The Pumping Glossary

Your go-to guide for breast pumping lingo.

The Pumping Glossary
*We’ve partnered with bamboobies to share strategies to help you as a working, pumping mom. “Breastfeeding” is such a lovely, straightforward term: to feed a baby from the breast. To nuzzle at the bosom. So clear! So easy to comprehend (even if not always as easy to do). When you move to other breastfeeding terms, however, things start to get more complicated. The vocabulary starts sounding more like Harry Potter spells than things associated with milk making: colostrum; prolactin; mastitis (…poof?!). Then you get to breast pumping terminology and things get really weird, as if someone changed the language setting on your TV. Flange? Duckbill? Membrane? Since when did nourishing your baby require such code? Fear not, mamas and mamas-to-be, we who have gone before you are here to help decipher. We’ve partnered with our friends at Bamboobies (talk about a word you didn’t know about before breastfeeding) to talk about pumps, baby, and sort through all those strange terms - and pieces and parts - you need to know when pumping. 1 - Engorgement We’re starting here because you’ll want to have a heads up on this one. Engorgement is a state of fullness when your breasts will likely feel as if they are going to burst. (They might also feel rock solid, and tender to touch.) Engorgement is caused by additional blood and fluid flowing in to prepare breasts for milk production to begin and an increase in milk production itself. It can happen when your milk first comes in, often two to six days after giving birth, or when you go too long between feeds (or pump sessions). If you reach this state, it’s a good time to pull out that pump (and some cabbage leaves). Better yet, try these tips how to help prevent or minimize engorgement. 2 - Hand Express Raise your right hand, place it in a “c” around your breast and squeeze gently toward the areola. This, my mama friends, is called hand expressing. It’s the act of expelling milk manually using your hands and it might just be a breastfeeding mother’s best friend. Not only does hand expression come in handy (wink wink), when you are without your pump, but also it helps to stimulate more milk, ease blocked milk ducts, and aid with milk letdown. Here’s how to do it. 3 - Letdown Our favorite part of the day! Okay, it’s actually just the release of milk from your breasts. This reflex is what happens when tiny nerves in your breast are stimulated (by a baby’s sucking or your pump), thereby firing up hormones - prolactin and oxytocin - that release or ‘letdown’ the milk. This letdown may take a few minutes or a few seconds, and when you think about your sweet baby’s face or even hear a baby cry. (Which is why you’ll want to have those Bamboobies nursing pads ready to catch any letdown on the loose!) 4 - Double Electric Pump The double electric pump may sound like the next viral dance craze, but alas, it’s the name for a breast pump that uses a motor to pump and generate suction (versus a manual pump which relies on squeezes to a handle by hand). Both manual pumps and electric pumps create and release suction on the nipple to stimulate your nerves and draw out milk. A double electric pump, however does the pumping work for you, and can allow for a speedier, sometimes more productive pump session. (Though it varies for everyone.) Side note: we wouldn’t be mad if a video of mamas dancing to the double electric pump noise caught on. 5 - Membrane Also known as “those little white flimsy pieces your pump won’t work without”. Membranes are the thin, round discs that connect to and work with a pump’s valves to keep milk from backing up in the tubing. They are small, but mighty, and key to efficient suction: if torn or worn out, they can be the main reason a pump isn’t working well or sucking enough. It’s good to keep extras on hand. 6 - Duckbill Depending on the type of pump you have, a duckbill is a valve shaped like the beak of a duck and an alternative to the traditional valve that works with the membranes mentioned above. 7 - Flange A breast pump flange (pronounced like your cool friend Ang) - or breast shield - is the funnel looking piece of the pump that cups around your breast. Flanges form a seal around your areola to create a vacuum that draws your nipple forward and the milk out. Like a bra, a good fit is important, and one size flange doesn’t fit all (or even all throughout your pump days, since breasts are ever-changing while breastfeeding). This size chart can help. 8 - Galactagogue Sometimes milk production needs a little help and you might be advised to try a galactagogue. While it sounds like a remote planet visited by Thor, it’s actually just a substance that increases milk supply. Some commonly used herbal galactagogues are fenugreek, blessed thistle, and alfalfa. 9. Boob Lube (i.e. Pumping Lubricant) A little tube of heaven. All that pumping can be rough on your milk makers (especially if you are pumping exclusively). You can reduce some of the friction and make pumping a little more comfortable, by applying a pumping lubricant (boob-lube) such as boob-ease Organic Pumping Lubricant before each pump. 10 - Breast Express There’s now actually a place for moms to feed on wheels! pumpspotting’s will be taking it’s new RV cross-country in the spring to show up for breastfeeding moms and provide a comfortable place for moms to nurse and pump. Check the boob-venture here.

Shop bamboobies Working Pumping Mom Necessities:

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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