9 Videos That Answer All Your Annoying Pumping Questions

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Trying to fiddle with a breast pump when you're exhausted and your breasts feel like they're about to burst is kind of like trying to assemble Ikea furniture when you're drunk: frustrating, potentially painful, and probably ineffective. Breastfeeding alone can be tricky enough, but once you try to face the mechanics of milk-extraction and storage, it's like a whole new world of confusion.
You probably got a fancy, hospital-grade breast pump from your insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Jennifer Thomas, MD, IBCLC, a pediatrician and member of the executive board on breastfeeding for the American Academy of Pediatrics told Refinery29 earlier this month. "But one of the biggest criticisms of the pump was that, it’s one thing to provide a pump, which is necessary and wonderful, but who’s going to teach people how to use it?" Dr. Thomas says. Luckily, we have the internet and some savvy lactation consultants and experienced moms who've made helpful video tutorials.
Ahead, find a selection of videos from certified lactation consultants and experts that address common pumping predicaments — from where to store your breastmilk to what to pack in a pump bag, and more. Whether you're a new mom or assisting someone who is, hopefully these videos will give you the peace of mind you need to, ahem, pump-start your breastfeeding routine.
August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month. For more coverage on nursing, pumping, or choosing not to do either, head over to our Mothership page.
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Getting To Know Your Breast Pump
This video is like Pumping 101, and will explain the basics about all the different parts and their names, plus how to actually put them all together. There are tons of breast pump brands, but this one features a popular model, the Medela Pump In Style Starter Set.
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Cleaning Your Breast Pump
Anything that comes in contact with breastmilk has to be washed thoroughly, because germs can grow quickly on any residue, according to the CDC. This quick video explains the right way to wash your pump before and after use, including how to sanitize the parts.
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Some people find that hand-expressing breast milk before or after breastfeeding can help with breast tenderness, but it's definitely a technique that takes some practice. Here, a pediatrician and certified lactation consultant explain a few methods for hand-expressing, set to a somewhat dramatic piano score.
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Dealing With A Clogged Duct
If you have to unclog a duct and you're not around your baby, using a breast pump is your best bet, according to this lactation consultant. Here, she shows how to tell when you have a clogged duct, and how to use a hand pump to fix it.
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Assembling Your Hand Pump
Because the car-battery sized machine isn't enough, you probably also left the hospital with a manual pump (much smaller; no less annoying). Here's how to put it together and deal with it.
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Storing Breastmilk
Storing your breastmilk isn't just an organizing challenge, it's a safety concern. This video breaks down a few dos and don'ts for breastmilk storage. YouTube is loaded with moms sharing heir personal tips, but keep in mind that however creative their ideas might be, safety is the most important thing to consider. This is a perishable food source, after all.
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Packing A Pumping Bag
This bag is about to be attached to your body like an extra appendage for a few months. If you pack it wisely, it can make a huge difference. In this video, a vlogger thoroughly explains the must-haves that always go in her pumping bag, and how she gets it all to fit.
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Using A Supplemental Nursing System
Some parents need or choose to use a supplemental nursing system, or SNS, which is a small tube that threads alongside the mother's nipple and into the baby's mouth to add formula, pumped or donor breastmilk to whatever is coming out during the feed. It's a great way for parents who are unable to produce enough milk to still have the experience of breastfeeding but, alas, it's also one more piece of gear to deal with. Here, a lactation consultant clearly explains how to assemble and use an SNS.
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Hands-Free Pumping
Look moms, no hands! Take some time to watch this video and learn how to hook up your breast pump so that you don't have to use either of your hands. It'll make those busy work pumping sessions way easier, and it's a fun party trick to have up your sleeve (or under your shirt, as the case may be).