Eli and I were fortunate enough to breastfeed for a little over a year. It took us a while to get going (and tons of research, moral support, and help), but once we did we had it down pretty good! But then my maternity leave ended and I had to begin pumping at work.
I tried to do so much research for what all I needed to pump at work, or what items may help make it more comfortable. No matter the items, I will say, you still feel a little like a cow…but these few things can definitely make it easier on you, which is HUGE when you’re spending 2 hours of your day locked away in a closet with a machine attached to you.
I tried to make a list of items I thought were both essential, and really nice to have when pumping at work. Also, I highly recommend taking a book with you or an iPad to watch netflix or browse the internet. It makes the time go by much more quickly!
Breast Pump: I felt funny putting this one on here since it’s kind of implied you’ll have a pump, but it is the single most important item you will get to pump at work. Most insurance companies will pay for an electric pump (I found out the other day not all insurance companies do and my friend had to purchase her own) which is fantastic, especially since some pumps can run you upward of $200! My insurance covered 3 different models, and after doing my research on each one, I ended up going with the Spectra S2 and couldn’t have been happier! It worked so well and was extremely quiet (which other moms commented on quite often)! The downside is you’ll need to take your own tote bag since it doesn’t come with one, but more on that later!
Simple Wishes Pumping bra: This is a MUST MUST have for pumping at work! It keeps your hands free so you don’t have to sit there holding your pumps against you for over 20 min! This way you can type on your phone, play on your iPad, read a book, etc. This is the best brand and comes in pink or black. They lasted me my entire time pumping and I had 2 so that I could wash one at a time.
Earth Mama Angel Baby: This stuff is AMAZING! My first week back I got extremely sore and chapped from pumping 3 times a day for 5 days. My body wasn’t used to the pump and boy did it hurt. This stuff is the most amazing cream/balm and really heals you quickly! It smells good and is completely safe for the baby to digest. It sells out a lot at stores, so i recommend buying multiple at a time. I recommend this to every new nursing mom I know and tell them to take it to the hospital as well!
Sarah Wells Pumping Bag: I absolutely loved my Sarah Wells bag! My pump didn’t come with a tote bag, so I needed to provide my own. I started out carrying my pump and parts in just a regular tote bag, but it was time consuming and annoying to get them out every time I pumped. I did some research and got this bag and it is one of the best purchases I made! One of the pockets fits your pump so all you do is unzip and plug in. It stays in the pocket and you can set it next to you. There are also cooler pockets that keep milk cold for up to 6 hours and there is a ton of space in the bag! There are also cheaper options like this one that work just as well.
Sarah Wells Pumparoo: This bag was wonderful. With this, you don’t have to wash your pump parts every time you use them. You can put them in this reusable bag (or a ziplock – but I would go through one a day and it was costing a lot of money) and put it in the fridge and reuse them at each pumping session which saves a TON of time at work. It is also great if you have to use a joint fridge or just don’t want a ziplock with your parts showing when you take them home.
Bamboobies Nursing Pads: I absolutely love these reusable nursing pads and wore them until we stopped nursing. A Good nursing pad is essential at work in case you are late to a pump or just extra full one day. No one wants wet spots on their work shirt! These pads don’t show through your shirts as much as others and they’re waterproof (so you won’t leak through). They’re a bit more expensive than others, but worth it (I tried a couple of other brands and always came back to these).
Nursing Bra: A Good nursing bra EXTREMELY important for going back to work. When I was home on maternity leave, i mainly wore tanks or sleep bras since I was sitting in my house most of the time. If i did go out, I would wear nursing tanks so I would have a bit more privacy when nursing. There was no need for a bra. But when I went back to work I realized I needed to wear actual clothes (not just yoga pants and a tshirt) and a real bra goes with that. I made sure to always wear a nursing bra in case I picked up Eli and he needed to nurse right away or if we ran errands after work/daycare. My main advice – do not buy a bra with underwire!! It can cause clogged ducts and they just hurt. Not to mention they’re crazy uncomfortable! I wish I had known about Thirdlove bras when I was nursing because they are AMAZING! I purchased a regular one once I weaned and I will only buy these bras for now on. I would highly recommend trying one of their nursing bras (and if you don’t like it you can return it within 30 days for a full refund)!
Lansinoh Freezer Bags: To save space in my work refrigerator (they had one in our nursing mom’s room) and also so I wouldn’t spill milk, instead of taking multiple bottles to work to fill, I would just pour my bottles into these bags and lay them down flat. It worked so well and they never spilled. Plus, I didn’t have to clean 4-5 bottles every night (in addition to Eli’s bottles he drank)! These freezer bags are the best I’ve used as the Medella ones leak pretty badly.
I hope that helps if you’re a new mom about to go back to work, or a seasoned mom that just needs some tricks for the next time you have to pump at work! Did you have any items that made all the difference while you pumped at work?
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