If you’re a breastfeeding mom who is about to go back to work or simply wants more freedom without being tied to your baby’s feeding times, I have great news for you: Breast pumping gear is your new best friend!
Breast pumping gear naturally includes pumps, but also other pumping accessories, tote bags, special bras, and coolers.
This may initially seem like a lot of equipment just to feed your baby, but once you start pumping, you’ll realize just how much difference all of this equipment makes!
On some days, for example, you might produce extra milk.
Of course, you’re not going to throw it away, but you can rely on milk storage bags to keep it fresh until you need it.
And if you’re going on a trip, you’re definitely going to need a breast milk cooler to store your bottles and then another bag to fit all of that stuff in.
Bras are also super important as well – and yes, there are specially designed pumping bras. But no worries, this is a lot simpler than it sounds!
I’ve broken down my personal breast pumping gear must-haves into an easy list you can read at your own leisure as you prepare to embark on the adventure that’s breast pumping!
1. Spectra Baby USA – S1 Plus Premier Rechargeable Electric Breast Pump
We really can’t have a discussion on breast pumping gear without mentioning electric breast pumps.
The S1 pump by Spectra can be used as both a single and double electric pump, meaning that you can pump one or two breasts at the same time.
Yay for time-saving efficiency!
But believe it or not, that’s not my favorite thing about this electric pump.
What my bestie really loved about it is that she could adjust it to her own body, which is super important since every mom is unique in this department.
And it’s really portable as well – it weighs a mere 2.9 pounds!
Upkeep-wise, you won’t need to worry about cleaning out the tubes.
The entire pumping process is closed, so air isn’t circulating between your milk and the tubing.
If you do a pumping session at night, there is a light you can turn on for better visibility.
Now, whenever I asked anyone anything about the Spectra pump, whether it was a friend or a lactation consultant, all I ever heard was: “Oh my God, you won’t believe how discreet and quiet it is!”
After hearing the same thing from more than a handful of people, I actually became skeptical – how quiet could it be? Turns out, they were right!
My best friend even used it one time as we were talking over the phone, and I couldn’t hear a thing.
2. Haakaa Manual Breast Pump
If you have a tighter budget or just want to keep it simple, a manual pump is the solution for you!
In fact, I own both an electric and a manual one, just because it’s easier sometimes (in cases when your battery dies, for example, or you don’t feel like bringing an electric along to a family picnic).
And since manual pumps are really affordable, they don’t leave a big dent in your finances.
The Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump is almost too simple to use.
All you do is squeeze it, press it to your nipple, and wait.
The pump fills 4 ounces of milk or one baby bottle. It’s designed to fit any breast size or shape.
Since it consists of one piece only, you can easily carry it in your purse or diaper bag.
For cleaning, you can either pop it in a bottle sterilizer or simply boil it in a pot of water for a couple of minutes.
3. Medela Breast Milk Storage Bags
Breast milk storage bags are also pretty much a necessity for when you have extra milk that you need to save for later.
These Medela bags are made with protection that’s double-zipper and stops the milk from leaking out, so I always relied on these freezer bags to store additional milk.
Although I was a little bit worried that I wouldn’t have enough room in my refrigerator to store them, they can lay completely flat, so that didn’t turn out to be a problem in the end!
Furthermore, they’re a fantastic option for when you’re going on holiday or visiting family.
Of course, when you store your milk in the freezer or the fridge, you definitely want to mark it with the date or any other important information.
For this purpose, the Medela breast milk bags are equipped with a large area you can write on.
4. Simple Wishes Signature Hands Free Pumping Bra
A hands free pumping bra should certainly find its way onto your shopping list!
It allows you to pump milk while giving you the opportunity to continue with your everyday tasks, which is great news, especially if you have more than one child that needs to be attended to.
The Simple Wishes hands-free bra is compatible with most breast pumps, so no matter which ones you’re using, it’s likely to work with the Simple Wishes bra.
Since our bodies go through so many intense changes even after childbirth, this bra is equipped with velcro in the back that you can adjust to your liking to make sure it fits you like a glove.
Made out of soft cotton and spandex, it comes in a variety of sizes, from extra small to large and large plus.
Sure, the colors are pretty limited (the only options are black and soft pink) but this is the kind of practical clothing that doesn’t need to look like it just came off the runway.
5. OnGossamer Women’s Next to Nothing Micro Nursing Bra
During my first pregnancy, I remember wondering why I even needed a nursing bra. Naively, I had thought that one of my regular, run-of-the-mill bras could do the same thing at no extra cost. Boy, was I wrong.
Nursing bras are specifically designed to make it easy to feed your baby and are created with comfort in mind.
That’s not something that the bra you got at Victoria’s Secret can do!
I’ve got more than a couple of OnGossamer nursing bras in my drawer as I always found them super comfy to wear.
The bra cups on this model can stretch as your breasts change, which really is the most important thing to look out for.
Honestly, when I first came across this brand, I thought the “Next to Nothing” name was just a marketing tactic, but they really do fit like a second skin! Sometimes I even forgot that I was wearing a bra at all.
6. Dr. Brown’s Breast Pump Carryall Tote
This breast pump bag by Dr. Brown is so stylish, I think I could wear it to work and no one would notice it was any different from a regular bag.
It’s really versatile, so you can use it as a diaper bag, travel bag, or even when you go to the gym!
I could genuinely fit so much in there – my electric breast pump along with all the pump accessories, a cooler bag for all those baby bottles I was lugging around, diapers, wet wipes, and sometimes my tablet even.
If you’re a mom on the go, this breast pump bag is great to take as an airplane carry on as well.
There are nifty pockets on the sides for easy access to small items like keys or snacks. And it comes at a really affordable price, too.
If you need to clean it, take note that it’s not machine washable (that’s how I ended up ruining mine, sadly).
Just take a wet wipe or a cloth and give it a good rub-down, and you should be good to go.
7. Sarah Wells Pumparoo Wet/Dry Bag for Breast Pump Parts
A lot of breastfeeding moms continue pumping even after going back to work, which means they also need to pump during the day.
A wet and dry bag is a great way to store pumping parts when you’re at work.
The Sarah Wells wet and dry bag for breast pump parts gives you all the room you need for your pump parts, including bottles.
When you fold it open, it becomes a sanitary area for you to put together all your pumping equipment.
The inside of the bag is waterproof and after you’re done pumping, you can place the wet pump parts in there for storage until you wash them at home.
Makes pumping on the go ten times easier!
In addition to storing pump parts, you can use it to carry dirty diapers, wet swimming gear, or anything else that needs to be tucked away from the dry contents of your regular bag.
8. Sarah Wells Cold Gold Breastmilk Cooler with Ice Pack
This Cold Gold breastmilk cooler by Sarah Wells was designed with the working mom in mind.
A case in point: if you want to leave it in your office fridge during the day, there’s a small pocket on the back of the cooler where you can put your photo so that everyone knows whom the cooler belongs to.
The ice pack keeps the temperature in the cooler low for as long as 8 hours.
And even if you have bigger, 8-ounce bottles, they will be able to fit inside the cooler with no fuss.
Apart from the functionality, what I really love about this cooler is the design.
I’m really not a fan of uninspired, tacky mama gear and I’m always happy to see fashionable designs!
There are more than half a dozen prints to choose from, including super colorful flower designs and minimalist black with leather details.
9. Dr. Brown’s Baby Bottle
Bottles are a bit of a no-brainer, but as a mom, you can never have too many bottles! Besides, these bottles by Dr. Brown’s can reduce symptoms of colic.
I don’t know about you, but the thought of having a colicky newborn on my hands had me reaching for any piece of baby gear that promised to prevent colic – I was that terrified!
These bottles are specially designed to reduce gassiness, burping, and spitting up, which makes for a much happier baby.
The nipple is made out of silicone, so your baby will have an easier transition if she’s more used to breastfeeding.
But what originally really sold me on these bottles is that they do a great job of keeping all the good and healthy nutrients intact, so I knew my babies were getting all the vitamins they needed for healthy growth.
10. Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads for Breastfeeding
Nursing pads are something you’ll definitely need during the first weeks of having a baby, regardless of your milk supply.
Unfortunately, I had to find this out the hard way during a trip to a department store a few weeks after having my daughter.
I was standing in the checkout line when I realized two wet spots were beginning to form on my chest.
Needless to say, I bolted out of there and made sure not to leave my house without a pair of nursing pads tucked in my bra.
I went with the Lansinoh disposable pads, which have a slightly curved shape so they fit really well inside your bra.
They didn’t move much either, even when I grabbed a couple of minutes for a quick nap.
11. Bebe au Lait Premium Cotton Nursing Cover
Whether you’re breastfeeding or pumping in public, you might not find it really comfortable to do it out in the open, and that’s totally understandable!
This nursing cover by Bebe au Lait will provide you with enough cover to get your pumping done.
It’s made out of cotton so it’s really durable and you can put it in the washing machine.
Also, it’s designed to fit all mamas, regardless of size.
So when you don’t need it anymore, you can donate it or give it to a friend!
Before you get pumped up about pumping
As a breastfeeding mom, you’ve probably spent the first weeks of your baby’s life running on a tight schedule of feeding times.
But now you’d like to allow other members of your family (whether it be your husband or your in-laws) to also take part in the feeding duties.
Or maybe you’re approaching the end of your maternity leave and someone else is going to have to feed your baby while you’re busy helping provide for the family.
A lot of new moms are finding themselves in this position and are choosing to start breast pumping.
Incorporating bottle feedings doesn’t mean that nursing has completely come to an end.
You can still enjoy this experience with your baby while using bottles when necessary (I highly recommend glass baby bottles).
Prior to getting your pump on and buying all the gear that you need to make this process as easy as possible, I have a few tips to share with you!
First off, if the end of your maternity leave is coming up and you’re about to return to the office, it’s not a bad idea to begin pumping a week or two before you officially get back to business.
This is so that you already have some baby milk stocked up and get used to the entire process sooner.
The best way to create a supply of milk while your baby is still nursing is to pump between feedings.
Once you’re back in your work environment, you’re probably going to want to pump around the same time when your baby used to nurse, in order not to create a disruption to your schedule.
In the beginning, you might find it really difficult to express milk without your baby in your arms.
This is perfectly normal!
What helped me was taking a few quiet moments to think about my baby and breathing deeply and evenly.
If that didn’t help either, I would give my breasts a short massage and that usually did the trick.
When you’re done pumping, you can store the milk in the refrigerator or the freezer, depending on how much milk you have stocked up.
It lasts up to five days when refrigerated and up to six months when frozen.
At room temperature though, eight hours is the maximum amount of time you should wait before giving the milk to your baby.
Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of false information surrounding pumping that you’re bound to run into.
When I first told people I had bought a breast pump, they started telling me all of these crazy pumping myths and were giving me unsolicited advice left and right.
For example, a former coworker told me I shouldn’t be pumping when I was sick (not true, this actually helps the baby’s immune system) and that pumping is so painful (if you do it right, it’s not).
My point is, when you’re a mom, it seems that everyone knows best.
But in the end, you should always trust yourself, your baby, and your doctor!
Pumping has made the lives of millions of moms much easier, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be one of them.
Getting a pump was one of the best decisions I made as a new mom! It made running errands and going back to work so much easier.
I wasn’t ready to give up breastfeeding just yet, and pumping helped me continue.
But there are so many products out there aimed at moms who pump that sometimes it made me feel like my head was going to explode. Buying a used breast pump was also an option.
I had no idea what was absolutely essential and what was a waste of money.
And with a newborn, I didn’t exactly have room to waste any money at all.
I hope my compilation of must-have pumping gear has made it easier for you to understand what items you need and, most importantly, how it’s going to benefit you and your baby at this exciting new stage!
Also, you need to be prepared to safely stop pumping when the time comes, so make sure to read our guide to safely weaning from the pump.
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