My Top 5 Tips for Pumping When You Are Away from Baby

I created this blog post as a paid ambassador with Philips Avent and PTPA. All opinions expressed are my own.

If you’ve been following my journey with the Cub Twins, you’ll know we recently brought them home after two weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Having had such successful breastfeeding relationships with my first two children, it was always my plan to breastfeed my twins. Eternal optimist that I am, I truly believed my twins would be born big enough and well enough to room-in with me right away at the hospital and that they would start breastfeeding regularly like their older siblings did. Unfortunately—but as is often the case with multiples—the twins were admitted to the NICU after a brief but precious moment on my chest.

The NICU was extremely supportive of my desire to breastfeed my boys, who were initially given formula. But once my milk came in and I was able to pump, they were drinking my breastmilk exclusively. With guidance from the amazing nurses, they took some milk directly from the breast, and then were fed my pumped milk from bottles and for a short time from tubes inserted in their noses. Unfortunately, I came down with a cold, and for five heartbreaking days was not allowed to visit my babies.

Whether it’s because your newborns are in hospital, because you’ve returned to work or maybe because you’re on a little vacation (LUCKY DUCK!), you may need to pump your milk without the benefit of baby nearby to stimulate production. It’s especially tricky when your supply has not yet been established, such as when your newborn is in the NICU and you are home.

Here are my top 5 tips for pumping super mama milk when you’re away from baby:

1-Find a position that allows you to be completely relaxed while you pump. One of my favourite features of my Avent Comfort Double Electric Pump is that I don’t have to lean awkwardly forward while pumping to make sure my milk falls into the bottles. I can pump my milk while seated in a relaxed position at the kitchen table, enjoying a snack and some David Sedaris.

2- To stimulate milk production, have baby’s blanket or hat with you and smell it. I’m not kidding! My mom or husband would bring home my boys’ swaddle blankets at the end of the day, and I would bury my face in them to inhale that sweet new baby smell. I even slept with the blankets on my pillow. I found this both comforting on a psychological level and effective on a physiological level: sniffing away while pumping helped me make more milk.

This was the day the NICU ran out of “boy” clothes, lol!

3- Record that hungry cry and play it back! It’s not just our sense of smell that can encourage our milk production: we can use our ears too. I discovered this by accident.

While I was pumping one afternoon in the NICU, the baby next door was being bathed. NICU nurses always bathe babies before they eat, so our neighbour’s angry cries would likely have been translated as “I am starving and get me out of this damn water now!” With each wail, I could actually feel the milk surging in my breasts. When the mama next door apologized for the racket, I had to confess it’d been rather helpful—I pumped double what I normally would!

If you don’t want to make a recording of your own angry and hungry baby on your phone, I bet the sounds of just about any baby on YouTube would do the trick. And don’t worry that the sound of your pump will drown out your recorded cries: the Avent Comfort Double Electric Pump is astonishingly quiet. Having used pumps that my husband insists sound like a cow mooing, this is a true delight!

4- Don’t focus on the numbers. Watching each drop of milk and obsessing over how many milliliters you’ve produced so far just causes stress. The soft massage cushions that attach to the flanges of the Avent Comfort Double Electric Pump are comfortable on my breasts and allow me to turn my attention elsewhere during pumping sessions. (So much so that I’ve come close to overflowing my bottles because I’m so engrossed in my book!) It’s also important to remember that what may look like only a few drops is actually plenty for a newborn baby, especially when you are first pumping colostrum.

5- Believe in yourself and your body’s ability to provide for your baby, and don’t hesitate to ask an expert. When I realized I wasn’t going to be at my babies’ sides 24 hours a day, one of the most reassuring things I did was speak to the lactation consultant in the NICU. She recommended an ideal pumping schedule for our specific scenario, and assured me that even if the twins weren’t constantly in my arms, my body would know what to do and my milk would come in. Lactation consultants aren’t just for breastfeeding: they know all about pumping and bottle feeding too.

My Favourite Things About the Avent Comfort Double Electric Pump

The unique design of this pump helps you catch every last drop of liquid gold: the milk flows from the breast right into the receptacle without you needing to lean forward and without pooling in the flanges. I find with other designs that precious teaspoons of milk are lost, dribbling out only when I disassemble the pump parts for cleaning. The soft massage cushions allow for gentle, comfortable suction without hard plastic in contact with my skin.

With my new reality of feed-pump-repeat, I truly appreciate how easy it is to take apart and clean this pump. There are not a ton of parts to constantly put back together, nor are there tons of nooks and crannies that take forever to dry.

The Avent is a closed system pump, which means the pump mechanism and the milk collection unit are completely separate: there is no risk of contaminating the pump mechanism. (Find out more about closed versus open system pumps.)

The noise produced by this pump is surprisingly discreet. While I am lucky to be home with my boys, I can see how you working moms would appreciate the low hum of this pump compared to the loud “moo” of others, especially if you have to block off your cubicle at work to pump. It even has a long enough cord, so you don’t have to glue yourself to the nearest outlet.

The Avent Comfort Double Electric Pump is also lightweight and portable, and it comes with a sleek transport bag.

Find out more about the Avent Comfort Double Electric Pump today!

>>>Enter the Giveaway<<<

Enter to win one (1) Philips Avent Anti-Colic Bottle with AirFree Vent Essentials Gift Set, valued at $87.99. Contest closes May 6th.


Avent April Giveaway

33 responses to “My Top 5 Tips for Pumping When You Are Away from Baby”

  1. Nancy

    Your information packed post is sure to help new mothers get their breastfeeding journey off to a great start.

  2. Katie

    Currently using a moo pump at work and the noise level is something that stresses me out! The mother’s room I use is next to a conference room and I’ve had people tell me they know when I’m in there due to the noise. Congrats on your babies!

  3. Karina z

    I love this tips. Definetly i will share it with tje.ms in.nicu ( i work there) happy to know that the twins are home now 😉

  4. Helen P

    I learned about the baby cries when I was out at a store one time. I heard a baby crying and my milk let down; I started leaking badly. It was kinda funny. Great post though for when I start back to work.

  5. Elyse Gamsby

    I can’t wait to give birth to put to practice all your tips 🙂

  6. Courtney

    Great tips! Thank you for sharing and congrats on your twins

  7. Bailey

    Yay for babies being home! I can’t imagine how hard it would be to not be able to see them. I’m hoping baby #2 will take a bottle so I can get some alone time or one on one time with my first born – who screamed at the sight of a bottle!

  8. April

    My NICU baby never learned to breastfeed so I exclusively pumped for him for 13 months, until I got pregnant again (high risk) and had to stop. Pumping is a lot of work and dedication but so worth it for the immune boost those tiniest babies get! I used a Lactina Select and discovered I’d let down for the sound of a vacuum cleaner! It really helps to find humor in it.

  9. Heather

    Oh look at your sweet babies!! I remember the challenges of trying to pump! That’s great that you were able to follow through on your desire to feed your babies with your milk!

  10. Elizabeth Robinson

    Thanks for all the good information. Thanks for the giveaway.

  11. Barbara

    Thanks for the tips. A great giveaway and thanks for the chance.

  12. Alicia

    Congrats on the twins and thanks for the tips. I wasn’t a full time pumper with my first born but it was nice to have some milk on hand and let Daddy take over the feeds too. Baby #2 coming in September!

  13. Kimm Coleman

    So many great tips! Congrats on Cub Twins! Love seeing the photos,

  14. Maria

    These are great tips. Your twins are adorable

  15. ha ha Hearing a baby cry and lactating is no joke! My 5 week old started crying on the way home from the library the other day. I told her to stop crying because it was making my boobs hurt! lol

  16. Megan

    How fantastic it would be to use a relatively quite and gentle pump! With my first, my husband was keen to feed the baby on the weekends, leaving me pumping multiple times a day. Needless to say, I’d be quite sore after about the third session. We’re expecting number 2 soon. Maybe it’s time to consider a new pump.

    Congratulations on the safe arrival and homecoming of your twins!

  17. Betty S

    thank you for the information. This will be a big help with our next one

  18. melanie messing

    Great tips that Ill be using in the future 🙂

  19. Linda

    This would be a wonderful present for a friend of mine who delivers this summer.

  20. Kate

    Congrats on the twins! Pumping is hard work, kudos to you for sticking with it. I had to pump due to low milk supply bit it looks like the Philips Avent pump is superior to what I was using.

  21. Sunshine H

    Breastfeeding was such a struggle for us. I’m thankful that one of my pr-natal class instructors mentioned that babies up to 3 months can learn to breast feed. We had to do a lot of bottle feeding until about 9 weeks when we finally started to latch on, and by 4 months were breastfeeding exclusively.

  22. Amelie B

    Thanks for the great tips! I will be able to use those when my next son is born when I have to go back to work!

  23. Sonya Morris

    Great tips!

  24. Sheri

    I love the tips. It’s always nice to hear hands-on approaches and tips from other moms

  25. Heidi Bittner

    I’m going to put these tips to use. With baby #3 on the way I’m hoping to be more successful this time with pumping and bf.

  26. Linda Abrams

    Thanks for the great tips! My duaghter is pregnant with her first.

  27. Sarah

    Very interesting to learn how listening to other crying infants can help produce more milk. 🙂

  28. […] I am also using the Avent Comfort Double Electric pump, and you can read about that experience here! […]

  29. Natalie L

    Great tips. I would love to win this.

  30. Idong

    Thanks for the very useful tips. ……all so true. I also found that warm Lipton tea helped with my milk supply.

  31. Melinda

    Congratulations on your twins. I would love to win the Avent Electric pump.

  32. Rebecca F

    This is actually super interesting. I hadn’t considered this pump at all before reading this, but it has shot to the top of my list now. It’s a serious contender. Thanks for all the great info!

  33. […] sterilizer to easily sterilize bottles, pacifiers and pump parts. (You might want to offer the Avent Comfort Double Electric Pump too, depending on budget.) The bottle warmer makes it easier to prepare a bottle of expressed milk […]

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Welcome to my Wolf Pack!

My name is Lindsay and I am a 40-year-old mama of four trying to live an eco-friendly, budget-friendly life! I am a substitute teacher and Child Passenger Safety technician in Calgary, Alberta. Join me on my adventures!

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