Exclusively pumping? Going back to work? Handbag person who happens to be pumping? Yesterday, on our Facebook page, we had a blast unboxing the Sarah Wells Pumping Bag with amazing co-host and EmDo Mom, Nancy.
But, what's the ideal packing list for your pumping bag? Here is our master list, courtesy of IBCLC, Victoria Facelli.
Pump parts in a gallon size plastic bag
We're talking flanges, valves, connectors, and collection bottles. Keeping your pump parts in a gallon size ziplock (or wet bag if you're into plastic-free options) allows you to keep milk from getting everywhere when you aren’t washing between pumps. Because breastmilk is safe at room temperature for 8 hours, in most work settings you are fine to wash your pump parts at the end of the day, or if you have a fridge in your office to store your pump parts in, you can go as long as once a week.
It also keeps everything together so you don’t forget any parts.
Also consider keeping a second kit of pump parts that just lives in your car or office. This will save you when you inevitably forget a piece (#babybrain lives on in postpartum) and really don’t want to waste time, or can't spend the time, driving home for it. There are lots of second-market (knock off) pump parts. They aren’t always as snug or durable, but they are a good cheap emergency option.
A special note: Valves (either a little white duck bill or little white flap attached to a yellow connector on your pump) are key here. They tend to be the piece that gives out or gets lost and you pump will. not. work. without it. If you aren’t going to have a full second set, at least geta few extra of these to float in the bottom of the bag.
Remember, pumping is food preparation, not surgery. While you don't need to sanitize pump parts every time you use them, it is a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer before you pump.
Cord or Charger
Okay, this one is obvious. But, it's such a drag for your pump to be out of battery or to forget your power source, especially when you need it rightthissecond, or are under at time crunch.
If you are pumping a lot your nipples can become chapped from all that contact with hard plastic. Lubricating your nipples before you pump really helps. One of our favorite products (Coconut and Cocoa Whipped Body Butter) is made right here in Durham, NC by Lo and Behold Naturals, but any nipple butter or, even Vaseline will work.
Drips happen. Have some wipes on hand for your pump parts or desk when that happens to you. We love Water Wipes because they are so good for everything from baby butts to noses and everything in-between.
In Victoria's opinion, going hands free is essential in this day and age. How else are you going to send important work emails, read, check out the our Facebook page, etc. while pumping?
Pushing straight back into your breasts at the nipple for about 30 seconds should stop any active leaking, but wet shirts on the go are a bummer. Whether disposable or reusable is your thing, a few extra in the bag is essential.
A Just-in-Case Shirt
A shirt that doesn’t wrinkle and that you don’t wear that often is good to have stored in your car or pumping bag. (See our point just above here about wet spots on shirts.) Also, realizing when you get to work that you are covered in spit up from childcare drop-off, you'll be doubly thankful for your spare shirt.
The hormones of milk transfer make your mouth dry (nature's way of ensuring you stay hydrated). Get yourself a good water bottle that doesn’t leak.
Snacks. Snacks. Snacks.
If you tuned in for the Facebook Live Chat you saw how many snacks Victoria put in the Sarah Wells Bag. Pumping is a good time to make sure you are getting the calories you need. Our Birth Doulas are snack queens. So, take a page out of their book and pack some honey sticks, Lara Bars and trail mix (or other non-perishable, easy-to-eat snacks).