Now that I’ve been a working mom for some months now I’ve got a handle on the pumping situation. When I first went back to work I was scared about pumping at work, what if I forget something at home. Which within the few months that I have been back at work has happened. When you forget something for your pump it really is sucks, to put it plainly. For me, I’ve definitely have had those panicked moments, of what am I going to do now, I still need to pump. I tried my best to read up on what to bring with me in my pump bag before going back to work, but didn’t really find any resource that was helpful. Now, that I feel like I am pumping working mom pro, I decided to put together a list of the best pump bag essentials for the working mom to have.
The Bag – Finding the right bag is crucial. I was not impressed with what bags I had to choose from. I wanted something cute and that could fit everything I needed in. I didn’t want to have to end up taking 3 different bags for everything to work everyday. After searching the internet I came across the Sarah Well bags, I literally jumped for joy! Her pump bags are amazing! They have a section for your pump, a insulated place for your milk storage, room for your laptop and other essentials. I highly recommend her bags! I can literally fit SO MUCH in this bag.
Pump Charger – Don’t leave home without your pump charger. Some pumps need to be plugged in to work, my Spectra S1, has a chargeable battery, so I don’t necessarily need to a charger at all times. But, if it were to get low on battery, I definitely want to have the charger handy. I just keep the charger in the bag at all times just to make life easier.
Breast Storage – Every mom does it a little differently. I pump into my milk storage bottles and then transfer the milk into a milk storage bag. Some women pump directly into the bottles and use that as their storage. It is whatever works best for you. The key is to not leave home without breast storage and bring more than you think you need. There has been a few times that I have run out storage bags and had to use a plastic bottle instead, opps! I just keep a large amount of storage bags in my pump bag so I don’t run out.
Pens or Markers – It is always good to keep a pen or marker in your pump bag to mark the date and time the milk was collected at. Also use it to mark your name on your bags or bottles in case other pumping mamas uses the same storage or bottles to collect. That way no one is going home with someone else’s milk!
Light Jacket/Blanket – My office provides a mother’s room but it is always a tad cold in there. And being basically half-naked when you pump does help! I like to bring a light jacket or blanket to wrap myself up in. Or use to cover my legs if I am wearing a dress. This can also double as a cover if you want/need to cover up too.
Snacks – Pumping/breastfeeding makes you one hangry person, so I have to have a snack on hand. My go to snack is something with protein or oats, like a protein bar. Both of these help to boost your milk supply, and when you are pumping working mama you need all the help you can get. I throw the whole box in my bag, but just having a few bars in you bag will be the best pick me up ever.
Nipple Pads – The worse is when you walk out onto your office floor and discover you leaked through your top. Nipple pads are just good to have for those just in case moments. Sometimes for me it is hard to find the time to pump every 3 hours, so if I go too long leakage can occur. I’ll just stick a nipple pad in my bra if I know it’ll be longer until my next pump session.
Water or Gatorade – The most important part of pumping is staying hydrated. Hydration affects your milk supply tremendously. I have noticed if I don’t stay hydrated during the day then I won’t pump as many ounces. I put either a water bottle or a gatorade in my bag and pull it out to drink while I am pumping usually.
Nipple Cream – This is good for the just starting out pumping mama. I find that pumping is different than breastfeeding and at first hurt my nipples more than breastfeeding. It is good to have this to have some relief. I would suggest putting it on before pumping to help and dab some on after too.
Hands Free Pump Bra – Honestly this is GOLD! I am not sure why I didn’t get one sooner. In fact, I may or may not be pumping as I write this blog article and I am able to do so because of my hands free bra. I think a hands free pump bra is probably one of the most important items for a working mom. There has been many times that I needed to continue working during my pump sessions and have been so grateful for it.
Wipes – Most mothers will wipe down their pump parts between uses. There is specific wipes out there that are made for this, but you could also just use basic wipes too. I just throw my pump parts in the fridge between uses to save time (I learned this pro-tip from another pumping mama) and then thoroughly clean and sterilize the parts when I get home.
Hand Pump – Mom brain sucks and there has been days that I forgot some of my pump parts at home, which mean you can’t use your pump. I had to resort to the good old fashioned hand pump since you can’t just go all day without expressing milk. All I have to say is thank God that I had a hand pump for those “uh oh, I forgot moments”.
Photos of baby – I always like to look at pictures of my baby girl on my phone during my pump sessions. I have heard people go as far as printing out photos for their pump room and hanging them on the walls. Seeing your baby helps to relax and get your let down going faster. It is also a good little reminder of why you do what you do, anything our precious babes.
Pack what is going to work best for you and your work situation. I don’t need a cooler for my storage bags because my work supplies a small fridge in the mother’s room. Since, my bag has insulated pockets, I just grab my milk bags at the end of the day and zip them up in the pockets. It keeps my milk bags cold for my drive home. I walk into work everyday feeling like a confident pumping mama because well packed pump bag and I know you will too!