Ahh, pumping. Many moms have a love/hate relationship with this experience. As a mom who pumped often for my first two children, I am in agreement with this mix of emotions. Why the feeling of love? Well for one, the end result of a pumping session gives you the good stuff…breastmilk! So many women have a devastatingly difficult breastfeeding experience, which is a whole other blog post on its own.
Pumping is a wonderful alternative if you are struggling to nurse, but still want to provide your baby with breastmilk. With the right pumping essentials, pumping in addition to nursing is the perfect way to maintain, or increase, your supply.
Side note: while pumping may not be nursing, it is breastfeeding.
The hate part I mentioned? The soul-sucking amount of time it consumes, not always being convenient while out and about, and the cleaning that comes along with it! I still recall very vividly, lying in the hospital bed after having my first daughter, and the nurse bringing in a hospital pump. I remember thinking, what is that contraption? Of course I had seen a pump before, but hospital pumps are next level! I was exhausted, sore, and emotional. The nurses hooked me up to the pump, in an effort to get some colostrum, or liquid gold as they call it in the lactation world. I’m not going to lie, it was painful, and after 15-20 minutes of pumping, I looked down to see about a teaspoon of liquid in the bottle. Are you kidding me?! Whew, there were tears!
If I’ve terrified any new moms reading this, don’t worry. It does get better. It’s amazing how many new products are out there to make pumping more comfortable and convenient for moms. In this post, I’ll share some of the must-have pumping supplies that will help you feel prepared (and more comfortable) when baby arrives.
1. Breast Pumps:
Of course a pump is number one on the list of pumping essentials. If you have insurance, most will cover at least part of a breast pump. However, if you work somewhere other than your home, I highly suggest getting a second pump to keep at work. I promise it will be worth it, and you won’t have to worry about what to do when you accidentally leave it at home. Speaking from experience, that’s something you want to avoid! Here are two popular options:
- The Elvie Pump: This pump is absolutely amazing and it’s portable! No wires, no battery packs, you can literally wear it under your clothes and walk around while you pump. It has very few parts, making it super easy and quick to clean as well.
- The Spectra Baby: This is a super popular option, and for good reason. It’s great quality, includes everything you need, and is pink (you’re welcome).
- Medela Pump in Style: This is a second brand that many moms choose. Personally, I find this set in particular to be an amazing value. You get the pump, a pumping bag with built-in bottle holders, and a portable battery pack. The battery pack allows you to walk around the house, or office, or wherever. True story: I once had a friend pump at a bar. How’s that for convenience?
There are many brands out there. My favorite is Medela. They make all kinds of wonderful breastfeeding products. The Medela bags are double-layered, so I’ve never had issues with these leaking!
3. Pumping Bag:
A pumping bag is essential to have for work, travel, or general day to day errands. I love this one because it can be worn several ways and comes in different color options. It also has a cooler to keep your storage bottles between pumping and getting the breast milk into a refrigerator.
4. Nursing Cover:
This may not be something that you think of when you think of a pumping essential. However, if you are someone who pumps frequently, this will come in handy when you are out somewhere public and need to pump. I love the gorgeous design, and there are other design options available as well.
5. Pumping Bra:
As I mentioned above, there are many ways that you can make pumping a more convenient process. Having a pumping bra is one of them. It allows for a hands free pumping experience. This means you can hold your baby, eat, and shop on amazon (probably all at the same time) all while pumping. What a wonderful modern world we live in! I like this pumping bra in particular because it acts as a regular bra, pumping bra, and nursing bra all in one. This may become your most necessary pumping essential.
Cleaning is for sure one of the biggest complaints from moms regarding pumping. As if that 20 minute pumping session multiple days a day wasn’t enough time, now you have to clean all of the parts after.every.session. And yes, it’s a step you can’t skip. Not properly cleaning your pumping parts can quickly result in bacteria growth. This can be extra annoying at work. These wipes are amazing to get the job done until you can get home.
7. Nipple balm/ cream:
Just as with nursing, pumping frequently will put strain on your nipples. These are my favorite nipple creams and balms. They have a quick soothing effect and creates a protective barrier. I like to keep one in my pumping bag, diaper bag, living room, and bedside.
8. Lactation Tea
There are several foods and drinks that we can consume to help increase breast milk production. I highly recommend drinking an organic lactation tea. It is especially helpful the first couple weeks after giving birth. Here are two of my favorites:
Even if your plan is to exclusively nurse, I highly recommend having at least some of these supplies ready by the time of your baby’s arrival. Nursing can be frustrating and challenging in the beginning, and pumping is a great alternative while you are getting it all figured out! Did I miss any pumping essentials? Share your favorites below!
Did you like this post? Check out my Ten Postpartum Essentials And Tips For New Mothers and Style Tips for Breastfeeding Mothers.
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