Breast may be best, but I think we can all agree that pumping is the absolute worst. The equipment is uncomfortable, awkward and hard to clean. It's tricky to find the time and sometimes even a place to pump. Plus, overnight pumping steals sleep that new moms desperately need, all in the name of keeping up that precious supply of liquid gold.
In fact, the challenging nature of pumping is one of the reasons so many moms give up nursing before they would like. According to CDC data, although 81 percent of new moms try breastfeeding, only 22 percent are able to complete the AAP's recommended 12 months. Making pumping easier could go a long way towards helping to support new moms' breastfeeding goals.
So, what could possibly make this universally detested labor of love any better?
Well, until the U.S. catches up with other developed nations' more generous paid family leave policies, the answer for pumping moms could lay in technology. A new breast pump called the Liberty, from Freemie—created by a doctor who needed to pump for her preemie twins—allows women to pump hands-free, in public and even while sleeping. That's right, you can now pump WHILE YOU SLEEP!
That miracle is made possible by a fundamental change to the pumping apparatus. Instead of expressing milk using long flanges and bottles, the Liberty collects milk in breast-shaped cups that fit inside your bra. That means you can pump at your desk while completely dressed instead of boobs out while hiding in the bathroom. No more strapping on one of those crazy maternity-meets-dominatrix pumping bra contraptions either. And, with a USB charger, you're wireless, which means pumping while walking —or even driving—is totally an option. Talk about multitasking.
Perhaps the most game-changing Liberty feature is the programmable sleep timer, which allows moms to go back to sleep at the start of pumping, knowing the motor will switch off automatically at a preset time between 5 and 40 minutes. Just imagine, while you rest comfortably, each cup can collect up to 8 ounces of milk for a total of 16 ounces while double pumping.
Fresh breast milk can sit out for at least four hours, so it's safe to snooze between sessions. And, since none of us want to be crying over spilt milk, there's a back-flow barrier that prevents leaks, even when you're laying down. Oh, and even though it has hospital-grade suction, it's whisper quiet, which hopefully means it's not waking us up with the evil pump voice so many moms claim to hear. (You know the one I'm talking about.)
With all of these sleep-enabling features, pumping could very well be transformed from something we dread into something we actually look forward to. I mean, why not plan a nap around a pumping session? Sounds good to us!
Just imagine getting a decent night's sleep and still waking up to a bra-full of milk to bring to daycare. "Set it and forget it" has never sounded so good.