What's In My (Pump) Bag?

Pumping Essentials

Pumping Essentials by ninatumbledown 

{Oops this posted twice a week ago. I am terrible at Polyvore, apparently. Apologies!}

This post is about breastfeeding, so feel free to take five if it isn't up your alley. I've been back at school now for a month, pumping on average 3 times a day. When looking around for tips prior to heading back, I found plenty of advice about which pump to buy, transitioning baby from breast to bottle and back again, and how to maintain an adequate supply while we're separated. All of this was truly helpful, and I'm hoping to pay it forward by doing a classic "whats in my bag" post with a twist. 

What's in my pump bag? Well, to start with, my breastpump. On days when I'm not able to use my school's hospital-grade pump, I use the Medela Freestyle (1), which is pretty top-of-the-line, and in my opinion, well worth it. I do not generally believe that a higher price point yields a more superior product, but I strongly encourage those of you who will be pumping full-time to invest in the best pump you can. We're talking about motor strength, durability of parts, and customer service, which, when you're relying on a machine to help provide food for your child, are pretty important elements to consider. I also pack a handpump-- the Medela Harmony (2)-- in case my electric malfunctions. I never want to be faced with a day of discomfort or a drop in supply because I can't pump, and it takes up little real estate in my bag. 

Pumping can be a messy job, but I try to reduce my use of disposable products whenever possible. I carry 2 Trader Joe's Kitchen Cloths (3) in my bag to wipe up any spills/drips when detaching the horns. They're super absorbent and washable, and brightly colored enough that they don't get lost in the laundry or my bag. I make sure to always pack extra caps for my bottles, and these Dr. Brown's replacement caps (4) are the cheapest option to fit the standard-sized Medela bottles. 

Pumping eats up most of my free time during the day, so packing a nutritious lunch and snacks that can easily be eaten while pumping and getting reading done is essential. Since I carry a cooler for my milk, I've been stashing at least two string cheeses (5) inside, along with Trader Joe's trail mix (6) for easy snacking. Granola bars are great, too. Staying hydrated assists milk production, so I make sure to pack a bottle of water (7). While pumping, I catch up on student emails and read blogs on my iphone (8), which I swear was made for pumping moms. 

I don't pump with a nursing cover, which I find a bit too restrictive for my usually solitary activity, but I do make sure to carry a large scarf (9) around, which can double as a cover in case I need to pump in a less private space than usual. I know people swear by their hands-free bras, which I love while pumping at home on my reading days, but when I have 30 minutes to pump, wash and be back in the classroom for lecture, I try to strip down as little as possible. I'm not sure if this only works for the well-endowed, but I am able to unclip my nursing bra, attach the pump horns, and reclip, which saves a good 2 minutes on each end of my session. If I can't wash my pump parts after a pump, I wipe them down with hand/face/pacifier wipes (10), which are cheaper than the breastpump wipes, or simply toss them in my cooler along with my pumped milk until my next session. 

So there you have it, my pump bag in a post. Babytumbledown just hit 8 months, and has been exclusively breastfed from day 1. I hope this post is helpful to those of you currently pumping, or those of you considering it for the future. While it definitely takes some time and a good amount of dedication, I find that staying organized and having a checklist like the above makes it far less stressful than it could be. And now for a gratuitous baby picture:



the gelt said...

he is a cute wee gentleman! and mazal on the breastfeeding - i have a new appreciation for the difficulties inherent therein.

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