This post was brought to you in partnership with Aeroflow Breastpumps. Thank-you for supporting the sponsors that help keep Momma Society going. :)
There are so many things I wish I would have known before becoming a mom. The little details that your doctor does not tell you and your mom friends gloss over because they assume you already know. One thing that has had the biggest learning curve for me has been breastfeeding and pumping.
With Brody, my pump sat in a box untouched for a solid nine months. I was so intimidated by the thought of figuring out how to use it that I avoided it. It meant for a solid 9 months I was never away from Brody for more than a few hours—self care went down the drain.
When I found out I was expecting Isla, I promised myself I would figure out pumping. I needed to have the option for a mom’s night out or a date night with my husband. I needed to take better care of myself and sometimes that would mean leaving my two little loves behind for more than 2 hours. I am grateful I made this promise to myself.
From picking out the perfect pump to storing the milk to finding a pumping routine and everything in between—it has been quite a process, but one that I am so glad I tackled. I no longer feel like there is a ball and chain stuck to my foot when I need a break. And although I truly enjoy nursing my little ones, it is a relief knowing I have a stash of milk in the freezer should I no longer be able to do so.
Here are 6 Things I have learned about pumping through the process.
1. Milk can be stored up to 6 months in the freezer.
As a first time mom, I was clueless about the guidelines for pumping and milk storage. When we finally tried a bottle with Brody at almost a year old, I had to ask friends how to defrost milk. Did I microwave it? Did I leave it on the counter? I was clueless (psst---don’t microwave it). Similar questions came up this time with Isla when I was determined to build a freezer. According to CDC, milk is good for up to 6 months in the freezer. I’ve been taking advantage of the days where I have extra milk and pumping on those days to create my freezer stash.
2. Health insurance policies offer coverage for breast pumps.
Ever since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, Insurance companies are required to cover breastfeeding support and supplies. The coverage options and selection for breast pumps varies greatly from policy to policy and company to company, but if you have health insurance you are bound to have some sort of benefit relating to breast pumps.
3. You can get a breast pump before baby arrives.
There is no need to wait until your little one is born to order your pump. Add this to your to-do list 30-60 days before your due date. Some insurance companies will allow you to order the pump at anytime during your pregnancy, while others will require you to be within 30 days of your due date.
4.There are services that handle the insurance process for you.
I wish I would have known about this before I spent way too much time waiting on hold with my insurance company, then being left with vague instructions on what would or would not be covered Aeroflow Breastpumps is a company that handles the whole process for you. Their breast pump specialists find out and decipher all of your insurance policy’s guidelines on pump coverage. They then help you pick the perfect pump based on your needs and ship the pump to you. They completely streamline the process of obtaining a free pump through insurance. They also have an awesome nursing shop filled with breastfeeding gear.
5. You can use an HSA account to pay for breast pump supplies.
Those handy health savings accounts can be used to pay for additional gear you use when pumping. From milk storage bags to bottles to extra flanges and parts—you can use an HSA account for a bit of tax savings.
6. Freeze your milk in storage bags laying flat.
Often it is the most obvious things that catch me off guard—like how to store your milk. After my first few weeks of pumping, I realized that the milk storage bags were taking over my freezer. There was no easy way to contain them since I was freezing them upright and they would turn into a frozen ball of milk. It finally dawned on me to start freezing them laying flat. Once they were frozen, they were easy to file in a storage container. Now they are stored in order of pump date and I am able to fit so many more bags of milk in the freezer.
Psst---Here's a handy chart to Pin or Print that helps you figure out how to store milk!
*Thank-you, Aeroflow Breastpumps for sponsoring this post. To learn more about their service providing breastpumps through insurance be sure to visit Aeroflow Breastpumps.
What has surprised you most about breastfeeding? How have you built a milk freezer stash?