***Warning- there are breast/cleavage shots below, if you are easily offended or don't want to see, just close the page***
As I'm sure you all know, I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. Want to know a funny thing? When I took my breastfeeding class a few months before Nugget arrived, I told the class leader that my goal was to be a super-efficient pumper by 4 weeks, so I could return to work before 6 weeks. I'm certain the lady teaching the class thought I was a nut.
The joke was entirely on me. I didn't have any idea what I was getting into.
The first time I had to pump, I was anxious and cried because it was 1 week after Nugget was born. I had to start pumping so soon because my milk supply was taking forever to come in fully, and she was a slow gainer. Thank God we had an amazing pediatrician and nurse practitioner that were both breastfeeding supporters and educators in the community. Formula supplementation never even crossed their lips.
There are so many things about nursing that I never knew existed, never expected to make it through, and most importantly, how much my daughter loves nursing- it's our mommy and me time. When she's sick, it's her comfort. How can I deny her something that is so perfectly composed for her? I never expected to be so in love with nursing my daughter, never expected to fight so hard to be able to nurse through so many problems, and never expected to nurse past one year.
Well, in order to be successful with nursing as a full-time working mother, I had to become an efficient pumper by the time I returned to work at about 8.5-9wks postpartum. Since, I started pumping at 1 week post-partum, I began to create a decent freezer stash (and oversupply). But, the thing about pumping is, it's really inconvenient to be holding the flanges with both your hands; they don’t just suck in place. Especially inconvenient when you've got a newborn to tend to, or even just be able to eat a sandwich with two hands while you've got a couple minutes to yourself while pumping before baby wakes.
Most women buy hands-free pumping bras. I was on an unpaid maternity leave and could not justify spending more than $30-40 for something that may or may not hold up the girls properly while pumping. So, the OT in me had to bust out the creativity and come up with something on my own.
So onto google I went in search of something I could buy cheaply that was quality – I admit that I was a Pinterest avoider at that point, I knew I’d be sucked into the vortex of everything that is Pinterest. These were my options:
One of my colleagues was a pumping mother and warned me that there would be the occasional interruption while pumping and she has had people walk in on her a couple times. So, the idea of a bra only didn’t seem like the best choice, just in case I got walked in on. So, tank top it was; I have a million tank tops. I could pump with my back to the door and no one would see anything. No biggie at all! Here’s what I did, instructions on the photos!
One more thing that's so amazing about these tops, is that if you have one of the "hands free" battery operated pumps (the clip on kind or even the backpack kind), you can clip the pump directly onto the shirt.
Step 1: Mark the points where your nipples SHOULD point at attention.
Step 2: Fold like a princess seam in prep for cutting
Step 3: Cut slits or holes. This is a personal preference.
I ended up preferring the straight slit method after making about 10 of these.
Step 4: Make sure the flanges fit the slit/holes
Step 5: Get your pump on mama!