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What should I Bring to Pump at Work?
Thinking about having to pump and work can instantly make you feel anxious. But, it does get better!
I can say that now because I used to feel the same way.
What worked for me was being prepared and knowing exactly what I needed to continue my breastfeeding journey. I have now been pumping at work for 19 months and still going strong (I’ll be stopping when my daughter turns 2). So let’s just say I’ve learned a thing or 2 along the way.
Today I’m going to share with you the pumping essentials you’ll need at work in order to ease your transition and protect your milk supply.
But first, be sure to check out the Ultimate Back to Work Pumping Class. This course will have you pumping at work like a pro and give you the ability to breastfeed your baby as long as you’d like.
Pumping at Work Checklist
Best Products for Pumping at Work:
1. Double Electric Breast Pump
I’m not trying to be captain obvious, but it’s going to be extremely difficult to be successful with pumping at work without an electric breast pump. Even with the most flexible job, you’ll still have some time constraints.
Remember, you want to make your work pumping sessions as efficient and stress free as possible!
Most moms opt to get the free, insurance issued breast pump, which is great because breast pumps are not cheap! But, you want to make sure to get one that will fit your work needs.
What to look for in a breast pump?
- easy to transport on a daily basis
- customizable settings
- uses a rechargeable battery instead of a cord
- closed system
- built in pumping timer
- ability to control suction strength to each individual breast
Check out these awesome double electric breast pumps!
I personally use the madela pump in style advanced and think it’s a great breast pump for working moms.
You want to make sure you get the best breast pump for working moms. This ultimate guide will make sure you’re aware of everything you need to know about breast milk pumps for mom!
2. Wearable Breast Pump
If you’re a teacher, healthcare professional, or work in another field where getting a pumping break can be challenging, consider a hands free, wearable pump. This will allow you to pump whenever and wherever.
It’s a game changer for sure!
Many working moms swear by the Willow pump and how much it has decreased their stress level while pumping at work.
3. Hand pump
A manual pump is something nice to have in your pumping tool box.
It can be used as a back up in case you accidentally leave pump parts at home (which I’ve done more than once). And it can be helpful if you’re short on time and need to express milk quickly.
The hand pump is definitely one of the best breastfeeding accessories.
4. Pumping Bag
I remember watching some of my colleagues returning from maternity leave with bag after bag (lunch bag, pumping bag, cooler, purse, and personal totes). It looked like they were moving in! Is all of that really necessary?
I can’t speak to the other bags, but a pumping bag for work is a necessity for any working, breastfeeding mother.
You’re probably thinking any old bag will do, but it wont. You want a bag where you can easily see and get to everything you need for a pumping session.
What to look for a in a pumping bag:
- multiple compartments
- place for breast pump
- compartment for cooler bag
- ability to store flanges and other pump parts
- area for back up pumping supplies
- pocket for pumping cleaner
- storage for miscellaneous items
Basically you need a breast pumping bag that’s big enough to hold all of your breast pump essentials.
5. Nursing Cover
A nursing cover will allow you to pump discreetly. It also allows you to maintain your privacy if you have to pump with other nursing mothers.
The good thing about this one is that you can also use it as a car seat cover or a shopping cart cover.
6. Hand Sanitizer
You want to avoid transferring bacteria and other germs to your baby while pumping and breastfeeding . Soap and water is always the best method of maintaining hand hygiene but it is not always accessible. In that case, a hand sanitizer is acceptable.
It’s best to use hand sanitizers that are scent free and alcohol free.
Most hand sanitizers contain a high concentration of alcohol and could be dangerous if ingested by your baby. Scented hand sanitizers are drying and could also be irritating to your skin as well as your baby’s skin.
7. Pictures of Your Baby
This may seem like a strange pumping essential, but it definitely helps with your milk output.
Think about it.
Have you ever been grocery shopping and heard another baby crying? Did you look down only to realize your shirt was drenched with milk?
The same concept applies when you see pictures or watch videos of your own baby.
According to Romper, moms have an emotional response when they see their baby or hear a baby cry. The emotional response then triggers the release of oxytocin which is the hormone responsible for milk let down.
Are you able to disconnect from the breast pump without dropping any milk on your lap? I can’t, so napkins have been a life saver!
Napkins have many uses for the pumping mom:
- keep clothing dry while pumping
- create a clean surface to place your pumping supplies
- clean your hands if your pumping and eating
- wipe down tables and counters after pumping session
9. Madela Quick Clean Wipes
The CDC says the best practice for cleaning pump supplies in between uses is to use soap and water. This can be challenging at work where you may not have access to a sink. That’s where cleaning wipes come in.
They can be used to clean your pump parts, wipe down your desk and chair, as well as clean the outside of the pump itself.
This is extremely convenient and such a time saver.
10. Extra Pumping Parts
There is nothing more frustrating than sitting down to pump only to realize you’re missing a necessary part. How are you supposed to pump without your flanges, or your membranes?
I’ve been there and I just wanted to cry. Pumping at work is stressful enough. You don’t want to deal with the additional stress of not having what you need.
Keep an extra set of shields, flanges, membranes, pump tubing, and pumping bottles with tops. When you use your emergency set, make sure to replace it!
Keep 1-2 10 oz bottles with you at work. Use these to store your pumped milk throughout the work day. This should give you enough storage capacity to transport your milk from work to home.
It may be tempting to keep pumping into the same bottle until you’ve filled it up but that’s not advisable. According to the Very Well Family, you should not mix freshly pumped milk with cold, refrigerated milk. You would have to cool off the pumped milk and then add it the refrigerated milk.
Mom Tip: What I do is use 2 5 oz bottles as my “collection” bottles. During my first pump session I leave the milk in those bottles and refrigerate it or put it my cooler bag. Before I start my next pumping session, I dump the previously collected milk into a 10 oz bottle. Then I repeat this process for the rest of my work pumping sessions.
11. Milk Storage Bags
I wouldn’t recommend that you use milk storage bags for pumping unless you are pumping enough to freeze. Otherwise, it can get pretty costly. But, you should keep extra storage bags with you in case you pump more than you expect or you forget to bring a storage bottle.
When my daughter was infant her daycare did not allow her bottles to be pre-filled with breast milk. During that time I did use breastfeeding storage bags to transport her milk. Each bag had to have the exact amount of milk that she would need for a feeding.
I could have used 4 bottles, but that would have required me to wash 4 additional bottles and I didn’t have time for that!
The Kiinde bags were the easiest to use and the most accurate in calculating the pumped milk.
12. Hands Free Pumping Bra
You don’t want to spend 20 minutes holding shields against your breast! Also, if you plan on combining your pump sessions with your lunch break you will want your hands to be free. This is where a hands free pumping bra is essential. It will also allow you to be able to pump while driving!
There are many different versions on the market and most of them are outstanding. There’s only one brand that I don’t recommend and that’s because it left bruises on my side and on my back. Now I use this one and have purchased it as gifts for other moms as well.
Some nursing bras also double as hands free pumping bras which is great. Now you have one less thing to worry about forgetting!
13. Cooler with Ice Pack
A cooler and an ice pack is a must to keep your milk cold while you are working and during your drive home. If you have a long work day, you can put the cooler bag in your work refrigerator. I wouldn’t advise putting your bottles of milk in the fridge because someone might drink it (it has happened before!).
14. Breast Pads
You can never predict when your breasts may start leaking. The breast pads will help keep your shirt or dress dry so you don’t have to wear breast milk all day! These are the pads I recommend.
If you do tend to leak a lot, don’t let that precious milk go to waste. Try this milk catcher instead. Think of it as a breast pad that saves milk!
As a breastfeeding woman it is important to keep up your caloric intake. That’s a lot easier to do when you are at home. At work, you will have to make more of an effort.
16. Water Bottle
Just as eating is important, so is drinking enough water. Very Well Family says you should be drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water each day. Having a water bottle will help with this. You will know how much you are drinking and you can take it with you wherever you go. How convenient is that?
17. Quick Clean Bags
At some point in your breastfeeding journey you will drop a shield or a flange on the floor. You may even drop a bottle or a bottle top. That’s where the quick clean bags come in. They are an absolute life saver, trust me!
You can place your dropped item in the bag and sterilize it within 3 minutes flat. If you have access to soap and water, you can even wash your pump parts at the end of the day and then sterilize them before going home. Now you have one less thing to do when you get home.
Working Mom Pumping Must Haves
Don’t forget to grab your pumping essentials checklist!
If you’re still feeling uncertain about pumping at work, be sure to check out this pumping course that’s designed specifically for working mothers like you.
Take this class in your pajamas and learn not only how to build your freezer stash but also what you need to do to ease your transition back to work.
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