Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pumping up the Jam

I started traveling for work about four weeks ago when my little buddy was 3.5 months old. I breastfed/pumped with his older sister for a year, so this again is my goal. I was lucky the first time around to have my own office and supportive co-workers who blocked my clinic schedule to allow me to pump during the work day. This time around, I’m learning on the job as I travel for work. In the last month, I’ve traveled to Ohio, Virginia, Connecticut, and throughout Massachusetts and have picked up a few tips.

First off, I couldn't find many suggestions for coolers, but I ended up finding one that I love.

My husband surprised me by purchasing "backpack fridge" and it has worked out fantastically. The
evrgrn 24 Pack Backpack has a giant slot to fit my laptop and can store my milk, tons of ice packs, my bottles as I pump throughout the day, and my lunch. Plus it's great for traveling through the airport. I take my cooler and my pump with me as carry ons and check my suitcase. And I look real cool, especially because the cooler is big enough for both my kids to fit in.

I’ve found it easiest to wipe down the bottles and pump pieces after each pump with the Medela Quick Clean Wipes and throw them in a large plastic bag. Then I keep the bottle refrigerated or in my cooler until the next pump. Once or twice a day, or when I have access to the microwave or a clean sink, I’ll scrub the bottles or steam them in the Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam bags. These bags are the best thing ever! I don’t know if they were around when I pumped with my daughter and if they were, I didn't know about them. I’m pretty sure they are better than sliced bread.

I quickly realized that it’s a good thing that I’m not shy as I pump on the road. I’ve pumped in my car twice using the nursing cover and hands free pumping bra, which by the way is my favorite prize to buy new nursing mamas. I’ve asked random people where the best place to pump and have discovered some not so bad spots. Yesterday I pumped in the surgical changing room at a hospital and I’ve taken advantage of empty office while making sales calls. I’ve also found the family bathrooms at airports to be pretty good because they have electric outlets. I’ll put toilet covers or paper towels down on the changing table to make a counter and I’m set. I also asked for a few extra sub bags and borrowed some ice from a Subway when I didn’t have cooler packs on me.

At hotels, I make sure to request a fridge and microwave if not already available. Most of the time, the mini fridges don’t have a freezer and if they do, they’re too small to fit all my freezer packs. Hotels are required to allow space in their freezers for milk and I’ve felt no shame in storing my freezer packs and milk. When I’ve been gone for more than one day, I freeze the milk before taking it back with me. Depending on how long it’s been out, I either keep it frozen when I return home or use it as soon as possible and freeze the newly pumped milk. According to the Mayo Clinic, pumped milk can be stored in an insulated cooler for up to one day. 

Another tip that I’ve found helpful is packing food. When I have 3-4 meetings scheduled per day and need to allow time to drive from location to location, any extra time in between meetings is used for pumping. Therefore, carrying a PB&J, Justin's Nut Butter packets, fruit, whole grain crackers, protein bars (I like Clif and Larabars personally) and yogurt, string cheese, or cottage cheese with me is super helpful. 

I have also discovered that I need to carry more water with me. I always have my 32-ounce CamelBak but I go through that in an hour when I’m talking a lot. I usually count on refilling it but have found water fountains a dying trend. I ended up buying 3 water bottles yesterday...I hate spending money on water.

In my experience so far, this is what I’ve discovered as my go-to pump packing list:
  • Medela Pump in StyleⓇ Advanced
  • Picture of the kiddo (I keep one in the pump to help me smile when I feel like I'm running around like a crazy person to fit the pumping in)
  • Permanent marker to label pumped milk (include name if storing in a public place)
  • Mini soap container
  • Large ziploc bags
  • evrgrn 24 pack backpack
  • Medela Quick Clean Wipes
  • Hands free pumping bra
  • Freezer packs
  • Extra batteries
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle(s)
  • Nursing cover
  • Milk storage bags (my favorite is Lansinoh)
  • Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam bags
  • Bottle brush
  • Travel soap dispenser

No comments:

Post a Comment