Saturday, May 30, 2015

Busy Moms Pump into Bags, or How to Wash Fewer Bottles

Medela is one of the most popular breast pump makers out there, and they have some great ideas on making pumping easier.  They are the gold standard in pumps.  Which is why the fact that their bags are not the best is very surprising and dissapointing. So the question is how can we use better bags with all of the Medela awesomeness?

First, what makes the Lansinoh bags better?
  1. Double Zippers: Lansinoh bags have 2 "ziplock" style seals at the top, so if I don't get 1 quite closed, or something gets set on top of a milk bag the chance of all of our milk leaking out is less.
  2. Soft Plastic: Partly it just feels nicer, but it is also easier to handle because it is more pliable.
  3. Lay Flat for Slim Storage: Lansinoh bags are designed to lay flat to freeze so you can fit them into your freezer more easily and a flat bag will thaw faster when you need to make a bottle.
  4. Bigger: Lansinoh bags are a little bigger if you need more than 4-5 ounces occaisionlly.

"But I really like pumping directly into bags!  Or at least I like not washing extra pumping bottles," you cry.  Good news, there is a solution for us!

The Medela bag hanger is the key.  If you have a Medela pump, then at some point you have probably bought, or been given, a box of Medela bags.  That box of bags should have included 2 plastic hanger attachments, keep those with your pump for bag pumping.



You will also need a pair of scissors.  I keep a pair with my pump.  I cut my bags in sets of 2 as needed.  If you wanted to mass produce hanging Lansinoh bags for yourself you could try an exacto knife and a cutting pad, I'm not an expert on exacto knives though.

We'll start with 1 bag for this demo. Take your Lansinoh bag and gently fold the top in half, then cut a small slit, about a quarter inch in the plastic.  I like to cut along the purple line as that seems to be low enough so that the hanger reaches just below the zippers, so milk doesn't get into the zippers, but high enough that I don't worry about accidentally cutting the top zipper.





Assemble your pumping setup including hands free bustier if you use one, screwing the Medela hangers in where you would usually put a bottle.  Then open your Lansinoh bags and pull them up over the hanger with the hanger inside so milk will go into the bag.  Then slip the cut slits over the hooks on the hangers.



Start pumping!

When you are done, carefully unhook the bag from the hanger (this is where I appreciate the hands free), check the volume in the bag, press the air out of the bag and seal the zippers.  Before you forget, label the bag with the date and volume.  You now have a bag ready for the freezer!




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