Breastfeeding your child is a true gift that we, as women, are blessed to have. It can be a tough road to navigate in the beginning for many new mothers.
In a recent post I shared my own nursing struggles, check out My Breastfeeding Journey.
There are so many questions, physical and emotional changes, more questions, and DECISIONS! The decisions are endless! And now your decisions will not only affect you, but also your little bundle of joy. As they grow, so will the decisions that we make as their mother. Like my mom always says, “Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems!”
One of the first decisions we make as new moms is whether to breast or bottle feed our babies. Often we end up doing both! Therefore, pumping is usually synonymous with breastfeeding. Whether you’re a stay at home mom or you have a child in day care, sometimes mom needs a little “mom-time”. So, if you ever plan to get out of the house, you’re gonna need that freezer stash of expressed milk!
That means….. bring on the pumping!
Below, I’ve put together a list of the pumping items that became essential to me during my breastfeeding journey. Hopefully my list will allow you to make one less decision!
Pumping Essentials #1 Double- Electric Breast Pump
A breast pump is the #1 Pumping Essential on my list! It’s the quickest and most efficient way to express milk and build your freezer stash. A double-electric breast pump is a daily use pump designed for moms who pump multiple times a day. This design is a bit pricey so make sure you consult your insurance provider before buying it outright. Most insurance plans will cover 100% of the cost and it’s yours to keep. I used the Medela Pump In-Style Advanced Starter Set Breast Pump (fully covered by insurance) and it worked great for over a year. I never had any issues with it, and as a bonus, it has a wide range of readily available accessories. If your insurance doesn’t cove it, you can buy it on Amazon for less than $150!
Pumping Essentials #2 A GOOD Hands-Free Pumping Bra
The second Pumping Essential is a hands free pumping bra. There are so many hands free pumping bras on the market, it can be difficult deciding which is going to work best. Lucky for you, you can stop the search because I discovered a great one! It’s made by LactaMed and you can buy it here from Amazon. Don’t be put off by its appearance. It may seem a little intimidating at first but I promise all it takes is one time to figure out how to put it on and then you’ll be a pro. Because this bra doesn’t cover your breast like others do, it allows you to massage while pumping. Doing this will allow you to express more milk in less time. You’re welcome!
Pumping Essentials #3 Extra Storage/Pumping Bottles and Pump Parts
Extra storage bottles are a must while pumping, especially if you are pumping multiple times a day. The last thing you want to be doing is extra dishes. Medela makes it easy with this great storage set. It includes everything a you need to store and organizing your expressed milk: (6) 5 oz. bottles, (6) labeling lids, (6) 80ml containers with lids, 20 storage bags, 1 organize tray, and a breastmilk storage guideline magnet. The labeling lids were, by far, my favorite because I could easily twist the lid, choose the day my milk was pumped, and store it in the fridge until it was ready to be put into freezer bags (these storage bags were my favorite). Purchase extra shields, flanges, membranes, and tubes to make pumping even easier!
Pumping Essentials #4 Small Wet Bag
A neat tip I picked up from another mom blogger… use a Ziplock bag to store pumping supplies just after using them. Place used pumping parts in bag, seal, and store them in the fridge until your next pumping session. Then wash them with warm soapy water at the end of the day. I used a small zippered reusable bag (aka wet bag) because I cloth diaper and just happened to have extras. This keeps the washing to a minimum and gives you more time for other chores.
Pumping Essentials #5 CUTE Tote Bag to Store Pump and Supplies
A tote bag for your pump and other pumping supplies is another Pumping Essential, especially if you ever need to pump on the go! Medela sells a few different tote bags and backpacks, however, they’re sort of plain and not stylish whatsoever! Treat yourself to a cute tote bag or purse large enough to hold your pump, pumping bra, AC adaptor, a couple pumping bottles, shields, etc. I recommend a bag that has both a handle and a shoulder strap for ease of use. You’ll be toting this bag everywhere so make sure you love it!
Pumping Essentials #6 Breastmilk Storage Bags
Breastmilk storage bags allow you to store, freeze, and protect your expressed milk. Lansinoh storage bags are conveniently pre-marked and hold up to 6 ounces. They’re also leak-proof, BPA free, and pre-sterilized. Buy them from Amazon, Target, or Babies R Us. Medela makes storage bags as well, however, they are more expensive, smaller, and in my opinion, don’t work as well. I always had a problem with milk leaking out of the hole on the side of the bag (the hole is there to accommodate a pump attachment) when emptying thawed milk into a bottle.
Pumping Essentials #7 Gel Cold Packs
On a random shopping trip to Babies R Us I came across these gel packs and they turned out to be an unexpected lifesaver. Sore, cracked, and red nipples are an inevitable part of pumping and nursing. I used cold Boo Boo Buddy gel packs to help sooth throughout my breastfeeding journey. You can buy similar gel packs from Amazon. Keep them in the refrigerator, ready to stuff in your bra pre and post nursing or pumping sessions. Bonus– post breastfeeding these can be used for baby’s boo boos…their true purpose, I suppose 🙂
Pumping Essentials #8 Nipple Cream
I don’t know a mom who ever made it through pumping or breastfeeding without this stuff! It’s a life savor! For most new nursing and pumping moms, you can be assured you’ll experience sore and cracked nipples at some point. Lansinoh makes a great lanolin cream that soothes, heals and protects sore nipples. It’s 100% natural and preservative free. It’s completely safe for baby and can be used prior to nursing. Pumping can irritate already sore nipples so use this religiously along with gel cold packs. As a bonus, if you cloth diaper, you can use this cream to Lanolize your wool diaper covers!
What supplies have become essential to your pumping routine? What are your favorite, can’t live without Pumping Essentials? Tell me in the comments below.
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