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When the surrogacy journey starts, breast pumping is usually the last thing on a surrogate’s mind. But as the delivery’s big day draws near, many questions begin to pop up coming up to the postpartum period. And breast pumping is one of them. “How do I breast pump?” and “Can I breast pump while on the go?”
For some surrogates, pumping is a non-issue and they are ready and willing. But for many surrogates, there are negative emotions surrounding pumping.
Some have struggled to pump successfully in the past, and some understandably are ready to return to their everyday lives with their families after a month of IVF and pregnancy. With support and knowledge to make pumping more user-friendly, here are some tips we’ve put together from the world of breast milk feeding.
If your baby is a full-term and healthy breastfeeding baby, wait a few weeks before starting.
However, if your baby is ill, preterm or unable to breastfeed, make sure to breast pump as soon as possible after the birth of your baby (between one to five hours of delivery).
Each situation is unique to a surrogate mom and her baby. Consider planning your breast pumping sessions with what works best for both of you.
It’s common for surrogates to vacation with their families during their postpartum recovery, and pumping on vacation doesn’t have to be a hassle.
Here are some tips and products that have made my own experiences as a pumping surrogate mama completely doable:
When packing your post-surrogacy vacation suitcase, consider whether your clothes are going to be easy or difficult to pump in. Many of the maternity clothes you already have (let’s be honest in the first weeks postpartum, we are almost ALL still we
aring our maternity clothes) will work well for pumping. Here are some examples:
While what you wear on the outside can make pumping on the go easier, what you wear underneath is far more important. When it comes to pumping bras, we’ve come a long way! Hands-free pumping bras are the way to go, and one amazing example of pumping-friendly undergarments proven to work is the Dairy Fairy's bra, The Pippa.
The Pippa is as beautiful as she is functional, comfortable and supportive. With super-soft stretch lace, light padding for support in the lower cup, and a very flattering silhouette she is the full package.
This is my favorite bra for pumping on the go, and also for those late-night pumps. It offers a very stable hands-free pumping solution and has clip-down cups making pump flange set up easier than ever. She works beautifully with the Spectra kit, Medela, and many more.
One of the biggest challenges surrogate moms face pumping on the go is how much they have to carry around to get the job done.
Moment of truth: no surrogate wants to be caught dead carrying a diaper bag when she is NOT the one raising a baby right now, and we’ve already done our time as parents carrying the ugly bulky diaper bag. A diaper bag is not ideal for carrying pumping supplies, and when caught carrying one we’re constantly asked: “Where is the baby?”.
My Sarah Wells pumping bag has been my best friend on my journeys as an exclusive pumper. These ultra-chic bags are life for me, and there are styles to match anyone’s preferences.
My personal favorite for pumping on the go is the Kelly Backpack. She is just the right size for pumping on the go, and the beauty is in her details. She can convert into a handbag (but the straps are stashed out of the way when you’re not using them). The Kelly Backpack also has a padded pocket that fits my Spectra S1 pump beautifully or when I’m carrying my smaller portable pump (more to follow on that!)
I can use that pocket to store my Sarah Wells Cold Gold Cooler, which keeps my breast milk cool for 8 hours with no problem (and even longer if I have extra ice packs). She fits my Sarah Wells Pumparoo, a handy little pouch with a waterproof compartment that fits all my wet pumping accessories in between pumping, another compartment for my nursing pads, and a detachable drying mat for after I wash my pump accessories.
She has several smaller compartments to organize my wallet, keys, pumping cover, snacks for my kids, sunglasses, and much more. She also has the most comfortable straps I have ever felt on a backpack, and they unclip so you could attach to a stroller if you still have a toddler of your own to chase after the postpartum.
You can’t get very far when you’re attached to a cord in a wall socket. There is just no need for that these days! You can and should get a portable breast pump, and there are options strong enough to rival hospital grade pumps.
The Spectra S1 is a chargeable lightweight breast pump that works every bit as well as a Medela Symphony at a fraction of the cost and weight. She fits beautifully in any Sarah Wells pumping bag, and she even has a night light for those middle of the night pumping session. Plus the kit that comes with the Spectra has very few pieces to clean.
There is also a new pump on the market known as The Baby Buddha, and there is literally a wait list to get these babies! This pump is so compact you can wear it around your neck and be 100% mobile as you pump. Just one small warning to those very sensitive pumpers out there, this is a VERY strong pump. People who pump on the highest level of suction on the Spectra S1 generally only pump on a 1 or 2 setting on The Baby Buddha. I’m still not sure what happens beyond setting 3 but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be pleasant, less is more with this efficient and powerful pump.
You also may need to convert to using a kit from either Spectra or Medela with The Baby Buddha as the flanges only currently come in one size, and the kit has ma
ny small parts so it’s a bit laborious to clean. I use my Spectra kit with it (make sure you use the backflow protectors!) and it works great. Also, you can keep it charged on the go using a portable cell phone battery charger, it comes with a USB cord.
I just returned from a trip of pumping all over Disneyland, and on past adventures, I have pumped in Lake Tahoe, at the beach, and I pump while I work.
I’m a busy working mom so I don’t have time to slow down and I still want to do everything I can to provide milk for my surrogate family so here is how I stay sane:
Being a pumping surrogate doesn’t need to slow you down or infringe upon your family time. You can have a wonderful recovery period and even a vacation while still providing milk. Yes, it is a devotion of time and energy but if there is one thing us moms do well it is multi-tasking. With the right tools, pumping time doesn’t have to just be pumping time. Wishing all you super surrogates out there a joyful recovery whether you’re pumping, resting, vacationing, or all of the above. You ladies are incredible for all that you have done for others.
If you’re considering using a surrogate for your journey to parenthood, contact us to speak to our friendly care coordinators for more information.
For 30 years, intended parents like you have been coming to the Egg Donation & Surrogacy Program for one thing: a successful pregnancy. Whether from the Los Angeles area or halfway around the world, you’ll feel confident working with one of the most experienced egg donor and surrogate agencies in the world as an intended parent. You’ll be guided through the selection of an egg donor or surrogate every step of the way, from initial consult to pregnancy.