Updated: Jul 23, 2020
For those of you who don't know, I exclusively pumped for 2 years with my middle daughter who has complex medical needs. I've discussed this topic so many times with a group of ladies who are part of an exclusive pumping Facebook group I admin and there is guidance and information pages for breastfeeding and bottlefeeding in slings .
But what about when you need to pump but can't put the baby (or toddler) down? I decided to try different types of slings and write a post!
In all of these scenarios, I started with the hands free pumping bra and a vest on so it was easy to access once I had sorted the sling. The following were combinations that I found possible for me and Isla when she was 18m & 9kg/weighted doll. You may need to have a go and make adjustments for your own situation/body shape/age & developmental stage of baby. It is a good idea to master both (hands free if preferred) pumping and the safe use of your sling individually before putting them together. If you're just starting out, the Sheffield Sling Surgery website is a wealth of sling information and your local sling library is always a good place to start. I am always at the end of a message and happy to support in person as well!
Most importantly, safety is key. Please ensure that your child is well supported and has a clear airway at all times. If you are ever in any doubt, please seek in person advice from a trained sling consultant. Further safety information can be found here. Stretchy wrap I used a 2 way stretchy wrap. I couldn't double pump in it whilst adequately supporting little one but I did manage to single pump and could easily switch sides when finished. It could be more achievable with a smaller baby and different body shape.
Close caboo I was surprised that I could both single and double pump in this one. This was fairly easy to double pump in, although I'm very familiar with using a caboo which no doubt helped! I hooked up the pump before I put the third layer on (whilst keeping the other hand on 'baby' for safety)
Ring sling This worked really well with a hip carry. I was able to carry Isla as usual on one side and pump the other. It did unfortunately mean single pumping but this would work fine in situations where I needed to carry her. In a tummy to tummy carry it is more difficult. I can just about access one side but depending on the size of the baby/body shape, this may not be achievable without moving material & potentially compromising the comfort or even safety of the carry. Meh Dai With a slightly off centre carry I managed to single pump in this. Hooking up before putting it on worked well in this scenario.
Woven Wrap A ruck is by far the easiest carry to pump in. There is full access to the chest area and baby is out of the way on the back so not pulling at wires! To make it completely hands free, I use an across the shoulder bag for my pump, or a smaller pump.
A front wrap cross carry was fairly tricky! I couldn't access the right area once the carry was finished. Putting the pump on before the carry was tricky and meant it ended up down by my stomach (things aren't quite that bad yet!!) with no way of adjusting so for me, this was a no go. Buckled carrier I tried a Connecta and Ergo. I could have used many more but this gave a small idea of how the structure and padding would make a difference. Front I couldn't access to hook up my pump in either the Connecta or Ergo, not even to single pump. This may be due to my build and body shape.
Hip This was much easier than front for single pumping. Back Was by far the easiest and only way I could double pump in a buckled carrier, even with the chest strap I could still easily hook up my pump. This worked for both the Connecta and Ergo.
I hope this was helpful and has given you some ideas to make pumping easier.