Pumping in any weather is enough to drive many a new mom to the brink of tears, but by far, the worst months to pump (exclusively or only while at the office) are those bitterly cold winter months.
Being comfortable is vital to relaxation and helping to elicit a let down, so being too hot or too cold can negatively affect your ability to let down and thus collect a good yeild.
Here are a few tips for pumping in the cold:
A front opening button-up shirt with a nursing tank or cammy underneath will keep any excess skin covered which will help keep you warm while you pump.
Turn The Heat Up
For moms who work and have an allocated space, having a small floor heater to warm up the room is a real help in keeping warm, for the moms who are banished to bathroom stalls to pump, carry a small wheaty bag or hot water bottle in your handbag, before you head off to pump pop it in the microwave and stick it under your breast or over your tummy while pumping.
Heating Up The Night
If you are just beginning your pumping journey you will most likely still have MOTN pump sessions, using a manual pump (quieter) and staying in bed with a gown or blanket draped over your shoulders keeps you cosy and a bonus is that in the low temperatures leaving your milk beside the bed saves you from a trip to the kitchen. Freshly pumped milk can last between 6 and 8 hours out of the fridge, if you are not wanting to take a chance with your precious liquid gold then a cooler with ice packs beside the bed will keep your milk fresh until morning.
Try popping your flanges in the sterilizer or on a hot water bottle for a few minutes to warm them up before a session, just make sure to test the temperature so you don’t burn yourself.
Never place you flanges in the microwave unless in a microwave sterilizer with the required amount of water, also never leave your flanges on a heater or any surface which can melt the plastic.
Taking a nice warm bath or shower before a session not only relaxes you, but keeps your body temperature up while pumping.
Warm Hands, Warm Heart
Nothing in the world can send shivers deep into your bones like cold hands on your warm skin!
Pumping with gloves can prove a little a tricky for some, especially with a manual pump, but if you can master it, then your golden! If however that proves a little too difficult, then give your hands a good wash in some warm water right before your sessions.
You should always wash your hands before a session.
Winter sure has its own unique challenges for pumping moms, so keeping warm, continuing with adequate fluid intake and making sure you eat healthy, well balanced meals as well as taking your usual prenatal vitamins with additional lypospheric vitamin C and as many Vit C rich foods as you can when you start to feel you are coming down with something, will help keep you healthy through the winter months.
If however you do find yourself sick at some stage, you can contact a LLL Leader with a Hales Medical Book to ensure that any medication you may have to take is safe, remember that majority of doctors and pharmacists err on the side of caution and a LLL Leader will be able to give you the safety ratings regarding that medication or any alternatives you can take instead if there is any risk.