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There is nothing worse than going to use your breast pump and missing an essential item. At best, it is inconvenient. At worst, it might mean you can’t pump. It’s enough to make a new mama cry.
Whether you are pumping at home or work or while traveling, I will share what the breast pumping essentials you will always want with you are.
While using a breast pump is not essential to breastfeeding, the reality is that the vast majority of nursing moms use a breast pump at some point during their breastfeeding journey.
A survey of 4700 mothers revealed that 95% of nursing moms use a breast pump at some point during their breastfeeding journey (Source).
Today I will share with you all the things you need so your pumping sessions go smoothly and take less time. I’ll go over why it’s important to have each item at your pumping station or in your pumping bag.
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIALS
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #1
Obviously, you need your pump.
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #2
If you are pumping at home you can set up a pumping station. This is exceptionally helpful for exclusively pumping moms.
If you are going to be pumping somewhere other than at home, you will need a pumping bag.
If your breast pump came with a bag, you may be good to go. If you want more functionality from a pumping bag, you may want to consider other options. A good pumping bag can replace a purse or a diaper bag. You gotta love something that gives you fewer things to haul around.
I did extensive research and came up with two exceptionally nice pumping bag options.
The Momcozy Breast Pump Bag gets a 4.4 out of 5-star rating on Amazon from almost 600 ratings. When you want to know what works best for moms, you have to ask moms. This is a pumping bag that was clearly intended for the organized mama or the mom who aspires to be organized.
- It can accommodate most breast pumps.
- Available in two sizes
- Has an amazing twelve pockets to organize all of your breast pumping essentials.
- A designated space for your pump with a zipper to access it. This means you don’t have to dig through everything to pull out your pump.
- Three insulated pockets for bottles
- Pocket for a laptop (up to 13”) or a tablet.
- Grey or brown
- Waterproof material.
- Shoulder straps and stroller straps
Momcozy also has a breast pump tote bag that is black and a slightly different style but all the same functionality plus an extra pocket.
For the mom who prefers a backpack style, Momcozy has you covered with that version as well.
The Momcozy Breast Pump Bag comes in at an affordable price point. If you use the link below to go to the Momcozy site you will get 10% off your order
If you are looking for a line of breast pump bags that has more color and style options and you are willing to pay a little more, then you will definitely want to take a look at the Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bags.
- Comes in black as well as several other colors
- Available in different patterns.
- Variety of styles
- It has a range of prices
- Well rated on Amazon
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #3
Ideally, the bag you choose will have insulated pockets for your milk. If it doesn’t or doesn’t come with a separate cooler bag, you’ll need to purchase one. An insulated cooler bag with an ice pack will keep your precious expressed milk safe for 24-hours (Source).
MomCozy rocks this breast pumping essential as well, with a couple of different options.
- Holds six bottles
- Taller bottles can be accommodated by removing the divider.
- You can put bottles in the bottom section and your lunch in the top compartment.
- If you want a very compact breast pump bag, the top section can accommodate a pump.
- Zippered pocket for access to keys or your phone while keeping them secure
- It has a detachable buckle and should strap.
- One of my favorite things about this cooler is that they advertise that it is multi-functional and can easily convert to a wine cooler by removing the divider. I just love a product that can be used for more than one thing.
The Momcozy Insulated Breastmilk Cooler And Baby Bottle Bag comes in a floral pattern. It does not have the divider. It has a pocket for your phone, but it is not zippered.
- Holds 4-6 bottles
- Detachable buckle for the hand strap
Use this link to Momcozy to get that 10% discount.
The Momcozy bags do not come with an ice pack.
The Medela Breast Milk Cooler Bag includes four 5-oz bottles and a contoured ice pack.
An innovative breast milk cooler bag is the Packit Freezable Baby Bottle Cooler. You put the whole cooler in the freezer. Non-toxic freezable gel is built permanently into the walls of the bag, so there is no need for a separate ice pack.
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #4
Of course, you need your pump parts. While this is another one of those seemingly obvious items I know a mom who forgot her pump parts and went back home to get them.
She got stuck in a blizzard that night and had to spend the night in a hotel. She was really glad she went back to get them. She wished she’d had a list of breast pumping essentials when that happened.
I highly recommend having some spare parts for those things that need to be replaced frequently.
The parts needed will be different for different pumps, but an example is this little white diaphragm from a Medela pump flange. This tiny white piece looks so insignificant, but I have seen it cause a complete lack of suction when it was torn. The yellow valves are another piece that can crack and need to be replaced.
The duckbill is a part from the Spectra pumps that needs to be replaced regularly.
Pump companies generally sell spare parts, so have some in your pumping bag. If you are not getting good suction, try replacing them.
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #5
You need storage containers for your pumped milk.
Depending on your pump, you can pump into bottles or directly into breast milk storage bags.
If you choose to pump directly into bottles, make sure you use bottles that are compatible with your pump.
Make sure you pack at least a couple of extra storage containers in case of emergencies (like the mom I mentioned who got stuck in a blizzard).
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #6
A hands-free pumping bra is a must-have for pumping moms. It allows you to pump while you multitask because it frees up your hands.
The Simple Wishes Hands-Free Pumping Bra has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Amazon from a whopping 11 thousand ratings.
Get 10% off your first order when you click on the button below.
If you choose a hands-free pump like the Willow Wearable Breast Pump, you won’t need a special pumping bra.
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #7
Make sure you have your pump’s power source.
A wearable pump like the Willow has a rechargeable battery, so set a reminder to charge it or keep the charging cord in your pump bag.
If your pump has a battery option, put some extra batteries in your pump bag.
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #8
Some hand sanitizer is essential if you don’t have access to a sink and running water. I love Clean Monster Lavender Peppermint Hand sanitizer spray. I always have a bottle in my purse. It’s so quick and easy to use and has such a pleasant scent. Plus, it has such a fun name.
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIALS #9 & #10
Two more breast pumping essentials are a staging mat and a bag for your used pump parts.
I put these two together because they are often sold as a set.
The staging mat provides you with a clean place to put your pump parts when you are setting up.
The Sarah Wells Pumparoo wet/dry bag comes with both of these items. It is available in a variety of colors and prints.
Some pump bags include a staging mat. If you just need a wet/dry bag, the Bumpkins wet/dry bag has been rated on Amazon over 3000 times and has earned a 4.8 out of 5-star rating. It has so many cute prints to hoose from.
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #11
You need something so that you can clean your pump parts.
Ideally, you will have access to soap and water to clean your pump parts. Keep a small bottle of dish soap in your breast pump essentials bag.
If you don’t have a sink that you can use, that is when Medela’s Breast Pump Sanitizer Spray will be a breast pump bag must-have.
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #12
Make sure you have a sharpie in your bag so you can write the date on your milk storage containers. If you are using bottles, you’ll want some labels or tape as well.
Milk Labels are removable, waterproof, and freezer safe.
The Original Write and Reuse Baby Bottle Labels are a reusable option.
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #13
You’ll want to tuck some bra pads in your pumping bag. I am a big fan of the Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads. These nursing pads are absorbent and soft and comfortable. They will stand up to multiple cycles through the washing machine.
They are another mom favorite. They have been rated over 6500 times on Amazon and have a 4.6 out of 5-star rating.
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #14
Another essential item to include in your pumping bag is a tube of Medela TenderCare Lanolin. If you put a little bit on the inside of the pump flange, it makes pumping so much more comfortable. I talk about other ways to make pumping comfortable in this video.
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #15
Don’t forget a Do Not Disturb sign.
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #16
Breastfeeding mamas burn some serious calories making all that milk. Keep some snacks in your pumping bag.
If you want something that will support a good milk supply, try Munchkin Milkmakers Lactation Bars.
Another bar that I really like that is for breastfeeding mamas is Milk Dust Lactation Bars.
BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIAL #17
One last thing you will want to have in your bag is a towel in case you have any spills.
This is a long list of items to remember. I have made it easy for you by creating a checklist of all these items that you can download and print out. You can laminate it or put it in a plastic sleeve and use a whiteboard marker to check everything off, and then you can reuse it.
It’s in my Free breastfeeding resources library, so when you sign up for it, you will get access to all the printables and ebooks, and there is even a tutorial, so make sure you sign up to get all those goodies.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON BREAST PUMPING ESSENTIALS
Some moms have a love-hate relationship with pumping. If it seems like a chore, just remember what a rock-star you are to work so hard to provide your amazing breast milk for your baby. Pump on, mama!
Andrea Tran RN, MA, IBCLC
Andrea has been working with new families as an RN for over 35 years and a Lactation Consultant for over 25 years.
She has her MA in Health and Wellness with a focus in Lactation.