Medela Freestyle Breast Pump (my fave from the entire Medela line – read below for why) | wet bag | nursing pads
Sharpie marker | quick-clean wipes | hands-free bra | lactation cookies | S’well bottle
nursing cover | spare tubing | angled flanges | mobile adaptor | spare battery pack | book
Being a working mom is tough. It’s a constant juggle of trying to be there for your kids while still performing well in your career and there are always days when I feel like I’m not succeeding at either. Maternity leave in the United States has long been a subject of debate (we are one of only three countries left in the world that do not guarantee paid maternity leave!) and the decision of whether to stay at home with your baby or return to the workplace is rarely an easy one.
I went back to work in January of this year after deciding to stay at home with the birth of my baby girl (our last baby) for her first year. The transition from being a stay-at-home mom to being a working mom is still fresh for me, and given the fact that I’m still breastfeeding, I thought I’d share a few personal tips (and a funny story!) on how to make the process of pumping at work a little easier.
Here’s a breakdown of what I recommend packing in your pumping bag:
- Breast Pump: Having a great breast pump is key! Fortunately with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), mothers now have the right to have one provided through their insurance. Back when Dylan was first born (and it was still pre-ACA), I purchased the Medela Pump in Style and used it consistently for the next 18 months.Then, when Kennedy was born I realized that if I was going to juggle two little ones, I needed a pump that allowed me to still be mobile. I added the Medela Freestyle to my arsenal and would highly recommend this option if you’re looking for a pump that gives you a little more flexibility.When I started back at work, having two breast pumps was actually a lifesaver as I could leave one at work and one at home — it was so nice not to have to tote around and pack one more thing every day!
- Wet Bag (or gallon-size Ziploc): Having to wash and sanitize your pumps parts during the day is time-consuming. If you have access to a fridge, I would highly recommend investing in a cute wet bag as you can store your pump parts after each session in the bag and place it in the fridge along with your pumped milk. The fridge will keep everything sanitary during the day and I just run the parts through the dishwasher at night. It’s a huge timesaver and I love finding a cute wet bag print too!
- Nursing Pads: Especially early on when you’re trying to figure out your pumping schedule, there might be times when you accidentally let-down. I bought myself this pack of reusable nursing pads and love that they are inconspicuous enough to tuck inside my bra yet have definitely saved me from an embarrassing situation on numerous occasions.
- Quick-Clean Wipes: You never know where you’ll be pumping and for those times when you don’t have access to a fridge to place pumps parts or a sink for cleaning, it’s nice to have these quick-clean wipes so that you can make sure everything is sanitized. It’s definitely saved me on a couple road trips!
- Sharpie: To write on your storage bags, of course! Be sure to write the date on each bag before storing as you don’t want to be using expired milk.
- Hands-Free Bra: A must! Because who wants to be holding their pumping setup in place?
- Lactation Cookies: Whenever I pumped in the afternoon, I always needed a little something to get me through the rest of my day and these oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookies were the perfect double-duty snack!
- Water Bottle: I also took advantage of my pumping breaks to make sure I hydrated enough and having a cute water bottle certainly helps! I love this one with its cute lemon drop print!
- Nursing Cover: You’ll want to make sure you work out with your employer a designated space for you to pump (more info and resource can be found here). But, there might just be some situations at times where you just never know where you’ll be pumping or whether you run the chance of getting walked in on. I remember the time a couple years ago when I was at a college career fair event recruiting for my company and had nowhere to pump except for the women’s locker room. Thank goodness for my nursing cover as I sat in a corner during my pumping break!
- Spare Tubing: You never know when something will stop working and you will be stuck being unable to pump (it’s the most helpless feeling in the world!). I always kept a set of spare tubing parts in my bag!
- Angled Flanges: I didn’t discover these until my friend recommended them when I was pumping for Kennedy but they make all the difference! Not only are they far more comfortable but I swear I get an extra 1-2 ounces whenever I used them too!
- Mobile Adaptor / Spare Battery Pack: Again, because you never know where you’ll be pumping and what you might need!
- A Good Book: For me, I never had luck doing actual work while pumping as my body just wasn’t in the right zone to produce; I always needed to a book to take my mind off the stresses of the moment. Whenever I turned on my pump, I would start up the MyMedela app on my phone to time my pumping sessions, and crack open a good read. Sometimes if I found I was having more trouble than usual, going through photos of my baby on my phone helped too! Then it was sit back and relax for the next 15-20 minutes!
I hope you found this checklist useful and to all you working moms out there, here’s a hug from me to you as we trek on this journey together! It’s not easy but we’re doing it!
This post was sponsored by Medela through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While we were compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about Medela, all opinions are our own.