How I pump at a birth


In 2010 when I became a doula, my daughter was 4 months old and exclusively breastfed.  I had a Medela Pump In Style that came in a nice bag and had a hands-free option.  I brought it to a few of my first births, which happened to be home births.  It was quiet, easy and fast to use.  Then I started working with families who were giving birth in the hospital.  I quickly discovered in that setting there was not a good place to pump.  I remember thinking, "oh the bathroom would be fine, hospitals have outlets everywhere!"  Apparently not in the bathroom.  I remember the birth I discovered this at.  Instead of pumping, I had to hand express milk so I was not engorged. I needed to figure something else out!


I bought a battery pack and a car adapter for my pump. If I needed privacy I could go out to my car, or I could pump in the bathroom.  I had power!  This worked great for the remainder of my first year of nursing my daughter.  Eventually she stopped nursing as much so I stopped pumping and passed off my pump to a friend. 

Fast forward a few years to after my son was born.  Here I was again, a doula with a 4 month old and having to pump.  Only this time I had the Ameda Purely Yours  electric pump that my insurance provided.   It did not come with a fancy bag, or a car adapter.  It is noisy, and not very effective.  It was fine for at home, and helped me set aside milk that I could donate, but as far as taking it to a birth, that was the last thing I wanted to do. 


I began to read more about manual breast pumps.  I thought my hand would cramp up and that it would be a major hassle.  However the more I read, the more I wanted to try using one.  I picked up a Lansinoh Manual Pump, and gave it a shot.  Never have I had a pump work so fast and effectively.  It was exactly what I needed! No noise, cords, wires or battery packs.  No hunting down outlets in hidden areas.  I can pump where I feel most comfortable, which is still usually the bathroom. But mostly, I no longer have to carry around a huge bag full of pump supplies.  My breast pump fits nice and neat in my doula bag, and I just toss the bags of milk in my lunch bag with an ice pack.