Before I tell you what is in my pumping bag, I will first give you my “credentials” so you know just how much I have relied on this bag and its contents.
I have fed two children breast milk: my second son I pumped almost exclusively for a total of 10 months (but pumped enough to last him 12 months) and I also donated milk as well. I started out by pumping 8 times a day and gradually cut down on sessions as I built up my stash. With child number three, I breastfeed him any time I am with him, but I also pump once in the morning and every three hours while I am at work or away from him. He is currently 10 months old and I plan to breastfeed until he is at least a year old.
A Pumping Bag
I recommend that you don’t necessarily just assume that the bag that can be purchased with the pump will work best for you. Think about how you will be using the bag and what else you may be carrying in or with the bag. I use a sling backpack meant to hold a laptop and a few books. It isn’t huge, but it can carry all of my needed items without being cumbersome. I like that I can comfortably and easily carry this bag while also carrying: my work bag, my purse, or a diaper bag.
There are many great pumps out there. I use a Medela Pump.
A Pumping Bra
I found mine for about $12 on Amazon. I don’t think that I could have pumped for 10 months with my second child without a pumping bra. It allows me to pump hands-free while doing something else such as typing on a computer, eating my lunch, playing with my phone, or reading a book.
I made my sign on my computer, printed out “Please do not enter” and “Breastfeeding/Pumping in Progress” to put on each side, taped it to scrapbook paper, laminated it, and adding yarn to hang it on the door. I use this for any non-pumping designated areas to increase the likelihood that someone will not walk in on me.
I put my pump parts in this bag in between uses when I am out and about. A wet bag is nice because it does not take up a lot of space, it can be washed, and it can be reused.
Cooler & Ice Pack
To store my milk if I don’t have access to a fridge while I am out.
Disposable Breastmilk Bags, Permanent Marker, and Zipper Pouch
I always keep a permanent marker in the zipper pouch with the breastmilk bags to make labeling them as quick and easy as possible. I often label all of the information (other than the amount) while I am pumping. I also have been known to doodle on my bags while pumping to amuse my future self and pass the time.
I use this when pumping in a car. I plug the pump directly into the inverter and it has worked well for me.
Sometimes I’ve had to pump in a supply closet or a place in which I did not want to draw any attention to myself. I occasionally wear earbuds to amuse myself while watching or video or to make a phone call and cut out some of the pump noise.
Transparent zipper pouch with a few random items:
1. Lip gloss and Lotion: I don’t always take the time to put lotion on my hands or lip gloss on. Since I am already stuck sitting somewhere, it’s a great time to pamper myself a bit.
2. Pen and Paper: To write down lists and thoughts that I have while I am pumping. My favorite thing to work on is my grocery list!
3. Snack: It’s not a bad idea to pack a non-perishable snack in your pumping bag in case you realize that you are hungry while pumping. This time around, I often brought my lunch bag with me and ate my lunch while pumping.
Breast pumping is a lot of work and a labor of love! Best of luck to you on your breast pumping journey and hopefully my tips have served as some help to you. What items do you keep in your pumping bag?