Saturday, March 2, 2013

DIY Hands Free Pumping Shirt

Ramblings of Mitzy DIY Bra Cami Pump Shirt
***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:

The top two are pinterest ideas.  
I only owned one of each: a nursing bra and sports bra.
Rubber bands and velcro- my boobs are entirely too heavy for.
The bottom two are the typical tube bra type hands-free items 
on the market- which aren't guaranteed to hold up giant milkies.

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.
Circular version

Step 4: Make sure the flanges fit the slit/holes

Step 5: Get your pump on mama!

So what's the hold up? Have you made you one yet?!


  1. So much great help for moms to breastfeed as both breasts are used and this can help in nights where u dont need to remove the top or tank everytime to pump and also in planes this helps.

    1. What's even more awesome is that it's super easy to nurse one side and pump the other when you're wearing this top.
      The reason I made it is because I was walked in on so many times when I was pumping while working! LOL

  2. This is an awesome idea for those you need it! I never used a pump - I had so much milk I would be able to fill a few 4 oz bottles a day - but I never even used them. I never had any special nursing tops or bras, either - I just whipped them out (so to speak!). Not sure now, looking back, if I was trying to be the ULTIMATE Earth Mother, or was just lazy! Anyway, I nursed for 2 1/2 years. Never wanted to join La Leche League because I been told they were a "bunch of fanatics". I turned out to be more "fanatic" than all of them. My mom once suggested that I at least keep a bottle or 2 of formula in the house, "just in case the baby needs it". My reaction: "Formula? Are you CRAZY?" As though she had suggested I keep a bottle or 2 of rat poison in the house. Oh, those were the days! LOL!

  3. What a great idea and so simple and cheap too. Wish I'd thought of this when I was breast feeding. Thanks for sharing.

  4. What a great idea and so simple and cheap too. Wish I'd thought of this when I was breast feeding. I'll pass this on to my two daughters who are both due next Spring. Thanks for sharing.

  5. My niece is a new mother in her early 20's and made the comment that "it looks like a GRANDMA bra!" when she saw some that were online last weekend. lol She has always worn tank top, layer's them. This is absolutely perfect for her! So clever, thanks for sharing it!

  6. I think it is wonderful when a mom is able to create something that works for her and perhaps for others. It shows how mothers can rise to the challenge.

  7. what a great and unique idea.I didnt breasfeed too long due to health issues,so glad to see others to succeed.

  8. what a unique idea to breastfeeding moms,i wasnt able to breatfeed,but will pass it to my friend who is looking for more cheap ideas to hands free breastfeeding so she can work on pc from home.

  9. What an awesome idea!! I wish I knew it when I was breastfeeding!

  10. Very creative! I nursed my boys for the first 6 months and actually asked to leave a restaurant one night. I was completely covered and you couldn't even tell there was a baby under the blanket! They asked me to feed the baby in the restroom, my husband stood up (very big man) and told them, "when you eat your dinner in the bathroom, I will excuse that remark" is what he said to the waiter! It was awful !!

  11. That's terrible I worked as a waiter for years,I would rather see a woman breastfeeding,than a drunk man vomiting at my station.

  12. this is a great idea, wish i had thought of it when i was breast feeding, i think having to pump this way also helps in time the mommies, not have to keep getting undress .. thanks for sharing @tisonlyme143

  13. What an easy and simple solution. Thank you for sharing....

  14. simply genius! you could totally sell these too- you are so nice to share this tut with us all, thanx

  15. oh my goodness, this is so cool! thanks for sharing!!! :)

  16. This seems like a great idea for moms that breastfeed.They can use it anywhere.

  17. I admire your never-give-up attitude. knowing what your baby needs most makes all the difference. pump on!

  18. amaizng tips. its so easy to make and it looks great too. i have to try it out soon as its getting expensive buying it from the stores.

  19. Great idea going to try it out tonight!


Thanks a bunch for your comment love!