Essentials for the Pumping Mommy

In the wide world of parenting topics I don’t consider myself to be an “expert” (using the term very loosely) at much, but breastfeeding/pumping/working, well I’ve pretty much mastered! Having nursed my daughter for a little over a year, mostly while working almost full-time, and now doing the same with my son, I’ve developed my own list of essential items that every pumping momma needs when away from baby.

Is this your life????
Is this your life????
  • A great, electric double breast pump. Yea, they are costly but at a price tag cheaper than formula it’s worth every penny. Great news, many health insurance plans are now covering the cost of breast pumps! Your pump will be your best friend for many months, and when you are finally free of toting it with you everyday you may feel lost for a few weeks (or joyous in the freedom!).
  • A bag that can carry all the belongings you need to pump in one place. There is nothing worse than getting all set up to pump at work only to be missing a necessary item. My pump came in a tote bag, but I must admit at times I could use a bit more room.
  • A BIG, sturdy water bottle with a very secure top. Because breastfeeding and pumping make you just as thirsty as hiking through the Sahara and you don’t want to spill water all over your important work documents (been there, done that).
  • A hands-free pumping bra that is easy to get on/off. I didn’t have one of these when nursing my daughter but was given one by a dear friend this go-round and it has changed my life! Not to mention, probably keeping me from developing full blown carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • A nursing cover-for privacy when you must pump in a not-so-private place. You can often find a coupon to get a cover for free (just pay shipping) in many pregnancy and parenting magazines.
  • A car adaptor to run your pump in your car. With a car adaptor you can pump ANYWHERE, ANYTIME (enter hands free bra and nursing cover).
  • LOTS of bottles to attach to pump and an extra set of flanges to keep you from washing parts so often. Seriously, if you’re in it for the long haul spend the money to purchase an extra set of flanges; they will make your life as a pumping mommy better!
  • Easy to eat, healthy, hand held snacks. Supporting another human life makes you STARVING. Take the time to refuel with a snack while pumping.
  • A small cooler bag and ice pack to keep milk cool all day long in one nice neat place. I have one that is made especially for carrying bottles that was included with my Medela pump, but it is also sold separately and it works great for keeping milk cool all day.

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Mommas, if you are pumping and working…I feel your pain and your sense of accomplishment! You are doing the most amazing thing for your baby. Keep up the great work! YOU CAN DO IT!!!!

Are you a pumping momma? Do you have any other tips to add to the list?

Jennifer is a native of Houma, LA, but moved to Baton Rouge nearly 10 years ago to be with the love of her life. She and her husband are proud parents to a spunky five-year-old daughter, Kendall, and curious two-year-old son, Keller. Jennifer works part-time as Speech Therapist treating the adult and geriatric populations. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking food from scratch for friends and family, shopping, exercising, volunteering in the community and exploring the wonderful world of wine! Jennifer believes that love is shown through food (as most Louisiana natives do) and enjoys filling the tummies of those for whom she cares. Jennifer is a member of the Junior League of Baton Rouge. Jennifer and her family are proud residents of the Baton Rouge area and love the culture and fun our community has to offer.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hey there ! I’m a FTM & just had my baby boy last week. What hands free pumping bra do you recommend? I just received my insurance provided Medala Advanced Pump In Style & will definitely need when I go back to work in 7 weeks.

    • I have a hands free bra given to me by a friend. The brand name is Simple wishes and I find it very user friendly. I can’t wear it all day but it is quick and easy to get on and off. Good luck!

  2. Yes to all of these. I’ve exclusively pumped since my son was about 12 days old and having the right set up is essential.

    Pump: If you are exclusively pumping, you might want to try a hospital grade rental pump. The Woman’s Hospital Mom and Baby Boutique rents them by the week, month and quarter. It has been a lifesaver. If you send your husband, he will need YOUR drivers license and YOUR debit card to arrange the rental. I’ve got the Ameda Platinum at home and it’s great. You can also buy extra flanges, valves and diaphragms at the boutique.

    For work, I love the Medela Pump-In-Style Advanced (the one pictured above). Remember to change the valves if your output starts to slip! It was hell on the nipples the first few times, which is why I recommend the hospital grade pump if you are pumping a lot.

    Tote bag — I leave the Medela pump at work during the week and just carry a small insulated bag with my flanges and bottles for the day. Any bag will do and you probably already have tons. No need to spend the extra $90 on a tote for the insurance provided pump. (Seriously? $90?)

    Water bottle – Camelbak FTW!

    Pumping bra – I’ve got several double pumping bras from Rumina that I purchased on Amazon. Since you can wear them all day, they save valuable time if you are pumping at work and need to make the best use of every minute away from your desk. If you don’t want to spend the money, try a couple of slits in a old sports bra (works best if you reinforce the slits with some embroidery thread) or google the hair band pump support trick.

    Nursing cover – A good old swaddle blanket works well.

    Car adapter — Essential! Note that you may have to turn the suction up WAY higher than you otherwise would with a regular AC adapter.

    Bottles and flanges — Essential! I’ve got enough to pump and feed for 2.5 days without washing if/when things get a bit crazy at home. Also, replacement valves as mentioned above are necessary. I’ve also heard the tubing can stretch and even break at the end that attaches to the pump, so watch out for that. Replacement parts are available in stores and Amazon.

    One more trick is that you don’t have to sterilize flanges each time you use them if you have access to a fridge or cooler. You can rinse with water or use the pumping wipes and throw the flanges in a Ziploc bag and into the fridge for next time. I bring a clean set of flanges each day, but refrigerate between uses for extra life.

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