Well, greenies, as if I haven’t blogged about it enough, today I’m going to share about my “green” pumping and baby bottle routine. When I first started my journey as a working/pumping mom after Avery was born, I was a bit overwhelmed with the process (read here). But after a lot of researching, trial and error, and of course, some spilt milk, I feel like I’ve settled into a routine that works for me, and that is “green” as well.
As you know, I’m onto my second child now, Mila, who is almost 4 months old, and so after two years of pumping for Avery, I’ve tweaked a few things, and this is the new routine I the one I currently use now that I’m back to work in my job as a preschool teacher.
Let’s take a glimpse of what a day in the life of this pumping
mama is like…
Learn what supplies I use, how I make the routine work, and even how the milk is given to Mila in this week’s video…
Now before we get started with my pumping routine, let me tell you a little bit about the supplies that make it work. Sorry to those long-time followers of my blog, as some of this information will be a repeat of what I’ve posted about before, but the pictures are new, and if I’m still doing the same thing, then you know it must be working!
The star player in this routine is obviously my pump. I ended up going with this pump by Hygeia, which is one of the greenest pumps around because after I’m done using it, I can return the mechanical portion of it to the company, and they will reuse it with another mom or recycle it for you… No worries, all the parts that touched or were even remotely near my milk stay with me. The pump’s official name is Hygiea Enjoye LBI Rechargeable Battery Pump (I got the Deluxe Tote Set for $319). Another benefit is that all parts that come in contact with the milk are BPA/DEHP free. You can read more here.
Okay, so that now you know which pump I use, let me break it down for you:
Here’s the pump, flanges, and tubing.
Here’s where you turn it on, and you can control
the speed and strength as well as where the tubing connects to the pump.
These are the flanges…you can probably figure out where
these bad boys go!
The tubing connects here in the back, and it is what controls
the suction…the milk does not go through these!
Now since this pump is not hands-free, I needed something to make it that way because this mama loves to multitask! So I purchased something called an Organic PumpEase Nursing Bra ($42) that can make my pump hands free, and it’s been awesome. Here’s a PG-rated view of it in action…
It hooks around in the front like a strapless bra…with
little slits in it.
The slits hold the flanges, then BAM!
Hands-free pumping fun!
Now that you know the pumping supplies I use, here’s how I make it work for me…
1. Before I leave in the morning for work, I always feed Mila one last time. Then about an hour later, after I’ve dropped her off with our sitter (her grandma and my aunt alternate days), commuted to work, and got all my things put away, it’s time for my first pump.
Let me welcome you to my pumping station, which is located in the bathroom in my classroom. I feel so lucky to be able to have the convenience and privacy of this room, and although it’s not all roses and butterflies…since it’s a bathroom for preschoolers, I still love that I’m able to close the door and pump in privacy.
My pumping station…in the kid
bathroom of my classroom!
I use a simple TV tray to put my laptop
on and a chair to sit in while I pump.
It reads: “STOP. It’s Avery Time! (aka…I’m pumping!)
Come back in a few minutes.” Avery’s quote reads: “Yep, that
milk is for me!”
2. When it’s time for this first pump, I bring in my laptop and set it all on a TV tray while I pump. Now it’s time to put on the hands-free bra, hook up the flanges, and connect it to the pump.
Time to turn it on.
The pumping view from above.
Here are the goods from my morning pump. Now it’s time to transfer and store.
Now that I have the milk pumped, it’s time to store it. My head was spinning originally when I was pumping for Avery because nearly all the breast milk storage I found was plastic, and just as Avery loves to say these days, “It’s not my favourite!” So that’s when I got creative and called on a good friend…glass mason jars. Inspired by some “breast milk storage pots” I’d seen at Babies R’Us, I figured why not just use some glass mason jars? So I got some from the store…a whopping $7 for 12 small jars, and I also use large mason jars for my day-to-day breast milk storage, as seen below.
If I ever need to freeze breast milk, I use these smaller bottles.
My little mason jars in action…holding some frozen milk in
3. Now that the milk is stored, I break out this handy dandy little drawstring bag my aunt sewed for me (not for this purpose, but I’ve found it works great!), and I put the flanges and bottles in it.
My drawstring storage bag.
I keep these parts in this bag so that everyone doesn’t have to see my breast pump parts every time they open the fridge in my room. On another note, I do not wash the flanges or bottles from the pumping after each pump. I read that by refrigerating them, you don’t have to worry about bacteria growth, which works out great because I do not have time to wash them after each pump. Instead, I just wash them when I get home.
Then I place the milk in the fridge and the pump parts
, which are hidden from view in the bag. Don’t worry, vegan
friends, that Kraft Ranch dressing bottle is not mine-lol!
On a side note, usually once a week, I try to remember and charge up the pump. Otherwise, the battery will die in the middle of the pump, which has happened way too many times already!
4. Then it’s time to teach! Fast forward 4 hours later, and it’s time to pump again, this time during my lunch break. So off I go to my pumping station with my laptop and lunch. Let the multitasking begin. During this second pump at lunch, I pump for about 15-20 minutes.
Milk from the lunch pumping session.
5. Next, it’s time to …clean all the pump parts from the day. I like to let them air dry on my favourite “grass drying rack”…I love it! So green and cute. Its official name is Boon Inc. Grass Countertop Drying Rack in Spring Green and White ($15) which you can find here.
I wash them with Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap.
My fun, green drying rack.
6. Then I teach, teach, and teach some more. If Mila was younger, I probably would pump one more time, but now that she’s 4 months old, these two pumps give me just the right amount of milk to get her through the next day. When it’s time to go home for the day, I pack up my milk and head home. Now back when I was first pumping for Avery, I would put it in an insulated bag to keep it fresh, but these days, it’s only out of the fridge for 20 minutes or so on my drive home, so I just stick it in my bag and call it good…gotta love how laid back things get with a second kid!
7. Next, I drive home, pick up the girls and then head home. I unpack all my food/dishes from the day and transfer the pumped milk from the day to the fridge.
8. The next morning, I stick the jar of pumped milk from the day before in Avery’s diaper bag, along with one glass bottle that milk will be put in throughout the day. So every day, she gets milk from the day before (on Tuesday, she gets Monday’s milk, on Wednesday, she gets Tuesday’s milk, etc.), except for Monday…for this day, she gets the milk I pumped Friday and kept in the fridge over the weekend.
You can’t forget to pack the milk in the diaper bag.
One glass bottle makes its way to the diaper bag as well.
In case you’re wondering why I use glass baby bottles, I feel like it’s safer. I can trust that no pesky chemical is going to come leaking out, or I don’t have to worry about the properties changing of the food inside of it if the temperature changes. Plus, after months and even years of using it, it can still come out looking sparkly clean, not cloudy and scratched like plastic.
Now, if you look on the “green market” of bottles, there are some pretty fancy, schmancy glass bottles out there, some of which cost $15-20 per bottle! Ouch. I love being green, but not that much! That’s when I began to research again, and I came upon some bottles that I always kept seeing on my bottle shopping expeditions, but I always brushed aside…Evenflo Classic Glass bottles. These little bottles are simple enough, they don’t have any fancy claims about mimicking the breast, or more preferred by new moms, but they are called “classic” for a reason. They’ve been around for 60 years! Also, I found some rocking reviews of them on Amazon.com that really encouraged me to give them a try. I enjoy using their affordable, simple, glass baby bottles (3 bottles for $7!). These are the bottles I used for Avery, and they’re still holding strong for Mila, and I continue to enjoy knowing I don’t have to worry about any chemicals leaking into the milk.
Curious how long pumped milk stays fresh? Here’s the guide that taught me, and here’s the cliff notes:
Room temperature: 3-6 hours
Refrigerated milk: 8 days
Just thawed refrigerator milk: 24 hours
Frozen milk: 3-6 months
One last thing about milk…how do you thaw it? This part baffled me for a while. I obviously knew never to microwave the breast milk, but I was confused as to how I (or Avery’s sitters) would warm it up quickly and safely? I thought for sure I needed a bottle warmer, but after talking with others and experimenting, I learned that you so do not! Well, if you have a plastic bottle, maybe you could try one, but here’s an easy, green, and cheap way that I warmed up a bottle for Mila.
My easy, green “bottle warming method”.
Just bring a 1/2 cup of water to a light simmer on the stovetop (or in the microwave for 1 minute) and then pour it into a glass measuring cup. I then place the fridge temperature bottle in the warmed water and allow it to warm to the desired temperature, making sure it’s not too hot or too cold.
“It’s just right! Thanks, mom…but by the way, why
are you taking my picture and not giving me milk?!”
One last thing, if I ever need to use some frozen breast milk, I thaw it out by placing it in the fridge the night before. Usually, it’s thawed and ready to go the next day.
Well, there you have it, my entire green pumping and baby bottle routine! I probably went on and on with lots of details, but when I was entering the vast world of bottles and pumps, my head was literally spinning, and I wanted nothing more than to find mama, who was going through the same thing who I could learn from. So I hope this helps someone out there. Got any other pumping tricks or favourite green bottles? Post them below, we’re all still learning in this…
Nursing or pumping for a toddler? Here’s a post I did when Avery was a toddler… “Nursing & Pumping for a Toddler”…
Nursing a 17-month-old= a whole new ball game! ( :