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One of the things I was nervous about when I went back to work a few months ago didn’t have anything to do with daycare, or with work itself.
It was packing my pump bag. I wanted to make sure I was prepared for every situation and had everything I needed to make pumping at work as easy as I could. I’m pretty happy with the supplies I have stashed in my bag, so I wanted to share in case you’re trying to pack your pump bag too!
My bag. I swear by my Sarah Wells Abby bag. It’s the first one I got, and still my favorite. Sarah Wells bags are really well made and I love the navy stripes on mine. The handles are real leather, and it comes with two insulated pockets – one on each side of the bag. I keep my pump in one side and store my milk in the other, which eliminates the need for a separate cooler for my milk. The bag itself is really roomy and fits everything I need. I also have the Kelly bag in greige, and love that this one can be turned into a backpack! See the bottom of this post for a discount on my bag!
My Spectra S1 pump. While my insurance covered the S2 under my plan, I paid to upgrade to the S1 and it’s been worth every penny. Last time I had a Medela and hated it, so I knew I wanted a different brand this time. A lot of research led me to the Spectra and I’m so happy with it. It’s comfortable, has different settings for speed and vacuum, and the S1 is rechargeable, which allows me to pump anywhere. It has been essential in keeping my supply up this time around.
My pumparoo. This little genius bag from Sarah Wells has been a huge help to me. It’s a wet bag with a staging mat attached, and it holds my various pump parts. I keep my freemies in here most of the time, but I also use it to transport my regular pump parts from my work locker to the pumping room – I keep a full set of parts at work (along with the supplies to clean them) so it’s one less thing to bring back and forth.
My freemies. I talked about them in this post, but these things have been amazing in letting me get in an extra pumping session every day. I put the cups in my bra right before I leave the house, then hook myself up in the car before I start driving (another reason having a rechargeable pump is amazing). Depending on how much Ella woke up during the night, I’m able to collect anywhere from 2-7 ounces on my commute to work!
Spare parts. I have extra sets of both tubing and valves clean and ready to go – you never know when something might break or wear out. These are going to be specific to the pump you have, but my extra tubing is here, and the extra valves are here.
Hands-free pumping bra. I seriously don’t know how people pump without these. I have this Simple Wishes one, and I put this on over my nursing bra, set my flanges inside, and I’m able to pump without holding anything. It also allows you to use massage, which leads to more milk. I actually have two of these, so I can just switch out the other one when I need to wash it.
Lasinoh 3-in-1 Therapearls. These little gel pads are great. They can be used both hot and cold, but for pumping I always use them warm. Just a few seconds in the microwave heats them up, and they really help my letdown come faster. I always notice a difference when I forget to use them.
Milk collection bottles. Since I usually use the milk I’ve pumped for the next day, I don’t often use bags (when I do, my favorite are these Lasinoh ones). Instead, I pour my pumped milk into these bottles from Maymom. I have 8 of them, but I always take 3 to work with me. Since you can only combine like temperatures of milk, I combine what I can once refrigerated. These bottles are big enough to hold the milk I need, easy to clean, and have the bonus of fitting onto my spectra connections if I need them to. I also keep a pack of these milk storage bags too, just in case.
Ice Packs. I just have two small flat ice packs to stick in the insulated part of my bag every day. I actually bring them in inside my lunch bag, stick them straight in the freezer, then put them in with my milk at the end of the day. Such a necessary product!
Snacks. I always have a few snacks in my bag because nursing = hungry. My favorite are the Oat Mama lactation granola bars. I have one almost every day and my favorite flavor is the Chocolate Almond Coconut (which is weird, because I normally hate coconut). They keep me full and are full of milk supply boosting ingredients like oats, almonds, and brewers yeast. I love that only one of their flavors contains fenugreek- I’m actually supposed to avoid it since it interferes with my thyroid condition – and that makes it easy.
Something to do. Lately, work has been really busy, so I’m typically continuing to do work on my laptop. When it’s my lunch break, I usually read from my kindle or try to blog from my iPad or phone – you just need something to pass the time while you’re in there!
My personal bag. Finally, I need something to organize my personal things in my pump bag… because I don’t want to carry a full purse in addition to my pump bag and lunch! I have the MHeartM from Sarah Wells for this, and it’s perfect – it holds my wallet, checkbook, keys, and a few other essentials. It’s easy to throw into my pump bag, but I can also take it out and wear it on it’s own.
So that’s what I carry back and forth on a daily basis. What you don’t see are the things I keep at work – a full set of pump parts, my favorite dapple dish soap to wash those parts, a bottle brush, my boon drying rack, a nursing cover (in case someone needs to pump at the same time as me), and gallon size storage bags for my parts, just in case I don’t have my pumparoo for some reason.
I think it’s a pretty comprehensive list, but let me know if there’s something I’m missing!