How To Pump Hands Free Using Ponytail Holders

Many mothers need to pump on a regular basis, either because they need to be away from their babies, or because they are trying to increase their milk supply.

Pumping hands-free can make time spent pumping more enjoyable and also more effective. In this video I demonstrate how to use four ponytail holders to hold the breast shields (often called pump flanges) in place. This leaves a mother's hands free to read, look at her phone, and also massage her breasts during pumping which can increase the amount of milk she can express with the pump. Many mothers already have ponytail holders at home, so this is usually a simple, no-cost way to pump hands free.

The steps are:

  1. Loop two ponytail holders together in a figure eight. Loop the other two into another figure eight.
  2. Loop one ponytail holder eight over the hook of your nursing bra, or around the strap of your bra if you don't have a hook. Repeat for the other breast.
  3. Insert the flanges through the other loops of the ponytail holders and hold them against your breasts.
  4. Turn on the pump.
  5. Gently adjust the breast shields so that your nipples are centered and comfortable in the shields.
  6. The combination of the suction and the ponytail holders will hold the flanges in place and you can take your hands off the breast shields.
  7. Let the pump work for 5-10 minutes while you read a book, look at your phone or computer, or just relax.
  8. For the last 5-10 minutes of your pumping session, massage your breasts with your hands to help remove any remaining milk.
  9. When you finish pumping, keep your ponytail holders with your pump so you can use them next time.

Happy pumping!