How I pump at a birth
In 2010 when I became a doula, my daughter was 4 months old and exclusively breastfed. I had a Medela Pump In Style that came in a nice bag and had a hands-free option. I brought it to a few of my first births, which happened to be home births. It was quiet, easy and fast to use. Then I started working with families who were giving birth in the hospital. I quickly discovered in that setting there was not a good place to pump. I remember thinking, "oh the bathroom would be fine, hospitals have outlets everywhere!" Apparently not in the bathroom. I remember the birth I discovered this at. Instead of pumping, I had to hand express milk so I was not engorged. I needed to figure something else out!
I bought a battery pack and a car adapter for my pump. If I needed privacy I could go out to my car, or I could pump in the bathroom. I had power! This worked great for the remainder of my first year of nursing my daughter. Eventually she stopped nursing as much so I stopped pumping and passed off my pump to a friend.
Fast forward a few years to after my son was born. Here I was again, a doula with a 4 month old and having to pump. Only this time I had the Ameda Purely Yours electric pump that my insurance provided. It did not come with a fancy bag, or a car adapter. It is noisy, and not very effective. It was fine for at home, and helped me set aside milk that I could donate, but as far as taking it to a birth, that was the last thing I wanted to do.
I began to read more about manual breast pumps. I thought my hand would cramp up and that it would be a major hassle. However the more I read, the more I wanted to try using one. I picked up a Lansinoh Manual Pump, and gave it a shot. Never have I had a pump work so fast and effectively. It was exactly what I needed! No noise, cords, wires or battery packs. No hunting down outlets in hidden areas. I can pump where I feel most comfortable, which is still usually the bathroom. But mostly, I no longer have to carry around a huge bag full of pump supplies. My breast pump fits nice and neat in my doula bag, and I just toss the bags of milk in my lunch bag with an ice pack.