Breastfeeding

Summer Pumping Tips

Note: This post was originally published in 2016, and has been refreshed to bring you the most up to date information!

Summer is here and that means longer days, vacations, and soaking up the sun. However, there’s a downside to summer and it’s called sweat. It makes your hair wet, skin sticky, and it trickles down to places you didn’t know it could. When you’re a pumping and/or nursing mom, sweat is not your friend. When sweat lingers in a warm area like the breast, it increases the chances of bacteria forming. To help you avoid bacteria growth and possible milk contamination, we have 5 tips for pumping and nursing in the summer heat.

#1: Manage breast sweat

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Breast sweat can be found on the top of your breast, on the sides and underneath. Sarah Long, IBCLC and Director of Clinical Operations at The Milk Bank, discourages applying creams and lotions, noting that chemicals in lotions and sweat can contaminate your milk. If you can’t take a quick shower, keep a towel with you to pat sweat off.  You want to make sure your breasts are dry before you begin a pumping session.

#2: Wash your hands

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Always remember to wash your hands before you pump.  For milk donors, we recommend washing your hands with soap and warm  water followed by drying with a clean paper towel or cloth and avoiding lotions or creams to decrease risk of milk contamination. If you’re not near soap and water, hand sanitizer works.

#3: Clean your pump parts

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Heat is a breeding ground for germs, so it’s important to wash and dry parts thoroughly. Before you wash your parts, give them a rinse under cool water to remove any milk protein residue. Between pumping sessions, wash parts in warm, soapy water and rinse twice in hot water; then allow to air-dry on a paper towel. If you aren’t able to wash parts between sessions, you can store them in a clean plastic bag in the refrigerator, which will help cut down on bacterial growth.

For Milk Donors, sterilizing is also important. You need to make sure you sterilize your pump parts at least once a day. Check out our how-to video demonstrating how to clean your pump parts!

#4: Keep it cool

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If you’re planning to pump while traveling, make sure you pack an extra cooler and ice packs for your milk.  If you can’t get to a freezer during the day, use frozen gel packs instead of ice. According to Sarah Long, IBCLC and Director of Clinical Operations at The Milk Bank, using gel packs instead of ice helps to prevent melting ice from coming in contact with the milk. Pack milk tightly in the cooler filling any empty spaces with crumpled paper, but put it in a freezer as soon as you can.

#5: Change often

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If you’re still wearing nursing pads, know that the summer temperatures warrant changing them more frequently. The moisture from sweat, leaking breast milk and body heat can put you at risk for yeast growth. Also, don’t forget to rinse or wash your bras daily if you’ve sweated a lot.

When the pumping journey has come to an end, what do you do with your breast pump

We often have parents ask if they can donate their pumps to The Milk Bank! While we don’t accept donations of used breast pumps, we love the giving hearts of our Milk Donors & pumping parents. We came across a nice blog article that compiles recycling & donation resources based on the type of pump you have. And if you live in Central Indiana, get to know The Little Timmy Project – a nonprofit serving parents across the state that currently accepts closed system pumps!

Did you know The Milk Bank supports bereaved milk donors who do not qualify to receive a breast pump from their insurance company? Thanks to financial donors and corporate sponsors like Ameda, our Donor Team can provide resources, rentals or new breast pumps to help these lifesaving donors!

We hope these tips help you this summer. Happy Pumping!

Tags: Breastfeeding

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