pumping at a wedding

Pumping During A Wedding Season

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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.

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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!

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