What To Pack in Your Pump Bag

What to pack in your pump bag when you return to work full time. Breastfeeding mama must read!

This is a guest post by Katie who blogs at From North to South. We are so thankful that she shared her pumping wisdom with us! Read more about Katie, her blog and her adorable kiddos at the end of this post.

A few months ago I placed my pump on full time retirement. It was a bitter sweet moment, for months at a time over the last five years it had been a part of my everyday work routine. Which for me, meant two ‘breaks’ each day to pump for my growing baby. A break from one job to do another. This most recent time, I made it a year. A full year of lugging that bag back and forth every day. Many days of forgetting milk in the fridge at work. And even a handful of nights when the milk was left out on the counter. But none the less, an amazing year that I am so proud of myself for keeping up with.

I may not have been able to increase the capacity of my mom brain (re: forgetting my milk everywhere) over that stretch of time, but I can assure you my bag was packed to perfection by the end.   Because not everyone (OK, no one) wants to take five years and three kids to learn the perfect items for your work pump bag, I’ll let you in on my secrets.

The Bag:

From one bag obsessed lady, there are so many out there to choose from. I didn’t get the black carrying tote that typically comes with my pump because my insurance was like ‘we provide the pump but the accessories are up to you’. I said thank you for the pump and was happy to get to pick my own bag.

Over the years I used a number of bags, when I was pumping and working in the same building I liked a tote style bag. Once I started walking through the hospital I switched to a standard backpack which worked well for my daily treks to and from my office and the pumping room. What type of bag you get really depends how much traveling you are going to be doing from your work station to your pumping location.

What to Pack in your Pump bag when Working Full time

The contents:

Spare parts – Always keep extra parts for your pump on hand. Extra valves should be a staple in your bag. Even with manufacturer recommended cleaning these parts can accumulate some funky fuzzy things in hard to reach places. They can also break! Yikes- last thing you need is to have a part break, making your pump inoperable for the remainder of the day, and leaving you engorged.

Pumping Bra – You’ll want to be hands free. Grab yourself an easy on hands free bra to hold your pump on your breasts. I’d suggest a band kind, or a snaps in the front kind, to avoid putting it on over your head.

Snacks –What better time to eat then when you’re finally sitting down and no one can/should interrupt you? I followed the calories out/ calories in model. Meaning, I was using calories to produce the milk that was leaving my body, so I had to be sure to add more calories back in.

There are snacks made just for a nursing mama that promote healthy lactation. Check them out here!

H2O – Drink all the water. Do yourself a favor and buy a huge water bottle, fewer trips to the water fountain and more frequent trips to the bathroom is a good model.

Entertainment – If you have to clock out of your sessions, DO NOT DO WORK. I brought my iPad one day and never looked back. I caught up on all my shows in a matter of days.

Pictures/videos – If you feel like you are having supply issues, make sure to have a few pictures of your sweet little one on hand. Or even better, take a short video of them eating (at breast or bottle) and get ready for your letdown!

Milk Storage – Bring extra bottles/caps/milk bags, whatever you keep your milk in. Too many days I found myself pumping into an empty Gatorade bottle. Make sure you have a sharpie to label your precious liquid gold.

Milk Transportation –I got a cute little lunch carrier that fit an icepack and three bottles. Something small that can easily go from fridge/freezer, to your bag to home.

Nipple cream – When you start using the pump on a regular schedule that feeling and pain from the first few latches in the hospital can come back and rock your word. And since it’s frowned upon to go shirtless in the office, to avoid chafing, and the urge to rip your bra off like the Incredible Hulk – keep some Lanolin in your bag. This is one of my favorite products because it’s a two-for. Meaning MULTI USE (like baby wipes). Hopefully you’re staying hydrated enough (drink all the water), but sometimes even with all the hydration, we find ourselves sitting in a chair, zoning out to the sound of the pump, mouth open, breathing heavy drying our lips out. Just me?What to Pack in your Pumping Bag while working

Boob pads – because wearing a pad in-between your legs isn’t enough, let’s toss some in our bras too. Bringing you back to the days of middle school, make sure to stuff your bra. Keep extras in your bag at all times. I have no problem walking around the house in a shirt that gives the appearance that my breasts are crying, but I don’t like to rock the look at work.

Lansinoh makes great disposable pads. Or you could opt for washable and reusable like these.

Cleaning products – No need to buy the fancy, extra expensive wipes ‘made for your pump’. Any seasoned mom knows regular wipes you use on your baby’s bum (the interior of your car, the spit up on your work shirt, etc.) work just as well until you can get to a sink for a real good clean. Also be sure to grab yourself a microwave sanitize bag and keep it in your pump bag for use at work. Sometimes it’s easier to just rinse your parts and put them in there and in the microwave, instead of standing at the kitchen sink while Sally Jane shoots you the hairy eyeball for cleaning your parts in the open.

What to pack in your pumping bag when you return back to work full-time!

Signage – You’re going to want a sign that says ‘DON’T COME IN HERE, I’M MFing PUMPING AND MY BOOBS ARE OUT’ – but obviously in a more ‘politically/office appropriate’ manner. I had someone walk in on me once, yep. Thankfully it was a woman and mom.

So that’s the big list. The things that are my must haves. I do have a few more things I’d like to suggest, some add on’s (extra little things that might be helpful to have, you know, like the things you put in your cart to bring your total up to get free shipping);

Extra Pump – If you’re a forgetful person, or have a long commute, I would suggest getting yourself an inexpensive manual pump for the car. I kept a manual pump in the car for those days when I ran out of the house too quick and left my pump at home. It was even more helpful on those days I got stuck in some traffic on the way home and was feeling just a bit too much pressure.

Madela makes a effective and inexpensive hand pump. Find it here.

What to pack in your Pumping bacg when working full time

Haakaa – if you have a single or manual pump, you’ll 100% want this. This is going to catch all that liquid gold that leaks out when you letdown on the side you are not actively expressing from. Great for if you feed at breast as well.

And remember, no matter how long your journey is, you’re doing one awesome thing for your little one, mama. Keep up the hard work <3

Meet Katie


Pumping at Work: What You Need to Know to Make Breastfeeding While Working Full-Time a Success

Pumping at work- How to successfully continue breastfeeding when you return from Maternity Leave

Sharing material to support full-time working mamas who plan to breastfeed has always been something I have wanted to do. Unfortunately, I do not have the personal experience to give me any credibility to speak on the subject. I am oh-so-thankful for Brenda from Paper Heart Family for sharing her expertise on the subject! Read more about Brenda and her wonderful blog at the end of this post.

The first thing that I want you to know is that working full-time and exclusively breastfeeding your child is absolutely possible.

As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed. Which would inevitably include pumping when I went back to teaching.

I’m happy to say that I was able to nurse both of my children for more than a year.

Was it easy? No.

Was it worth it? A thousand times YES.

Before taking the plunge and returning to work, there are some things that you need to know.

Speak with your employer ahead of time so that you can secure a comfortable place to pump.

Pumping is not natural. You need your pumping place to be as close to ideal as possible in order for your output to be maximized. That means no pumping in a bathroom stall. See the Department of Labor’s website  for more information on your rights.

Start a freezer stash now.

This will eliminate so much stress. I pumped on one side and nursed on the other during one night feeding for a month before returning to work and accumulated 150 ounces.

For tips on how you can increase your milk production to have enough supply for a freezer stash, see this post.

Freeze in small quantities.

You never know how much your baby is actually going to drink at each feeding while you’re gone. Following this important step will prevent you from crying when pick up your baby and you see the ounces of milk that will be thrown out because your baby knew that you were coming home soon, and waited for milk straight from the source. I suggest freezing in bags of 4 ounces.

Have the right tools.

Here’s what I used and recommend:

  • An efficient pump such as the Medela Pump In Style Advanced
  • Freemies- collection cups that are discreet and simply get placed into your normal bra. Read more about them here.
  • A pump bag- If you are short on time and need to maximize your pumping time, this is a must. They can be stylish and extremely efficient.
  • Breastmilk storage bags
  • Microwave sterilizer bags

Make sure you have back-up.

What is this back-up I speak of?

Extra bottles or storage bags that you keep at your workplace. And if you pump at home also, you need extra pump parts at work.

You don’t want to be scrambling at work to find unused Tupperware for storing your breastmilk. Not that I’ve ever had to do that. I heard it from a friend.

If you can’t find said Tupperware, you’ll be dumping your milk. Forgetting an integral part of your pumping repertoire doesn’t mean that you get out of pumping. Unless you like having leaky breasts in front of your colleagues. Or in my case, students.

Taking the effort to pump and then seconds later dumping it down the drain is torture.

Don’t cry over spilled milk? You will be weeping inconsolably.

Have everything already assembled.

Take a few minutes after you wash your pump parts the night before to assemble them. It will save you time at work and this way you won’t forget a small part.

Place pumped milk in an opaque bag.

Unless you have a cooler compartment in your pump bag, you do not want your coworkers to open the fridge and be face to face with your booby milk. They may never be able to look at you the same way again.

Distract, distract, distract.

I had to continue working while I was pumping and that was distraction enough for me. Some women need to do other things in order to get the milk flowing, such as looking at photos of their baby or reading.

Know that sometimes your output will be lower.

There will be days when you simply don’t pump as much as others. Frustratingly, you might never know why. There are many factors that could contribute to it. Your diet, your hydration level, the amount of sleep you didn’t get, or your stress level are the most common. This is why having a frozen stash is so important.

For a list of supplements you can safely use while pregnant to help increase and maintain milk supply, see this post.

Stick to a schedule as much as possible.

Pumping on a schedule is extremely important because the pump is not as efficient as baby. Your body will become more efficient if it knows when to expect machine milk extraction.

Consider pumping while driving.

Remember when I told you this wouldn’t be easy? I pumped on the way to work because with my schedule, I had no other choice. I was not going to sacrifice sleep for that additional pumping session.

A hands free pump bra is a must for this one- see this post for a list of the best ones!

Stay hydrated and nourished and (semi) rested.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the working mom life that you forget to eat and drink. Get a cute (and huge!) water bottle and take it with you everywhere. A stressed, hungry, thirsty and tired body is going to struggle to produce breastmilk.

Know that baby might reverse cycle.

Your baby likely will miss you and might make up for that missed time in the middle of the night.

Know that baby might refuse the bottle even if she was previously drinking from one.

I have no suggestions for this one. You’re probably dealing with a very headstrong (and smart!) baby.

Expect people to be nosy, jealous or intrigued.

Don’t worry about what others are thinking. What’s the only thing that matters? That you are doing what’s best for your baby.

You might have the coworker that gives you an icy stare every time you leave to go “relax”.

Or the clueless coworker who asks every day what you’re doing in your “private office” and how he can get one of his own.

Don’t wash pump parts between pumping sessions.

Hallelujah! Simply rinse or even better, pop them in the fridge if possible.

Know that it gets easier.

As baby starts solids and gets closer to her first birthday, she will require less and less breastmilk, which means you may be able to cut out a pumping session (or two!).

Just remember that pumping at work is absolutely doable. Good luck!

Follow Brenda on Facebook and Pinterest too! She has binge worthy content perfect for mamas of littles!

5 Things You Should Do in Your Baby’s First 24 Hours Bring on Breastfeeding Success!

5 things to-do in your baby's first 24 hours to promote breastfeeding success

1. Breastfeed within the first hour of baby’s life

Baby is ready to eat for the first time within their first 45 minutes of life. Making that first latch is programming their sweet little brains that this is how they will receive their food and nutrients.

2. Lots and LOTS of skin-to-skin

Skin-to-skin has been proven to have a long list of benefits for baby. It can regulate their body temperature and heart rate as well as their blood sugar levels. It also has great benefits when it comes to breastfeeding success.

Communicate with your nurses that you would like to do skin-to-skin as soon as possible. If you deliver your baby naturally, they may even be able to place baby directly on you as soon as he or she is born. with my first-born, I had an emergency C-section. Unfortunately, this meant baby could not be placed directly on me, but was with me about 7 minutes after she arrived and we began skin to skin then.

3. Speak with a lactation consultant

A certified lactation consultant has dedicated their career to helping women have a successful breastfeeding journey. Take advantage of this amazing blessing and speak to one as soon as you can! In most hospitals, they have a lactation consultant who makes rounds to speak with new mothers. Have her sit with you while you breastfeeding and she will shower you will words of wisdom and guidance that is sure to set you up for success!

4. Feed on demand

If you are anything like I was when I was pregnant with my first, I had about 43 pins saved that gave tips on feeding schedules and getting baby on a routine. While aiming to get onto a solid feeding routine is great, it shouldn’t be your priority right away. Feeding baby on demand (as soon as they show a hunger cue) in those first few days will greatly increase your chances of breastfeeding success. It will also help your body start bringing in the milk supply. Breastmilk is made on a supply and demand type system, so the more demand, the more milk you’ll be makin’ for bebe! (Another fun tip for more milk- order oatmeal at every meal while in the hospital! It’s an essential for high milk supply!)

This may mean if you at staying in the hospital that you keep you baby in the room with you as much as possible so their nursing cues are answered as soon as possible.

5. Commit with your partner

This should technically be step one, because it should happen before baby is even born. Making a commitment to breastfeed with your partner by your side is a huge factor when it comes to breastfeeding success. While breastfeeding is natural, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Like 99% of all other moms, you will likely face a few hurdles. Without verbalizing your dedication to each other, it may be easy to throw in the towel. If it is truly important to you to breastfeed your baby, make the commitment together.

In order to fully prepare for you breastfeeding, I would also suggest reading this post so you can stock up on the BF necessities before baby arrives:

High Milk Supply Must Haves for all Breast Feeding Mamas

More reads for the breastfeeding mama:

How to Increase Your Milk Supply in 48 Hours
Breastfeeding and Alcohol- How much is OK?
Is My Baby Getting Enough to Eat?


The 4 Nursing Bras Every Breastfeeding Mama Needs

The Four Nursing Bras every Breastfeeding Mama Needs

As your due date nears, I’m sure you are stocking up on all things baby, but there are some things you need to stock up on for mama too! Here’s a list of the four types of nursing bras you should have on hand!

Sleep Bra

Now that you are producing milk, sleeping bra less is not really an option. You’ll wake up in a puddle of your own milk if you don’t have nursing pads in. So you’ll want something comfy that doesn’t make what little sleep you may be getting any less dreamy.

My pick: I love the Kindred Braverly bra. These were all I wore when I was in the hospital and I was SO thankful I packed them in my hospital bag. I think what makes them so great is how low they come on my back. I have also experienced a wide variety of breast size from milk coming in and then leveling out and this bra has worked through them all.

Sports Bra

You probably won’t be doing a lot of “sporting” in those first few days after pregnancy, but as the weeks pass, you may get out and take baby for a walk around the block. Once you’ve been cleared by your doctor, you may even be back in the gym! Make sure you have a large enough sports bra for your more endowed chest and one where you can easily feed baby before, after or even during your work out.

I always prefer something that comes up a little higher on my chest while working out. My recommendation: The Gratlin Womens Nursing Sports Bra. This bra comes low on the sides of my boobs (a lot like the Kindred Sleep bra) that just makes everything feel a bit more supported. I have a nursing sports bra from a big name maternity store with just a wee bit of fabric underneath and my breasts almost always fold right over it and have no support.



Before any of you freak out that I am suggesting this, hear me out. I understand this is somewhat controversial. Some believe that the underwire can cause lack of blood flow which will in turn hurt production. But I believe ANY bra that doesn’t fit properly could also do this. There is no direct evidence linking wearing a underwire bra to low breast milk production. But for ANY bra you pick out, you want to make sure it fits properly.

I purchased all of my nursing bras from Motherhood Maternity, and I spent a pretty penny on them. It’s one of the 5 big buck baby items I don’t regret splurging on.

I have been wearing my nursing bras for over a year now. I’m not even breastfeeding anymore but I love the way they fit! While I ordered every other bra online, I think it’s important to try on your every day bra in store to make sure it fits properly.


Pumping bra

When I was searching for a hands free pumping bra, I remember thinking “Do I really need this? Can’t I just hold the parts while I pump?”. I am so happy I didn’t listen to my hesitations because YES, YOU DO NEED THIS!

Being able to pump hands free saved my sanity. I can’t even begin to list the tasks I did while pumping. I would do my make up, blow dry my hair, fold laundry, answer emails. The list of possibilities is endless. And as a new mom, being able to knock out things on your to-do list while also pumping makes you feel like a superstar.

I ended up with two pumping bras. One was awful, it was basically just two a bunch of strings that were supposed to hold my pump parts in place but they never did. I seriously only used it once.

My Suggestion: Simple Wish Zip up Hands Free Pump Bra. The main reason I loved this bra was convenience.  I would simply pull the flaps of my bra down (like I would if I was nursing baby) and start pumping.

It can be tricky when picking a size when it comes to breastfeeding boobs. They change size like 100 times in the first 3 months after baby comes. Again, that is why I highly recommend this bra. You can adjust it up to 10 inches!

How to Increase Your Milk Supply in 48 Hours
Breastfeeding and Alcohol- How much is OK?
Is My Baby Getting Enough to Eat?

High Milk Supply Must Haves For Every Breast Feeding Mama

High Milk Supply Must Haves for all Breast Feeding Mamas

It’s so funny how I am already seeing the differences in my mommy ways with preparing for baby #1 vs. baby #2. The first go around, I was purchasing just about every crazy baby product I could find on the internet (most of which were a total waste, blog post coming soon on that!). With baby #2, the “must have list” is completely different. One of the top items I am placing SUPER high importance on is my milk supply boosters. I had a few instances of low supply with Emmy and found a lot of success with a few of the MANY products I tired.  Here’s a list of the high milk supply must haves I would recommend to ANY and ALL breastfeeding mama.

Let There Be Milk

If you only wanted to buy one supplement for your breastfeeding journey, this would be the one I would recommend. It jam packed with just about every nutrient you need to be a milk makin’ machine. On days when I really needed a boost, I would do three full droplets. Once I got my supply up (usually about 48 hours later), I would maintain with just one droplet full. As I have mentioned in other posts, the taste of this wonderful concoction is less than appealing. Be sure to have some juice or water close by to wash it down with. You can find it here on Amazon. I have seen time and time again when I go to re-order that this product is sold out. I’m not surprised because it works so well. The only other product I have seen that has similar ingredients and has reviews of high effectiveness is Mothers Love More Milk. They have a few more options but just be sure  you buy the one containing goats rue.

High Milk Supply Must Haves for Every Breast Feeding Mama



Fenugreek is one of the lowest cost supplements you can buy to help increase your milk supply. I ordered the Nature’s Way Fenugreek for $10 for 180 capsules but there are brands that are must more inexpensive. Fenugreek is a natural herb that increases your prolactin levels. Taking it daily can help maintain a healthy supply and most mothers report seeing a increase in their milk supply within 72 hours of taking it. P.S.- it may make you smell like maple syrup 🙂

Nursing Tea

Ah, the sweet taste of nursing tea in the morning. It quickly became part of my AM routine with Emmy and I don’t doubt for a second it will be back for baby #2.  I sweeten the crew with a little spoonful of honey and it actually is pretty tasty. I have tried two brands that I would highly recommend. Pink Stork’s Liquid Gold and Traditional Medicinals Mother’s Milk.  They taste just about the same and produce boosting results.


I have been purposely avoiding oatmeal throughout my pregnancy because I know I will be eating my fair share of it when baby #2 arrives. It was the first thing I ate when I got home from the hospital with Emmy and I ate it every day for breakfast for her first 6 months of life. I got sick of it at one point and resulted to making a this sweet oatmeal concoction instead. It really does work wonders so even if you don’t prefer it the old fashioned way, find some way to work it into your diet every day or two.

Flax Seed and Brewers Yeast

Just about every lactation smoothie out there calls for these two ingredients, as does our recipe for a quick results lactation smoothie. You never know when you may have a sweet tooth when working on your milk supply so keep these two ingredients handy!

Be sure to read our other posts that are perfect for breastfeeding mamas:



10 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before Becoming an “Exclusive Pumper”

This is a guest post written by Lexie from MommyHomeManager.com. Read more on Lexie at the end of this post and be sure to visit her site!

Before I left the hospital with my son, I was not producing enough milk. I used a breast pump, and fed him a combination of breastmilk and formula from a bottle. Since I wanted to breastfeed after returning to work, I decided to just keep pumping instead of trying to figure out how to nurse. Without knowing what I was doing, I became an exclusive pumper.

(That’s the short version, if you want the long version, you can read my post “How my Breastfeeding Journey was Anything but “Normal” http://www.mommyhomemanager.com/breastfeeding-test/)

I spoke with a few different lactation consultants at my hospital before one of them used the term exclusive pumper. She was the first person to actually understand how my breastfeeding experiences were different than the traditional breastfeeding mother.

Exclusive pumping is an option that not many people are aware of. It is a great way to breastfeed your baby if you are having trouble latching, you spend a lot of time away from your baby, or if you want Dad to be more involved in the breastfeeding experience. Like any parenting decision, exclusive pumping is not without its challenges.

Here are a few things that I wish someone had told me from the beginning.

  1. It is harder to keep your supply up.

Once I got to a point where I was producing more milk in a day than my son was drinking, I focused much less on pumping on a regular basis. If I was too busy or asleep, I would just skip a pumping session because we didn’t need the milk. It’s true what they say about breast milk working on a “supply and demand” basis. When I slowed down on pumping for a day or two, my milk supply dropped and I was never able to get it back to where I started. I struggled with milk supply most of the time that I was pumping.

  1. It is easier to pump on your own schedule than on baby’s.

I started out pumping every time that my son ate. This worked out well…until my husband went back to work and I couldn’t do both at once. I switched to pumping after every time that he ate. It never failed that he would want to eat right when I thought I had time to make lunch. I then had to feed him, pump, clean up, and then I could eat. Also, I could never keep track of when he ate or when I pumped. It was much easier to just schedule my pumping times and then fit in feedings and chores around that.

  1. Pick an easy pumping schedule.

Just keep it simple. You want to avoid having to think “when is the last time that I pumped?” I would base my schedule for the day off of my first pumping session after I woke up. For example, if my first pumping session was near 8:00 am, I would pump on every even hour for the day – 8, 10, 12, etc.

  1. You will have to pump once every 2-3 hours.

This goes back to the basics of supply and demand. Just know that you will spend A LOT of quality time with your breast pump. The lactation consultant who talked me through exclusive pumping told me that I should aim for 10-12 pumping sessions per day. Even at night, she suggested that I should not go more than 4 hours without pumping. I personally prioritized my sleep over my milk supply. If you want to exclusively pump without supplementing formula, you will need to wake up to pump even if baby sleeps through the night.

  1. You will have to drink TONS of water

This is true whether you are nursing or pumping, but I was surprised how easily I would feel dehydrated. Keep water handy, especially when pumping. It never failed that I would feel like I was dying of thirst every time that I left my water bottle on the other side of the room. The same is true of your calorie intake – now that baby is born you actually are eating for two!

  1. There are so many dishes!

Between pumping supplies, storage supplies, and bottles, I felt as though I was washing dishes all day everyday. If you are planning to feed baby expressed milk, do yourself a favor and buy the bottles that fit with your breast pump. You can then pump, store, and feed the milk from the same bottle.

  1. The amount that you pump may vary each session

There were days that I would produce several ounces of milk in one pumping session and just millileters the next. That is totally normal! The key is to make sure that you are pumping for long enough each time to stimulate your milk production for the next pumping session. Don’t be discouraged just because you had one bad pump.

  1. Something is better than nothing

Breastmilk is good for your baby. Any amount is better than nothing. Even if you have to mix your breastmilk with formula to have enough for your baby to eat (I did!), you are giving your baby the health benefits of the breastmilk that you produce.

  1. Don’t be afraid to stop when it is your time

This is one that we don’t hear enough of. We all know that breast is best because that message is everywhere. I was very lucky to have a pediatrician who was supportive of my breastfeeding efforts, and also reminded me every visit “don’t feel bad about giving formula.” Formula is scientifically designed to give your baby every nutrient that he or she needs to grow. When your time comes to stop, do not let anyone make you feel guilty. Only you know what is right for your family.

  1. You are doing a great job!

Whether you make it 1 day or 1 year of breastfeeding, you are doing a great thing for your child. Breastmilk is great for your child’s growth and development. You are sharing your healthy fats, vitamins, nutrients, and antibodies with your baby through your milk. Breastfeeding is hard work! You did a great thing just by trying, Mama!

The Most Common Breastfeeding Questions Answered by a Lactation Counselor

A BIG THANK YOU to Aryn from With Cream and Sugar for taking the time to share her wisdom with us. We all know that breastfeeding can be a difficult journey at times and we are so thankful she is here to help us along the way. Read more about Aryn at the end of this post.

Low milk supply seems to be  a big issue with a lot of moms. What are some ways they can increase their supply?

In my experience, perceived low milk supply is a much bigger issue than true low supply. New mom’s often have unrealistic expectations (not any fault of their own)  regarding newborn behaviors, including feeding. And while the internet can be a fantastic resource, it also becomes a place for comparison, which causes further worry. Another big factor (and this will probably be a repeated theme) is lack of support. If those closest to you or your healthcare providers are constantly questioning you, it easy to start to doubt yourself. So, in general, the best thing a mom can do for her supply is to feed her baby on demand, and not watch the clock or schedule feedings.

For a mom with true low supply, there are many different thing that can be helpful. Some mother pump after nursing, for extra stimulation, some will use a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) to keep their baby at the breast longer. I urge any mother who is worried about her supply to reach out to a Lactation Professional for help and support, before making any decisions about changing how she feeds her baby.

Supplementing- when is it time to do it? What signs should mothers look for to know it’s time so supplement. So many wonder if their baby is getting enough!

In a breastfeeding relationship that is going well, there really is no time that a mother should *have* to supplement. As long as baby is growing well, mom’s milk should always be perfect, for her baby. Mom can know her baby is getting plenty by their diaper output, signs of satisfaction (ending feedings on their own, happy when finished, relaxing of hands), and weight gain.

There are occasions when supplementation may be necessary because of health issues including weight gain or growth issues or special needs infants, premature infants sometimes need extra calories or supplementation or if a mom is not able (or chooses not to) pump enough when separated from baby. Any of the above situation should be handled individually, there is no “one size fits all” answer. And I think its very important to mention that supplementing does not have to mean formula, a mother can supplement with her own milk or donor milk if she chooses.

What’s the most common road block you see for mothers when it comes to breastfeeding?

  1. Lack of support- having those closest to you, on your side and helping you through the hard days is so important. Lack of support from medical professionals is often a big frustration too, so find a Dr. that listens to you and allows you to be a part of decision making for your baby
  2. Unrealistic expectations/comparison. So many moms expect their Breastfeeding journey to look like their sister’s, friends, someone on the internet etc…and sometimes those aren’t “normal” or realistic journeys. Each is unique, and being education on all the variations of normal can be so helpful

At what point do you suggest mothers reach out to a counselor or consultant? How can they find a professional to fit their needs?

I believe (and wish) that every mother should reach out! Reaching out before there is a problem, can often time prevent problems and good support, even in a smooth journey, can be so helpful. But of course if a mother is feeling uneasy, anxious, or disagree with advice they may be receiving, reach out.

In general, any lactation professional should be able to meet a mom’s need. If more advanced or different help was needed, the lactation professional should refer appropriately. Many nurses and Midwives are also lactation professionals, and mothers meet them in hospital situations. Moms can also look in their community for private practice professionals or to community organizations like WIC or at pregnancy centers 

I’ve had a lot of moms question coffee and breast feeding… what is your professional opinion on this?

Caffeine, in moderation, is completely safe while nursing! The only issue would be if a baby was bothered by the intake, and that will be a case by case basis.

Everyone seems to always say “breastfeeding is hard, but stick to it”. Why do you think so many women find it to be such a challenge? And what would your advice be to a mother who is thinking it may be time to call it quits?

Breastfeeding definitely is a learning experience, more so for some than others. Something I try to talk to all moms preparing about is, that breastfeeding is so very natural, but just like walking and talking, it is something that we and our baby have to learn. I think we often expect it to just “happen”, so when it is hard or not like we have heard from others, we feel discouraged.

If a mom is feeling like she is ready to end her breastfeeding journey, my first response is a big hug. That is a tough decision to make. I always urge moms to not quit on a bad day, often times mom’s regret quitting but I rarely hear of a mom regretting sticking it out. Its also important to note that breastfeeding doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and that for some mothers continuing to breastfeed or provide breastmilk means introducing supplemental formula or donor milk. And again, each journey is unique and each mother has to decide what is best for her and her baby. If a mom truly feels that breastfeeding is not working for them, and she has explored all options for help and support, then its okay to stop. Fed, healthy baby’s and happy, empowered mamas are always the end goal.

What advice to you have for mothers who are returning to work and will need to maintain their supply through pumping?

  • Be prepared to pump as often, or as close to as possible, your baby’s nursing schedule.
  • Learn your pump, and what settings work best for you, as well as making sure the breastshields fit you appropriately
  • Know the laws that protect you in your area, your employer cannot stop you from pumping for your infant
  • Take care of yourself! Don’t forget to eat and drink, and stop to take breaks.
  • Understand, and share with your child care provider, appropriate breastmilk feeding guidelines. One of the biggest struggles I see for working moms is that they feel they can’t keep up with what baby is taking while they are away. But often times, that is because the baby is being fed more than they remove from the breast, which is what establishes our supply. A good guideline to remember is that baby needs 1-1.5 oz per hour, while separated from mom. And that breastmilk changes to meet baby’s needs, so often the amount does not have to increase as baby grows.
  • Take pictures and vidoes of your baby, to look at and watch while pumping. This will help to relax you and help you respond to the pump more easily. Covering the bottles with a blanket or something that smells like your baby can help tremendously too, I always express more when I am distracted and not watching my output.

Breastfeeding Tips, tricks and Strategies from 20 Mom Bloggers

Let’s cut straight to the point… breastfeeding ain’t always a walk in the park. It can be tough. Really tough! But you are not alone in this journey! There is a wonderful community of moms who are here to help! 20+ mom bloggers have come together to offer their most valuable tips when it comes to breastfeeding.

“They key is to educate yourself and find the support you need.  Watch all the breastfeeding documentaries on Netflix and Amazon Prime, join support groups on Facebook, and read everything you can get your hands on including articles, blogs and books.  Learn your rights. And if you are comfortable enough to, I highly recommend letting go of your inhibitions and nursing in public & “breast-sleeping”. It just makes life sooooo much easier!”

Alea from www.frugalnesting.com

“I breastfed my twins for 6 ½ months.  My biggest tip is to keep reassuring yourself that providing breast milk in any amount each day is good and is enough.  For each feeding, I would either nurse or provide them with one bottle of breast milk followed by the necessary amount of formula for them to feel satisfied.  This did not noticeably affect my supply, my kids weren’t going hungry, I wasn’t completely stressed, and I was providing them the breast milk that they needed.”

Marianne from The Marv Mis

“I have had three exclusive breastfed babies and each journey was very different. My first had a tongue tie that resulted in cracked nipples and a lot of pain for me. The best thing I did was find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who came to my house a few times to help with proper latch. She diagnosed the tongue tie and helped me to find a doctor to correct the problem. Without her help I am sure I would have given up nursing. It is much more difficult than you would expect and getting help when you have a problem can make a world of difference.”

Emma from Kids, Cash and Chaos

“Try to go topless as much as possible. This makes the early days of nursing so much easier. It also helps not to have anything rubbing your already sore nipples. As well as help your nipples to air out lower the chance for infection. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Breastfeeding can be hard and there is no shame in seeking help.”

Tiffany from Short Sweet Mom

“One thing I’ve learned from breastfeeding 4 babies is that it can be very challenging. Have patience; breastfeeding takes time to master. Rest, hydration, and nutrition are extremely important while breastfeeding, but even more important is finding support. Surround yourself with people who will offer positive guidance and encouragement. If you find that breastfeeding isn’t right for you and your child and you decide to take another approach have confidence in the fact that you made the right choice for both of you!

“I’m not sure why I struggled to breast feed so much but I did. While I much preferred pumping (well except for the time issue!) if I had to breast feed the Nipple Shield was the only way I could go. It let me daughter latch, get a much better suction and didn’t irritate my nipples overly. I always carried one in my diaper bag just in case!”

Shelby from Fit As A Mama Bear

“As I near 40 months total of breastfeeding between my three kiddos, my advice is to give yourself a break and get help early.  Everyone says that breastfeeding is natural.  So it’s easy to get discouraged when it feels like you have no idea what you’re doing.  It can take a month or more to start to feel comfortable with it, so give yourself time.  Also, if you have any difficulty or concerns, don’t hesitate to seek the support of a lactation consultant.  They can correct any issues, or simply validate how well you are doing.”

Jenny from The Crafty Organized Mom

“Breastfeeding was super tough the first couple months. My son had some issues latching early on, I fought a bad case of mastitis, and I was sleep deprived from keeping up with pumping sessions after breastfeeding in the middle of the night. My biggest piece of advice is that it does get easier, even if you have some challenges early on. My son is now 19 months and we are still breastfeeding and it’s practically second nature with virtually no pain!”

Berklee from Faith Filled Motherhood

 “After having my daughter in 2016, she had difficulty latching and we ended up having to use a nipple shield to breastfeed. If you need to use a nipple shield, don’t give up or feel discouraged! Talk to a lactation consultant. After four months using the shield, one day my daughter took it off by herself and latched on like a pro! We have been breastfeeding without it successfully ever since.”

Audrey from Perfected In Weakness

“I have breastfed my two boys for a total of 25 months and am still going with my one year old. What has helped me most, keeping my babies satisfied and well-fed, has been learning to relax and focus on my baby only, when I’m nursing. When I try to do other things at the same time as nursing, my baby doesn’t get as much breast milk and is hungry much sooner.”

Crystalyn from The Prudent Housewife

I am currently breastfeeding my fourth baby, and it has been a learning curve! I breastfed my twins until they were 3 and self-weaned. My recommendation for breastfeeding multiples beyond 6 months is to think marathon rather than sprint. Getting breastfeeding established might take a bit of pumping and some ups and downs, but it will all settle down, especially when your babies start eating solid food as well. It was fabulous to breastfeed my twins as toddlers – it provided some calm for everyone in the daily chaos.

Elizabeth from What Mama Knows

“In my second homebirth, the midwife suggested that we allow our baby to rest on my abdomen immediately after birth to allow him to crawl up to the breast on his own. He did it! Took him forever but the little man found his way and latched on like a champ. My take away from this cool experience was the inspiration in the drive within us to thrive and find nourishment. So trust your body’s innate wisdom and then be gentle on yourself if it turns out you’re challenged in the breastfeeding front. Know that your body and your heart were designed to provide all that your baby needs, whether in the end that looks like breast or bottle feeding.”

Kathy  from Bliss Beyond Naptime

“If you are new to the process of breastfeeding my best tip for you is have a nursing station set up beforehand. When my baby nursed I was never fully prepared for how long the process took. Try to make sure you have plenty of water and a snack nearby because breastfeeding is hunger and thirst inducing work. Another thing I suggest having there is a phone charger nearby or a book so you have a source of entertainment while your baby nurses.”

Sheyla  from The Momma Chronicles

“Get help if you need it.  I breastfed my first six babies until they were 1+ years old.  I was a pro!  Until my seventh child was born.  I had extended, excruciating pain every time he nursed.  I knew what I was doing, latching on correctly, positioning correctly, and still, the pain persisted.  Finally, I sought the help of a lactation consultant who diagnosed a tongue tie and gave me the resources I needed to successfully nurse my son until he weaned at 20 months.”

Corinna from The Mommy Clause

“After breastfeeding 2 children, still currently breastfeeding one, the best advice I could give is to be patient and don’t compare yourself to other moms. If you pump and bottle feed. Great. If you exclusively breastfeed that’s great too. Every mom and babies needs are different and you should do what is best for your family.”

Tiffany from Small Life Living

“I’ve only been breastfeeding for a couple of weeks but I’ve found having my phone nearby to be very helpful. It allows me to text with people and also works as a communication device if I need help and no one is nearby.”

Pam of Hodge Podge Moments

“My son was born at just over 26 weeks via induction in September 2015. 36 weekers are notoriously poor feeders. My son developed hyper-jaundice that lasted almost 5 weeks. I exclusively pumped from the beginning, which was an emotional and disappointing experience. My advice would be to follow your intuition, advocate for yourself, and don’t be ashamed to ask for help, whether if it’s from a lactation consultant or a bottle of formula.”

Michelle at Writing Between Pauses

“I gave birth to twins via C-section in January 2013. My twins weighed 6lbs 5 oz for Andrew and 14lbs. 4 oz. for Lucy. One recovery tip is to get your husband involved. Since I had twins I had to rely on him for feedings and changings 🙂 Breastfeeding was a slow process. I had to use donated milk as I wasn’t making enough milk for my twins. My tip is to don’t give up and use donated milk if you can!”

Elna Cain from Twins Mommy

“I breastfed my son for two years, but had a hard time in the beginning.
I wasn’t producing enough milk and had to supplement with formula. That
wasn’t what I envisioned doing, but I didn’t want to give up on
breastfeeding! What kept me going was that I wanted to provide the best
nutrients for my son. If that meant that I would continue to breastfeed
with the need to supplement with formula that would be perfectly fine.”

Jessica from intentional in life

“The best thing I did, unfortunately not until our second baby, was to
learn how to breastfeed comfortably while lying down. I also learned how
to co-sleep safely and therefor I could keep our baby in bed with me and
breastfeed whenever he needed it almost without waking up. It was

Paula from Easy Baby Life

“My twins were born 8 weeks early.  I pumped every 3 hours to give them breastmilk during their NICU stay. After they came home I tried to breastfeed, but they didn’t have the strength.  I pumped and gave them both breastmilk and formula.  We never ended up being able to breastfeed, and the term “breast is best” still makes me feel really sad and guilty.  Fed is best, so don’t feel guilty if breastfeeding doesn’t work!”

Caitlin from Rogers Party of 5

“I breastfed both of my daughters, and had so much pain the first few weeks.  Especially with my second who was tongue tied, her latch was terrible! Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads are the most amazing thing for sore, cracked nipples.  Express some of your breast milk to naturally soothe the area, and then apply the soothies from the fridge.  The pain is instantly relieved!”

Kait from Kaits Place

Solutions To The Most Common Breastfeeding Problems


This is a guest post by Susan Croox from GloriousMomBlog.com. We are so thankful that she has taken the time to share her solutions to the most common breastfeeding problems. Read more about Susan at the end of this post. 

Breastfeeding is such an amazing bonding time between a mother and her baby. However, there are often many challenges that arise on the course of a mom’s breastfeeding journey. I myself breastfed three, although one baby was weak from heart surgery, and stopped nursing at six weeks. I’m familiar with many of the struggles we face while breastfeeding, and I thought I would share some of my solutions.

Difficulty latching

All babies have to learn to latch. They obviously weren’t nursing in your belly, so it’s an acquired skill. As your baby grows, positioning won’t be as important, but in the beginning it is crucial. Make sure you are cradling your baby’s head with the crook of your arm. Position the head just below the nipple and let the baby reach up slightly towards it with his/her mouth. It help sometimes to hold your breast in your hand to guide it towards your baby’s mouth. You can also rub your nipple across the top lip. Get as much help as you can from the lactation consultant in the hospital. Even with my third, I still felt like it was a learning experience beginning again with a newborn. If you still are having difficulty,  you can try a nipple guard. Not all babies will accept it, but it’s worth a try. My first learned to latch with it. A problem babies have with latching is that they don’t open their mouths wide enough. When they latch on and their mouths aren’t covering the entire nipple, it is extremely painful! The sucking reflex is strong, and it is meant to cover as much of the lower part of the areola as possible. With the nipple guard on, the oversized plastic nipple forces the infant to open its mouth very wide to accept it, and helps with the latch. Also, if you happen to have an inverted nipple, the nipple guard will make nursing much easier for you.

Nipple pain

One of the hardest parts of nursing is the pain. You would think after just giving birth to a baby that you could handle anything, but nope. Nope, nope. The first thing you want to do is make sure that baby has a good latch, as that could be causing your pain. The good news is that most of the time, this gets significantly more bearable with time. Your nipples get used to it, and baby gets better at feeding. But for the time being, I recommend again trying the nipple guard, as this will virtually erase your pain, and applying Lansinoh Lanolin Cream on your nipple, which is entirely safe for the baby. You can also try applying a warm compress to the breast.

Getting baby to burp

I never had an easy time getting my babies to burp. And they all were gassy, breastfed or not, so I knew it was absolutely necessary. The best thing to do is try different positions.The most common one is to hold the infant against your chest with them peering over your shoulder as you support their head and tap their back. Another method is lay them on their tummy over your leg and burp them. These two were the ones I used mostly with my firstborn. My second baby had heart surgery, so he had sternal precautions for six weeks, which meant no tummy time, so no burping on my leg. At the hospital they recommended the third position, which is to gently sit them up (all floppy and stuff) on your leg, while one hand holds them upright by pressing against the chest, and simultaneously using the fingers to cradle the chin in your hand to support it from the front while the other hand does the burping.


Engorgement occurs when you have an unusually large amount of milk in your breasts. Within a week of baby being born, your milk comes in. Whereas previous your flow was a trickle, suddenly your breasts are hard and painful. Your breasts can also become engorged for other reasons. If baby prefers to feed on one side over the other, the neglected breast may become engorged. Or sometimes you just have a lot of milk! To manage the pain, you can use a warm compress on your breasts. If your milk just came in, the baby should help regulate the flow, and your breasts should normalize within a few days. If baby prefers one side and won’t take the other, you can pump on the unwanted side. This also should help prevent mastitis. In general, pumping can provide relief for engorged breasts, although it will also help to maintain your high level of milk – read: you’d better get comfortable with that breast pump!

Falling asleep at the breast

My third child insisted on nursing to sleep. The problem with this is that the baby develops the habit of needing to nurse right before they sleep. They then struggle with self-soothing, and night wakings can be a nightmare. Occasional nursing to sleep isn’t bad, but when it’s every single time, it can mess with the baby’s sleep cycle, and there possibly may be a concern if baby’s getting enough milk. If you think baby is starting to drift, to switch to the other breast. You can also change the baby’s diaper between sides as babies don’t sleep during diaper changes. You can also try compressing your breast with your hand to encourage the flow of milk, thus gently stirring baby to wake with the extra food.


My last child began gnawing ferociously at my breast around ten months. I was very close to giving up on nursing at this point as not only was the pain excruciating, but it also was every single time, including the eight times he woke up every single night. Ouch! I was told that if you pushed baby away and firmly and loudly said, “No!” they would stop, and that was the end of the story. That works in most situations, but it didn’t work for me, and believe me, I had motivation to try. Finally, I did some research and discovered that it was possible that his latch was incorrect (can you believe that, at ten months??!!). The theory was that if the mouth was placed correctly, it would be impossible for the baby to bite. I had tried the nipple guard (another thing I recommend for this), but he wouldn’t take it. So I re-taught him how to latch. I held my breast in my hand and forced him to open his mouth wide. It took a few days, but then he got it! No more biting!

Breastfeeding is a lot of work, and each child has their own unique breastfeeding journey. I encourage you, when things are hard, don’t give up! Research solutions to your problems and ask other moms for advice. You can do it!

Read more on Breastfeeding:

How to Increase Your Milk Supply in 48 Hours
Breastfeeding and Alcohol- How much is OK?
Is My Baby Getting Enough to Eat?

Are We Putting Too Much Pressure On New Moms to Breastfeed?

This post was written by Emily Sy from HappyMomBlog.com. Read more about Emily at the end of the article.

Just recently, I learned some very devastating news about a local mom who took her own life after suffering from postpartum depression. My husband sent me an article on this story and the husband of this local mom urges moms who can’t breastfeed to seek help.

As a nurse, I understand all the benefits of breastfeeding. When I was a child, I knew nothing about breastfeeding and thought babies drank from bottles and formula was the best nutrition for them. Years later, practices have changed and it is well taught to the new moms out there that “breast is best”.


When my older sister had her first child, I had just started out in nursing school and was thrilled that she just had a baby. When she told me that she was having difficulty breastfeeding, I quickly explained to her that she needs to keep trying and went over all the benefits and why and how she should do it. Man, was I insensitive. At the time, I was young and naive and had no experience having a baby so I really didn’t understand what it was like.

When you just have a baby, so many things are changing. You are learning so much about yourself and your baby and how to care for her and you’re completely exhausted. Not only are you exhausted, but you’re in pain, recovering from the delivery. The last thing you need is your little sister nagging you and telling you what to do.

After sometime, she told me the truth about how my comments made her feel. She was trying her very best but it was just too painful and so she decided to give formula. My comments made her feel guilty that she wasn’t breastfeeding. I felt horrible about what I said. I mean, I meant well but, we need to be more supportive of moms who decide to give their babies formula. Yes, breast is best, but when it’s just not possible, then fed is best.

According to the article, the husband said that his wife may have felt like a bad mother for not exclusively breastfeeding. He says she may have felt pressure to exclusively breastfeed from all the posters and brochures that they saw in the hospital and in the classes. Although he agrees that breast is best, he believes there’s a need for everyone to know that formula is still a viable option.


For myself when I had my first child, I was lucky that I didn’t have too many problems breastfeeding. I mean, it was still really hard learning it. I did it by the book, just like I was taught in nursing school. It was such an endeavor, you had to get into a certain position and you had to make sure the baby was alert and awake enough to feed and then you have to get them to latch.

Once they latch, you have to make sure it was a proper latch, etc etc…It was not easy let me tell you. Then you want to make sure that the baby was getting enough, by keeping track of her pees and poops. Thinking back on it, it was pretty scary because it was my first time and you want to make sure you’re doing it all right.

I can just image if it did have problems, it would be even more exhausting, painful and stressful.

Then you have the pressure from the family, telling you to do it their “old school” way, which was contradictory to the way you were taught. Because of your inexperience, they insist that they know better than you. Man, does this bring back the memories of having my first child. It was pretty rough.

With my second child I supplemented with a little bit of formula just so I could be away a bit longer so my baby wouldn’t go hungry while I was out.

With my third child, I was way busier so she ended up having the most formula out of all three of my kids. I just had way more things to do and I wasn’t always able to breastfeed. I was giving her as much breast milk as I could but gave her formula when I was away or couldn’t comfortably breastfeed in public.

The more kids I had, the more ok I was with giving formula. Everyone has their own values and beliefs and we all need to respect each other’s choices. We do what we think is right for ourselves and for our kids.


I’m very fortunate to have never experienced postpartum depression but according to the stats, a lot of moms do. The Canadian Mental Health Association says that 50 to 80 percent of new mothers suffer from a mild depression or “baby blues” within days or weeks of giving birth and up to 20 percent of births lead to debilitating depression. Here’s a scary statistic, the suicide rate for women with postpartum depression psychosis ranges as high as 1 in 20.


I remember how tiring, stressful and scary it was to be a new mom. My advice for new moms is, go easy on yourselves and have faith that you are doing the very best you can for your baby. Trust your instincts and do what you feel is right for yourself and your baby. What you decide to do is not necessarily what someone else would do. We will all have our own journeys and experiences.

If you are feeling the baby blues or feel that you have signs and symptoms of postpartum depression, seek help. Call your public health nurse or see your family doctor. Talk to someone about it as soon as possible.

This article is written in memory of Florence Leung, a beautiful BC mom. May you rest in peace.

To read more on this story, click here.