Anyone who knows me (Amanda), knows I am a big breastfeeding advocate. I breastfed my first son (Eli) until he was 3.5 years old. I was a stay at home mama with him until I started dabbling in photography when he was 16 months old. Even then, I only photographed a few families here and there so there was never a need to pump. EVEN if I needed to pump, the stinker wouldn’t take a bottle!
So when I found out I was expecting my second baby in August of 2017, in the prime of building our wedding photography business, I was a little (ALOT) worried about what my life would look like as a working mama. I reached out to several of my working mama friends (shoutout to Melanie and Amber) for advice on the best pump and pumping accessories. But how in the world was I going to navigate pumping every 2-3 hours during a wedding?! LUCKILY…Natalie is amazing and we shoot every wedding together, so there would never be a lapse in coverage on a bride’s day!
I’m a big researcher. So naturally I took to google for advice on “How to be a wedding photographer and pump” and wouldn’t you know it…barely anything came up. I pieced together some advice I got in a photography group with my good friends’ advice and made it work. But I vowed to create a blog post for other mamas out there who have NO clue how to navigate this. So here we are!
I shot my first wedding after Hudson at 6 weeks postpartum. It was an 8 hour wedding AND a double wedding weekend (meaning we had 2 in one weekend). That also propelled us into “Wedding season” here in Texas so we had at least one wedding every weekend after that throughout the season. WHEW.
I showed up to that wedding with EVERYTHING under the sun. I carried in about 4 different bags and looked like I was moving into the venue. I ended up dwindling down my "pumping bag” to these essentials!
I loved this Medal Pump in Style Advanced with the trusty bottle cooler bag. It was quick and efficient, and QUIET. Which is super important since there isn’t always a private place to pump.
This nursing bra was my favorite! Although I will admit…it would have been nice to have one I could wear all day that converts to a pumping bra so I didn’t have to basically undress every time I pumped. This was just given to me and I didn’t want to buy another! :P
Nipple butter! One of the best pieces of advice I got -funny enough it was from a bridesmaid who saw me pumping at a wedding- was to put nipple butter on the pump flanges before I pump! I feel like this made the pump more efficient and also hurt a lot less!
Nursing Cover is definitely a must! Hear me out…I am ALL about breastfeeding in public. But in my opinion, a bride’s special day is NOT the place to take your stand on #freethenipple. There isn’t always a private place to pump, so having a good, flexible nursing cover is important!
Nursing pads for me specifically are a must! Some women never leak…I unfortunately am not one of those lucky women! I love the reusable ones because they’re much more comfortable AND end up being more affordable than buying the disposables over and over.
WHEN TO PUMP:
If the wedding was local, I would feed Hudson right before I left. If it wasn’t local, I’d leave a little early and pump in the car while I was driving. Make sure you allot enough time to hook up and unhook the pump!
About 45 minutes before the ceremony, I’d pump again. We build all our brides’ timelines so I knew I had about 30 minutes where I could sneak away. Natalie stayed with the bride to make sure key moments weren’t missed, or shot what the timeline had for that time slot. I had plenty of time to pump and get ready for the ceremony.
About 20 minutes after the partying starts at the reception (and all the key moments are complete), I’d pump for a 3rd time. Again, Natalie was still working the reception.
Then, I’d pump again when I got home from the wedding!
WHAT TO WEAR:
This was one of the most difficult parts for me. Before I had Hudson, I wore rompers or dresses to weddings. Obviously not an ideal option to nurse in, so I invested in a few great pieces from Latched Mama, a maternity and nursing friendly clothing company that has AMAZING quality stuff! THIS was my absolute favorite! It’s a Romper but looks like a dress, has pockets, AND is easy to nurse/pump in! I also had this top that I wore with black leggings and boots
There were times I pumped in the car in August…in Texas. There were times I pumped in the bridal suite, in someone’s bedroom, in a closet, etc. But I think my favorite/most strange place I pumped at a wedding was behind a curtain…in the reception room…during a reception! Ha! This was one of the times I was super thankful for my quiet Medela pump haha!
I made it 16 months nursing Hudson, pumping all the way! I know it seems insanely overwhelming, but you’ve got this mama! Reach out if you have any questions or need any other help!