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've come up with 5 tips for pumping and nursing in the summer heat.
- Manage boob sweat
The bead of sweat that formed at your neck has moved down to the center of your chest. Yep, it's boob sweat, and it happens to the best of us, especially in the summer. Breast sweat can be found on the top of your breast, on the sides and underneath.
While you might want to use baby powder or breast deodorant to prevent sweating--don't. Sarah Long, The Milk Bank's clinical coordinator and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant said you should avoid applying creams and lotions. Long noted that both the chemicals in the lotions and sweat have the potential to get into 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 breast are dry before you begin a pumping session.
2. Wash your hands
If you remember nothing else, remember this: 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. If you're not going to be near soap and water, hand sanitizer will work.
For donor moms, it's recommended that you avoid any lotions or hand creams as this can increase the risk of contamination, according to Long.
3. Clean your pump parts
Heat is a breeding ground for germs, so it's vital that you wash and dry your 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 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 videodemonstrating how to clean your pump parts.
4. Keep it cool
Most of us enjoy packing the car and taking a road trip during the summer. 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.
Long said using the 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
If you're still wearing nursing pads, know that the summer temps warrants them being changed 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.
We hope these tips help you this summer.