For many women, pumping is a big part of breastfeeding. When I decided that I was going to breastfeed my daughter I thought, “Oh, this is going to be easy, right?” “It is natural.” “Our bodies are designed to do it.” However, if you are a nursing mom reading this, you are probably laughing out loud at me. I was SO wrong!! First, it’s figuring out how to latch your baby on and the best nursing position, then it’s maintaining your milk supply, then your baby decides to start cluster feeding, and many times at some point, you will decide to pump. Whether you’re building up your milk supply, supplementing with formula, or going back to work.
I love nursing my baby. I know it is not for everyone and I totally get that. But for me, it was heaven. I love the bond I feel with my daughter during it and that special quality time we get. As my maternity leave came to an end I decided that I wanted to continue nursing so I needed to begin pumping to keep up my milk supply while I was away from my baby.
I hated pumping. There was nothing enjoyable about it for me. In fact, it actually stressed me out! But I needed to do it in order to keep up my milk supply. So, I did what I love doing most, research! I discovered so many products out there geared to helping moms make pumping as easy as possible on themselves.
That is how I came up with this list of 7 things that every pumping mama needs. I hope they can help you throughout your pumping journey as much as they did me!
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Prior to getting this bag I honestly thought it was silly to get an official “pumping,” bag. I figured I already had so many bags, so why would I buy one more? Boy was I wrong! I am so glad I decided to give this bag a try. It was the perfect size for everything I needed while pumping at work. It has a convenient side zip for your pump so you don’t even need to take it out of the bag. Inside there are so many different pockets, I could fit so much in it!
Another added benefit of this bag was the price. My stipulations when buying a bag was it had to be something that was not too expensive but was still cute and stylish. I had looked at so many bags that I loved the look of but they were just too much for me to consider spending on a bag. This bag is not the most stylish bag ever but it is cute and practical! Exactly what I needed. Plus the fabric on the inside and out allows it to be washed in the washing machine and hung to dry. Another major plus for me!
When pumping, you want to try to limit the amount of transferring that you do with the milk from container to container. The Kiinde System helps with just that because you can pump directly into a pre-sterilized twist cap bag. It has attachments and adapters for multiple breast pumps. I used the Spectra S1 and loved how easy it was to put the one attachment on and pump directly into the bag. The bags are easy to freeze and then reheat as needed. You can even use the bags for pureed food storage if you decide to make your own purees once you start introducing your baby to solid foods.
One thing that is for sure when it comes to pumping is it takes up a lot of time. With prepping your pumping station, setting up the pump and flanges, and then trying your best to relax so that your body can let down and your milk flow will start it can take up to 30-40 minutes! When I was at work, I wanted something that allowed me to pump, yet still, be productive. I wanted to be able to check my e-mail or eat my lunch while pumping because we all know that time is precious. The Simple Wishes Signature Hands-Free Pumping Bra helped me with just that. It was so easy to use and reduced my stress of having to hold the flanges to my boob the entire time and miss out on lunch!
After I pumped, I had all my Kiinde pouches and needed a place to keep them cool and to transport them from work to home. The PackIt Freezable Baby Bottle Cooler was absolutely perfect for this. It has built-in ice packs into the cooler so it kept the Kiinde bag cold on all sides. It has a thick, sturdy handle for easy carrying and it looks just like a lunchbox so no one will know you’re toting around breast milk unless you tell them!
Another thing I didn’t realize about pumping prior to doing it was how labor-intensive the cleaning part of it is. You have your flanges, duckbill valves, lines, backflow protectors, possibly Kiinde attachments, and maybe, even more, depending on the pump you decide on. When washing all of the parts I did not realize how important it was to have a different washing station than just your kitchen sink and sponge for sanitary purposes. Dr. Brown’s Bottle Brush was perfect for cleaning out both bottles and all of the pumping parts. Its soft sponge material on the top was able to get into all the nooks and crannies of the parts making washing much easier.
My Boon Lawn drying rack was another part of my pump part/bottle washing station. After washing everything with my Dr. Brown’s brush in a plastic tub I needed a sanitary place to put them all to air dry that wasn’t in the dish drainer with the rest of our dinner dishes! The Boon Lawn drying rack worked perfectly. You can also get the twig attachment which was perfect for holding all the nipples and valves.
This last item is not something I knew existed until after I was finished pumping but man, do I wish I had known about it. After pumping, all of your parts have milk on them! I needed a place to put them so I could then bring them home and wash them to prepare for the next day. While pumping, I was just using gallon-sized plastic bags however, I was using a new one every day and I hated it. I wanted something more environmentally friendly but didn’t know of another option. It wasn’t until just a few weeks ago I discovered the Sarah Wells Pumparoo Wet/Dry Bag. This would have been PERFECT! A place to put my parts, bring them home and then I could wash out the bag as needed and reuse it the next day. Genius!
I hope these pumping products will help you as much as they helped me. If you have any others that you used I would love to hear about them in the comments below!