I am SO thankful my friend Amy sent this idea for a blog post to me! One of the biggest questions I get from expecting mamas is “when the heck am I going to pump at the wedding?!” — and that makes total sense because that’s a huge thing to be considered!!! Well, you guys know this isn’t my first rodeo and I’ve been through this twice, so let me tell you what I did and see if you can take this and apply it to your upcoming shoot experiences! 🙂
WHAT TO BRING:
First of all, 1) HAND HELD and 2) ELECTRIC PUMP. I brought BOTH with me…because different circumstances and break lengths called for different things! Even though electric SOUNDS more efficient, sometimes I could go faster with hand held. The hand held is so small it can fit in the electric pump’s bag! You don’t have to bring both, but I’m a prepared woman, and if one fit inside the other, why not?
3) I LOVE that the Medela model has a tiny square cooler with 4) ice packs shaped around the bottles to fit RIGHT IN THE BAG! Yes! You want compact things and convenience when it comes to this!
5) You obviously have to bring the small bottle (like a Dr Browns or Medela) to pump into, and then you can either close THAT up or pour it into a 6) breastmilk bag.
7) Pack wet ones or wipes to clean up spills or small leaks
8) Do not, I REPEAT, DO NOT leave the house without your breast pads because a leak on a wedding day is not fun! You aren’t supposed to be drinking so you can’t blame that on a “spilled drink” or anything hahaha! I always brought 9) cute scarves too JUST in case, and one time, that really came in handy!
10) Water, water, water, food, food, food…you are burning so many more calories when nursing! You will be very remorseful if you don’t care of yourself! When I was pregnant or nursing during a wedding season (so every single wedding season I have EVER shot hahaha!) — I would sometimes have to scarf down a granola bar or banana WHILE shooting details, getting ready, etc! Definitely mostly on the car rides between locations, or on quick breaks while we were waiting on the next big thing to start, but my brides are amazing and they always understand!
**Don’t let this list fool you into thinking you’re hauling a big huge bag of stuff! In my experience, ALL OF THIS fits inside that pump bag!! That’s why they are so worth the investment, and some insurance companies will reimburse you! 🙂
WHEN TO PUMP:
I think this is the hardest part for everyone. In my experience, this was the hardest thing to nail down, but here’s how I handled it!
1) First, you MUST communicate to your brides that you will need to pump. They’re women too so of COURSE they should be understanding about this! I have fortunately never had a mean bride discourage me from this at all and physically it’s a requirement for me!
2.) Secondly…I make sure to pump RIGHT before I go in to start shooting! This helps me not to need to pump again until my meal break, and I usually only nurse once or not at all that morning! Additionally, chances are, I’ve decreased the amount of nursing and pumping starting 2 days before the wedding just slightly. This is only something people who are providing a decent supply can do, and especially if you have lots of milk bags stored in the freezer to make bottles in the mean time! This is NOT SOMETHING everyone will be able to do, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to take various breaks during the wedding and shoot efficiently! I can’t say “don’t start the ceremony, I need to pump!” HAHA! I would never hold any part of the day back to take care of this, so simply nursing SLIGHTLY less and preparing a couple days before has always worked great for me!
3) The main pump is during the MEAL BREAK! I have a meal break written into my contracts, 30 minutes is required for me to sit down during the reception when everyone else is eating (because I’ve never had a bride ask for pictures of people eating, and no one would let me take those of themselves anyway hahaha!!) — and to be honest, I cram in eating, pumping and doing the same day slideshow (if time) during this time…and it’s pretty crazy! Some of my past assistants have seen this and I just love them for putting up with the chaos hahahah! It’s a sight to see, that’s for SURE! LOL!
4) Here’s the main reason this works for me…I never shoot more than 8-9 hours for most weddings. A couple of years ago, I was shooting “all day coverage” and it was NOT a good business decision for me! Sometimes, people tend to take advantage and say sure, get here at 8am and stay until midnight! Capturing a story of a day can absolutely be done in less and I lose actual performance value past about 10 hours because I go go go SO intensely for the time I’m there! So when some people are offering 12 hours, etc…they will have to come up with an additional scheduled break most likely!
5) When I hop in the car to head home, sometimes I will back up images while I pump again before driving! And I’m not going to say I’ve never pumped and driven…lol…you have to do what you have to do, but if I get that meal break at the end, I’m usually okay!
**This is all about what is going to work specifically for YOU! Make sure a few weeks before the wedding you see how you do going an extra 1-2 hours between feedings, get to know your limit! Take care of yourself, eat, drink water, come prepared with all of the necessary supplies and I definitely recommend an assistant while pregnant shooting and nursing, too! 🙂 GOOD LUCK MAMAS! YOU GOT THIS!!!! 🙂