishwasher basket and it works perfectly for me (see below, the Kiinde nipples fit perfectly in the pacifier slots)
  • Once you are ready to wash pump parts in the dishwasher, you need a mesh bag to wash the pump membranes in.  
  • A drying rack.  I like the OXO Good Grips Dish Rack.  It is simple but good and dishwasher safe.  This one has grey tips.  They produced the same thing  with green or orange tips and a little bin and market it as a bottle drying rack.  I much prefer the grey.
  • I have this grey dish mat for overflow. It is really inexpensive, folds up when not in use and is machine washable.  I have four of it - one for dishes, one on the baby dresser/changing table (under the wipes dispenser and tray with all the baby creams just in case something spills), and one under each humidifier to protect my hardwood floors.  

Nipple cream / balm

A storage and feeding system

You could store and feed directly into Medela bottles, but they will take up a lot of space in your refrigerator and freezer and I can think of only one friend whose baby took well to the nipples.

I love the Kiinde Twist Breastmilk Storage and Feeding System (it may be my favorite baby product).  

  • Here is why:
    • It allows you to pump directly into twist top pouches, store expressed milk in those pouches and then feed from those pouches with their nipple.  

    • There is so little to wash.  
    • The nipple is amazing.  S’s latch improved dramatically after feeding from the Kiinde bottle once (the nipple doesn’t work unless the baby has a deep massaging latch, which is what they are supposed to have when they nurse).  But it did take him 5 minutes to figure out how to get it going, so be patient.
    • I’ve been using this system for a few months and have never had a leak.

    • I write the date and amount directly on the pouch with a Sharpie marker.

    • The nipples fit in the pacifier slots of the OXO tot dishwasher basket.

    • There is no waste:

      • The baby can get almost every drop out of the bottle.

      • There is none of the transfer mess that you get when you  freeze in other storage bags or trays.

  • few things to note:
    • Start with the Starter Kit.
    • The slow flow nipple is really slow, you may need to start with the medium flow nipple.
    • To get extra pump adapters, contact the company.  They will sell you a few sets made for your brand pump for $10.  If you buy in the store you get a variety pack for all brands.  So ordering from the company is more economical and less wasteful.   
    • If you register in store at Buy Buy Baby, they give you a bag of goodies, including a $10 off Kiinde coupon.
    • It is not as economical or good for the environment as pumping into washable bottles, so it may not be for everyone.

    • Like all breastmilk storage bags and pouches, it is hard to get an accurate read of the number of ounces in the bag.  I pump into a Medela bottle on one side and a Kiinde pouch on the other and pour the milk into the bottle to measure and then back into the pouch to store.

Nursing Pads


When I had a dip in supply, I tried Gaia Fenugreek Seed and was amazed at how well it worked.  Months later, my son started popping off after only seven minutes in the morning, I started taking it again only at night just before bed and the very next morning he stayed on for 15 minutes.  You should speak with your lactation consultant and doctor before taking any supplements to increase supply.  If they OK fenugreek, I highly recommend this brand.  

Using a cold compress can be helpful to ease discomfort from engorgement between feedings.  It can also be helpful to use a warm compress immediately before feedings.  I really liked using Earth  Mama Angel Baby Booby Tubes as a warm compress Booby Tubes are made with a 100% organic cotton shell and filled with all-natural flax seed. They can be used warm or cold, depending on your nursing needs. They can be stored in the freezer or microwaved briefly before use and you wear them in your bra.  Warmth on tender breasts can encourage milk flow, maintain open milk ducts to prevent clogged ducts, promote let-down and comfort the symptoms of infection or mastitis. 

I hope that you found this post helpful!  If I missed anything important, please let me know in the comments section.

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